sensory deficit

How To Care For A Loved One With A Sensory Deficit

sensory deficit

What is a sensory deficit

The sensory deficit is a general medical term that encompasses a wide arrange of symptoms that can include. Difficulties with one of the main senses like touch or taste, or difficulties with multiple senses. As advancing age brings along many health problems, the sensory deficit is the one that makes life very difficult for our loved ones. The sensory deficit can make communication, an extremely difficult affair for our loved ones. Living with hearing loss or vision impairment, or some other form of sensory deficit severely impacts our loved one’s communication skills. Dealing with this day out and being careful not to irritate the condition any further can cause strain on you, as the caregiver. Here are some great books to help you now.


Adults 65 years and above, are more prone to develop visual or hearing impairment

Experts believe that sensory changes are a common part of aging and it has also been reported that, about 30% elderly aged 65 years and above, are more prone to develop some of the other forms of visual impairment. In addition, it has also been said that changes in the sensory function can also become a major source of isolation. In addition, loss of hearing and vision has been also significantly linked to constraints in emotional, social as well as physical functioning.

Sensory deficit and our loved one

Aging has a serious impact on the senses of our loved one and the major ones that are affected include vision and hearing. Vision impairment and changes in hearing can have a life-changing impact on our loved ones. According to Jayant Pinto, who is an MD, associate professor of surgery at Chicago, sensory impairment is a common factor in old age and is one of the serious causes of health concerns and accidents such as burns, which practically occurs due to loss of sensitivity to touch. He adds that food poisoning among the elderly population is also common due to the loss of sensation to smell, which does not allow our loved ones to recognize fresh foods from the spoiled ones.

In view of this, it becomes important to learn about the common forms of the sensory deficit and the various tips to take care of our elderly loved ones.

sensory deficit

Hearing impairment – understanding the condition

It has been estimated that hearing loss is the third chronic form of the condition that is known to affect elderlies aged 75 years and above. The various forms of hearing problems that affect our elderly loved ones include sensorineural hearing loss, presbycusis, and conductive hearing loss. The elderly suffering from hearing loss, have a very difficult time in communicating their needs, ideas, and problems with others. It makes life very difficult to deal with.

Tips to help the elderly with hearing impairment:

  • Hearing aids are important for our loved ones with hearing impairment. Make sure you check the aids periodically, to see whether they are functioning properly.
  • While communicating with our loved ones with hearing loss, it is necessary that you speak slowly and clearly, so that your loved ones can properly read your lips. Avoid speaking fast or shouting, as this would not allow the person to appropriately read your lips.
  • You also need to remember that chewing while talking; burying your face with hands and beard, the mustache can all serve as a distraction for communication.
  • While communicating, you must remember to give all your direct attention to your loved ones. You also need to maintain eye contact with them and not with the interpreter, if there is any.
  • If your loved ones vision is fine and there is no problem, then you can always communicate with them through writing.

Vision changes – understanding the problems and tips to help elderly

Poor vision or blindness is again one of the commonest problems of old age. This is one of the major reasons for their frustration and depression, as they lose their independence and their capability of carrying out their personal chores without help. The various conditions that cause vision loss or poor vision include cataract, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, temporal arteritis, hypertensive retinopathy, glaucoma, and detached retina. Vision changes have some serious impact on the lives of our loved ones.

They will find difficulty in doing the following activities:

  • They face grave difficulty in reading the newspaper, medication labels
  • Are unable to safely cross the roads or are no longer capable of driving safely
  • They are now more susceptible to falls and accidents

Our loved onesy with poor vision or vision loss do need some help in doing their daily activities.

Tips for caregivers to help their loved ones:

  • While communicating, make sure you use a clear and natural voice. Be calm and speak clearly to your loved one.
  • Let your loved one know that you are leaving the room or are in the same room.
  • Make them aware of the various hazards in the room that can harm them. Best is to remove as many hazards and obstacles as possible from the room.
  • You need to provide assistance to your loved one while walking. Give them your arm for support, so that your loved one is comfortable and confident while they walk.

Changes in the sensation of smell and taste

Changes in the sense of smell and taste are a common phenomenon, as one age. Furthermore, this causes a decrease in the ability to detect the sense of smell and taste. Also, this is dangerous and can become a potential risk for accidents and injuries. In other words, changes in the sensation of smell and taste can make a serious impact on the quality of life of our loved ones.

Understanding the facts and tips for our loved ones

    • A decrease in the sense of taste can cause a decrease in appetite. This can seriously hamper their nutritional needs, and pave way for deficiencies to set in.
    • The inability to smell the delicious aroma of foods can make the mealtime less appealing and can lead to our loved ones eating less.
    • A decrease in the sense of smell can become the potential cause of accidents. The inability to smell a gas leakage, fire, or smoke, can become a serious issue in safety.
    • The inability to smell properly can pose a great risk for food poisoning, diarrhea, etc, as our loved ones would not be able to smell spoiled food.


Finally, the sensory deficit in aging is a serious issue and as caregivers, we must try our best to help our loved ones live a comfortable life. Also, check out this post on hearing loss.

Finally, overseeing this can cause you to stress because you can’t be in 2 places at one time: taking care of your business and taking care of your loved one. Look into hiring some help. This will give you the opportunity to get some rest and also make sure your loved one is properly cared for. Or maybe you want to spend more time with your loved one while taking a break from some of the redundant business tasks like sending out emails, returning calls, or organizing files. Let’s chat about how I can be of service to you so you can take care of your business and your loved one.









sensory deficit

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