How aging changes your senses

Published 4:38 pm Saturday, February 4, 2012

What we like to eat has a lot to do with regional preferences, ethnic background and personal experiences.

But as we age, our ability to taste and smell diminishes. This can affect how much and how healthfully we eat.

We start out in life with about 10,000 taste buds scattered on the tongue, primarily on the back, side and tip. Each area of the tongue can distinguish certain fundamental qualities of food: sweet on the tip, sour on the sides, bitter on the back and salty around the front.

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But it may surprise you to know that it is our sense of smell that helps us to know the difference between foods. It is believed that about 90 percent of our ability to taste flavor can be attributed to smell. Our sense of smell is at its peak when we are in our 30s, 40s and 50s.

After age 60, taste and smell begin to gradually decline in most people as a result of the normal aging process. Other factors may play a role in diminishing our sense of smell, such as smoking, infections (colds, flu or sinus infections), illness (Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease) and radiation therapy and drugs.

Taking several drugs at the same time can affect our ability to taste. Research has shown that someone taking several medications at the same time can need almost 12 times as much salt and three times as much sugar to get the same taste sensation as someone who is not taking several medications.

The sense of smell diminishes gradually and you may not even notice a change. But your diet may change, and not for the better. You may lose interest in food and eat less, but you may choose foods high in fat and sugars. Or, you may eat more than you should, thinking you will get more flavor out of one more bite.

It is always important to eat right and exercise, especially as we age. We have great homemade meals at the center starting at 11:30 a.m. Monday to Friday.

Call ahead to insure your meal at 433-3120. We have many fun exercise classes for any level from beginning to a full cardio workout. New comers always welcome. Come in and participate then hang out with your friends after in the 3rd Ave Cafe.

 Upcoming Events

Monday: Blood pressure, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Exercise with Evie, 1 p.m.

Tuesday: SilverSneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; SilverSneakers, 4:30 p.m.; Zumba Gold, 4 p.m.; Zumba, 5:30 p.m.; movie, “Forever Strong,” 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Wood Carvers, 8:30 a.m.; Tai Chi, 9:30 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Cribbage), 12:30 p.m.; Stitching Bees, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.; Jewelry Class 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Thursday: SilverSneakers, 8:30 a.m.; Exercise with Evie, 9 a.m.; cards (Pinochle, Duplicate Bridge), 12:30 p.m.; Bingo, 1 p.m.; open chess, 1 p.m.; computer class, 2 p.m.; SilverSneakers 4:30 p.m. Zumba Gold, 4 p.m.; Zumba, 5:30 p.m.

Friday: Tai Chi, 9:30 a.m.; cards (Bridge), 12:30 p.m.

Weekly Card Results

Monday Bridge

Jan. 23, three tables

1st Arnie Lang, 2nd Bud Higgins, 3rd Russ Vaale, 4th Jaynard Johnson, 5th Carolyn Higgins

Tuesday Afternoon Bridge

Jan. 24, four tables

1st Ron Peters, 1st Steve Howard; 2nd Ray Schmidt,

2nd Gale Schmidt; 3rd Joyce Crowe, 3rd Arnie Lang; 4th Bud Higgins, 4th Jim Fisher


Jan. 24, five tables

1st Gene Rauen, 2nd Jaynard Johnson, 3rd Arlys Spurlin, 4th Marion Zimmerman


1st Dorothy Schloo, 1st Wayne Chilson

Friday Bridge

Jan. 27, three tables

1st Mary Johnsen, 2nd Lois Johnson, 3rd Russ Vaale, 4th Arnie Lang, 5th Jaynard Johnson

Weekly Cribbage

Jan. 25, 3.5 tables

1st Loretta Prantner, 2nd Hilton Henschen, 3rd Lottie Siera, 4th Jaynard Johnson

 Semcac Daily Meals

Monday: Hotdish

Tuesday: Honey glazed pork steak

Wednesday: Poultry chow mein

Thursday: Roast pork

Friday: Beef stew