5 Potential Consequences of Decreased Sensory Function in Older Adults

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Things that Can Happen if Seniors Lose Their Senses in Tucson, AZ

Seniors rely on their senses to perform basic daily tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, managing medications, exercising, bathing, and more. Losing any form of sensory awareness can lead to significant challenges for elderly people, causing them to rely on others for assistance. Below are some of the difficulties seniors could face if they lose their senses and what family caregivers can do to help their aging loved ones.

1. Fires

As seniors age, their sense of smell begins to decrease gradually, making it difficult to detect strange odors and dangerous chemicals, which jeopardizes their physical health. For example, if your parent cannot smell gas in the house, the rooms could catch on fire, and he or she may have difficulty exiting the home, leading to severe injuries or death. It’s crucial to install safety devices in the house, such as smoke and carbon monoxide detectors that will alert your loved one in case of a fire or the presence of poisonous gas.

Older adults with significant sensory loss may need help to continue living at home safely. For many seniors in Tucson, Arizona, live-in care is an essential component of aging in place safely and comfortably. However, it’s important for them to have caregivers they can trust and rely on. At Home Care Assistance, we extensively screen all of our live-in and 24-hour caregivers and only hire those who have experience in the senior home care industry. Our strict requirements ensure seniors can remain in the comfort of home with a reduced risk of injury or serious illness.

2. Social Withdrawal

The inability to hear could cause seniors to isolate themselves from family and friends. They may fear being unable to hold conversations or understand directions. As a result, they decline invitations to gatherings and community events, increasing the odds of depression. Caregivers can help by encouraging their loved ones to use various comprehension strategies, such as watching facial expressions and hand gestures. A caregiver could also find specific events for a senior with a sensory problem such as hearing loss.

3. Poor Nutrition

If your parent loses the sense of taste, it could lead to poor eating habits, such as consuming too much sugar or sodium. When this happens, your loved one could be at higher risk for developing conditions like diabetes and obesity. To prevent these problems, help with meal preparation and cook healthy meals your loved one once enjoyed. Food art could also help. You can make plates look colorful by filling them with fruits, vegetables, proteins, and other nutrients.

Families who need help caring for senior loved ones can turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Tucson elderly home care. Services available in our customizable care plans include meal prep, mental and social stimulation, assistance with personal hygiene tasks, and much more.

4. Car Accidents

Backing into mailboxes, running up on sidewalks, and driving through stoplights are examples of things that can happen when seniors with decreased vision continue to operate cars. Monitor your loved one’s actions to determine if his or her vision is affected. If this is the case, take away your loved one’s car keys. Failing to stop your loved one from driving could increase his or her odds of being in a serious car accident. To make the transition easier on your parent, encourage him or her to ride with friends who have good eyesight. Your family could also step up to provide transportation or suggest using senior-friendly transportation services.

5. Burns

Aging causes sensations to change or reduce, including the sense of touch. Decreased blood flow disrupts the ability of nerves to send signals to the brain, causing sensory impairment. Without the ability to feel, your loved one may not know when something is too hot, putting him or her at risk for severe burns. Label water faucets and keep stoves and electrical outlets turned off and covered to reduce this risk. 

Seniors can face a variety of age-related challenges. Though some families choose to take on the caregiving duties, there may come a time when they need a trusted senior care provider. Families sometimes need respite from their duties so they can focus on their other responsibilities, and some seniors need around-the-clock assistance that their families are not able to provide. Home Care Assistance is here to help. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, call us at (520) 276-6555.


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