The process of aging begins at birth, or conception, depending on your stance, and continues throughout life. This is fact. Whatever your opinion, there is one inescapable certainty; throughout this meticulous process we call aging, comes change-- unsolicited, irrevocable, inevitable change. While many of the changes we face as we age are celebrated and embraced, not all change is desirable, and not all are pleasant. Some of the biggest changes humans experience in their lifetime occurs in late adulthood and into their senior years. It is in this period that the majority of people will start to experience sensory loss to some degree. In an attempt to understand just what it is like to get through a day with less than ideal vision, hearing, and touch, I conducted my own experiments.
As we age, conditions affecting vision become significantly more marked. Common ailments affecting eyesight especially among the elderly include glaucoma, cataracts, complications from diabetes, and macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is an age related condition in which the sharp, central vision needed for reading, driving, and other daily common tasks, is gradually diminished and in essence, destroyed. In order to familiarize myself with this experience, I borrowed a pair of old glasses from a family member. As soon as I put the glasses on, I noticed I lacked all sense of depth perception. After running into any and every wall and stubbing each toe at least three times, I decided I needed to slow down, and regroup; this was going to require a plan. It genuinely surprised me with how frustrated I was when I found myself unable to navigate through my own home because of this haze. Nevertheless, despite my lumbering, directionally challenged, attempt at navigating my home, I needed to make a bottle for my daughter; meaning I needed to see tiny little lines on a bottle that I strain my eyes to see, even without my newfound vision impairment. Needless to say, I’m glad my mom was over. I could approximate the amount of water in the bottle by its relation to the middle of the bottle. This only held true if I shook it or caused movement; otherwise, everything blended. However, when it came to reading, deciphering letters, numbers, or anything of the sort, it took a lot of concentration and focus. Despite immense focus and strain, reading was nearly impossible, and in the end, I made guesses based on familiarity. Overall, I rate this impairment, as it relates to daily, life as a seven, very inconvenient.
Hearing loss is another unfortunate characteristic among the aging population. Impaired hearing affects adults more than any other chronic condition worldwide, particularly among those individuals 55 and older. (Dena Kemmet, 2008) Furthermore, as many as fifty percent of older adults suffer hearing loss so severe, that it negatively influences their quality of communication and interpersonal relationships. What usually...