Why Does Taste and Smell Diminish As You Age?

November 28th, 2017 by John Wilson

You may have heard seniors complain about their food not tasting the way it used to or smelling things no one else does. This is because your sense of smell and taste can dramatically change as you get older. Why is this? There is a science behind this fact. Understanding why this happens and what you can do to improve the situation while in assisted living care in OKC can help you better cope with it.

Taste Buds Change with Age

When you are born, you have about 10,000 taste buds with miniscule hairs. They sense the taste of the food and send messages to the brain so you know exactly how something tastes. Every taste bud has 50 to 150 taste receptors that will only live a week or two before being replaced. However, your taste buds don’t work alone. Your sense of smell also affects how things taste. The smell receptors in your nose help send messages to the brain to translate how things smell.

When most people think of the changes they experience as they age, they think of the changes they can physically see, such as wrinkles and gray hair. However, there are many other changes that occur over time as well. The reason most people don’t notice these changes as much is because it is such a gradual change that starts early in adult life and peaks after age 60.

Better dining options in assisted living for seniors means food still tastes good.

Assisted living for seniors gives them better dining options.

Why Does It Change?

There are a number of reasons for this dramatic change in the way you taste and smell things. In some situations, the medications prescribed can cause issues with the way you can smell or taste things. Past upper respiratory infections, neurological damage, chewing problems due to tooth loss or dentures, vitamin B3 deficiencies and certain medical conditions can also cause these changes.

What Can You Do?

There are few things you can do to resolve this issue because it is a natural part of the aging process. However, the right assisted living options and some other tips can help reduce issues and help you enjoy the foods you eat again. For instance, using aromatic herbs in your cooking can help enhance the sense of smell and help improve the taste of some foods.

In addition to changing the way you prepare foods, you may need to take other safety precautions. For instance, people rely on their sense of smell to detect dangers like gas leaks, which can be dangerous. This is why assisted living for seniors in Oklahoma install carbon monoxide detectors, as well as other detectors to help their residents find out when there is a problem, even if they can’t smell as well as they used to.

If you’re looking for assisted living care in OKC for your aging loved one, contact us. We take all the steps necessary to encourage healthy meals and help seniors stay safe, despite their loss of senses.

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