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Senior Health & Wellness | November 22, 2016 | By Jonita Dixon

How To Cope With A Decreasing Sense Of Smell

How To Cope With A Decreasing Sense Of SmellThere are millions of Americans over the age of 55 who have a problem with their sense of smell. In fact, it is a problem that affects around 24 percent of seniors. Presbyosmia – the loss of smell – is not preventable. There are a number of unexpected ways that it can affect a senior’s life and here are a few different issues related to losing your sense of smell that you might not have thought about before.


Food May Taste Differently – Problems With Eating

When you have a head cold, you may have experienced that your food no longer tasted as flavorful as it had prior to becoming ill. That’s because your olfactory cells are unable to detect the scent of food when your nose is stuffed up. You can experience all those wonderful smells again when your nose clears up but as we get older, this sensation becomes less and less – making food less enjoyable. To combat a weakening sense of smell, we suggest incorporating aromatic herbs such as rosemary, thyme and basil into your cooking as well as other spices to make punch of the flavor.

It May Be Necessary To Take Safety Precautions

People use their sense of smell for more than appreciating food and enjoying flowers – your sense of smell offers a safety factor you may not have considered. When you are cooking, you might smell that something is burning on the stove before your eyes are able to pick up on the impending danger but with a weakened sense of smell, that may not be possible. Make sure that there are working smoke detectors when your loved one lives alone or, if you’re loved one lives in an assisted living community, ask the staff what emergency devices are in place to protect the safety of your loved one. Because seniors might not be able to smell a gas leak, it is also important to have carbon monoxide detectors.

There May Be An Underlying Issue

Your senior loved one may not be experiencing natural sensory loss, despite the fact that it is normal to lose some sense of smell as we get older. There might even be tumors, sinusitis, or nasal polyps. It is a good idea to schedule a doctor’s appointment if your loved one notices a decrease in their sense of smell. By using a light and a scope, a physician can determine whether something is blocking the nasal passages or if further tests are needed. You should also any other symptoms such as difficulty breathing, a stuffy or running nose or other issues during the appointment.

When Safety Becomes a Major Concern

If the safety of your loved one is a major concern due to recent incidents or a change in health, you may want a senior living community which can offer accommodate the special needs of our elder population. Carlton Senior Living offers Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care options to meet the of any senior and to allow your loved one to age in place as their needs change.