If you have reached an age where things don’t quite seem right anymore, you may be experiencing your body’s ageing process. As we get further away from our early 20s, the signs of our age become more and more evident. Our skin loses its plumpness and tends to wrinkle. Our hair thins and greys. Our joints, muscles and bones become less elastic and able to do everyday tasks. Our mind can lose its focus and ability to retrieve memories effectively.
There are, however, further worrying symptoms of older age. We may lose or find changes in all of our five senses: Hearing, taste, touch, smell, and sight. These senses combine to help us form understanding of the world around us. As we age, they become less acute and begin to be less reliable in helping us navigate everyday tasks.
Hearing: Although the majority of us don’t suffer from substantial hearing impairment before the age of 65, many of us will suffer hearing loss or impairment due to damage from loud sounds. Once we reach old age, the bones within the ear will have structurally altered to make hearing clearly more difficult. You can click here to find out more about hearing impairments. More troublesome still, ageing will contribute to balance loss too as the inner ear is affected.
Taste and Smell: These two are closely connected, and will contribute greatly to the pleasure we can experience eating our favourite foods. The production of saliva decreases dramatically too. This can lead to persistent dry-mouth that in turn may lead to oral hygiene problems and mouth sores. Our taste buds become less sensitive. We will need greater quantities of sweetness to taste sweet things effectively, although sour things may be easier to identify with age. Poor sense of smell and the inability to taste food well can lead to poor appetite and malnutrition. The loss of nerve endings in the nose contributes to this and means we find it far more difficult to smell smoke and spoiled food.
Vision: This sense is perhaps the most important to us. Sadly, all the structures of the eye are affected by ageing. Tears do not form as easily, leading to infections and sore eyes. The muscles become weaker and less elastic preventing the eyes from moving as effectively. The pupils become less effective and smaller in size. This may lead to sensitivity to dark and light, and may lead to dangerous driving. Many people start to wear reading glasses from their early 50s to compensate.
Touch: After the age of 50 we become less sensitive to sensations on our skin. We are less bothered by pain and heat or cold touches. Over time, we find pressure is less sensitive and may find it difficult to know when we are in contact with the ground when walking. This often leads to falls and stumbles. We may fail to act upon injuries because the pain is not registering effectively. Poorer circulation to the extremities and our spinal cord will contribute to these problems.