How to Take Care of Your Senses

Posted by: Kate Schneider, Reflections Programming Specialist
[blog image] Two senior women reflect outdoors near lake

As we age, our senses become less sharp and affect how we interpret our surroundings. The loss of our senses can cause frustration, lack of self-worth, isolation, and possibly lead to injuries from falls.

Some sensory loss can be avoided. Let’s take it sense by sense.


When you reach your forties, the natural flexibility of lenses in your eyes may change and become more rigid, making it more difficult to see up close. This is called presbyopia. Various health issues may also affect your eyesight.

Protect Your Eyesight

  • Avoid eye strain[inline image 1] Smiling senior woman tries on glasses
    • Perform tasks in proper lighting
    • Limit the time you spend looking at anything for an extended period, whether it is up close or far away. For example, if you are reading, take a break every once in a while and look off to the distance to give your eyes a break, or just sit quietly and close your eyes for a minute or two and give your entire body a quick break
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses if you are going outdoors
  • If you have prescription glasses, wear them
  • Get proper nutrition
    • Eyes have nutritional needs, too. Omega-3 fatty acids, and Vitamins C and E may promote eye health. Eating citrus fruits, leafy green vegetables which are high in lutein, nuts, and fatty fish will help keep your eyes healthy
  • Avoid smoking
  • Monitor your general health
  • Manage your high blood pressure or diabetes – they can be detrimental to eye health
  • Have your eyes checked once a year or with any significant change in vision

Care for Your Glasses

  • Use an eyeglass necklace to lessen the chance of losing them
  • Clean glasses regularly
  • If you live in assisted living or long-term care, consider having your name etched into the arm of the glasses

Related: Sleep better tonight when you try these six foods >>


There are several reasons why we lose hearing as we age. Approximately one in three people between the age of 65 -74 experience hearing loss. As you get older, the percentage increases to almost 50 percent. 

Causes of Hearing Loss

  • Presbycusis – the gradual loss of hearing as one ages
  • Overexposure to noise for long periods of time
  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Heart condition, stroke, head injury, or tumor
  • Medication side effects[inline image 2] Senior woman helps husband try on hearing aids

Protect Your Ears

  • Follow up with a medical professional with any sign of hearing loss or pain
  • Eat well – a healthy nutritional intake is important for your hearing
  • Limit exposure to loud noise; once the small hair cells in your ears are destroyed they cannot be replaced

In the event of hearing loss, think about hearing devices and follow these tips:

  • If the concern of losing the hearing device is the deterrent, consider insurance or ask your professional about a minimally visible tether for the device
  • If you live in assisted living or long-term care, consider putting your initials on the hearing aids.
  • Inform others of your hearing loss and ask them to face you, to speak clearly, and to use expressions and gestures when they engage you in conversation
  • Minimize background noise

Related: Healthy lifestyle tips for older adults >>

Taste and Smell

Your senses of taste and smell can diminish with age as the taste buds and nerves in the nose degenerate. As changes occur with your sense of smell and taste, your appetite can also wane.

In addition, one of the following might be a factor in diminished senses:

  • Nasal sinus conditions
  • Allergies
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Medication side effects
  • Neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s[inline image 3] Senior man eats healthy snack of vegetables

Here’s what can you do to help:

  • Be social – eat with someone
  • Try different flavors
  • Watch your salt intake
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get proper nutrition
  • Limit alcohol intake with meals
  • Drink more water
  • Exercise
  • Eat foods that look like themselves
  • Eat a different type of food with each bite


As we age, changes in our skin and nervous system may decrease the sensitivity of our sense of touch. Changes in the skin can occur due to:

  • Poor nutrition
  • Circulatory issues
  • Skin and nerve damage
  • Brain disorders
  • Medication side effects
  • Smoking
  • Sun damage

How can we help minimize these changes?

  • Proper nutrition
  • Proper skin care
  • Exercise
  • Proper sun exposure

Why Should I Take Care of My Senses?

Changes in our five senses can influence our balance, pain threshold, the ability to realize temperature changes, and sense of motion and pressure. This can lead to an increase in falls or injuries and a decrease in quality of life. It’s important to adapt and attend to the changes in our bodies.

So take care of your entire body- it makes sense!

Get more health, wellness, and lifestyle tips from The Bristal’s blog:

Read the blog >>


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published Oct. 22, 2014. It has been updated August 26, 2019 for content and facts.”

Posted by:

Kate Schneider graduated from St. Joseph’s College of New York with a Bachelor’s Degree and holds a Master’s of Science Degree from Stony Brook University of New York in Health Care Policy and Management. Kate has a certificate in Gerontology and is a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. She has extensive experience working with people living with dementia in the Day Care setting, Long Term Care and the Assisted Living field for over fifteen years. Currently, Kate has the pleasure of working with a very talented team as they work towards bring an interesting, fun filled, and therapeutic program to the people who reside in the Reflections Dementia Care Program at The Bristal.