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University of Illinois Extension

8. Pass The Jelly

Changes in Taste and Smell

To taste food, you must have a sense of smell. Changes in the senses of taste and smell can make eating less enjoyable for older people. If food seems to have very little flavor, it will be less appealing to an older person. A diminished sense of smell also poses safety problems for older adults. Spoiled food, smoke, and escaping gas are just a few of the problems that can be especially dangerous for a person whose sense of smell is impaired.

Project Skill

Life Skill

Materials Needed

Please remember to leave your glasses and gloves on!

What To Do

To experience the frustration of losing your senses of taste and smell, try the following tasks. Put on your glasses and gloves again, and you will use other items in your "immediate aging kit" as well.

Task A

  1. Take out crackers and jelly.
  2. Place a small amount of jelly on the cracker.
  3. Hold your nose and take a bite of the cracker.
  4. Try to guess the flavor of the jelly. What is the flavor?

Task B

  1. Take out a piece if chewing gum or a mint.
  2. Unwrap the piece of chewing gum or the mint.
  3. Hold you nose, and place the gum or mint in your mouth.
  4. Try to guess the flavor of the gum or mint. What is the flavor?

Looking Back...

  1. How did you feel during these activities?
  2. Were the activities difficult for you? Explain your feelings.
  3. How do these activities help you relate to older people in real life situations?
  4. How can you use what you learned in this activity in your own life?

What's Next?

Once you have thought about these questions, continue on to Helping People Who Have Experienced Losses in Their Senses of Taste and Smell or return to the Making Sense of Sensory Changes Table of Contents.