[Skip to Content]
University of Illinois Extension

Making Sense of Sensory Changes

All parts of the body are affected by aging. Some obvious signs include wrinkling skin and graying hair. Other changes that are not as noticeable to others include hearing loss, vision changes, and changes in the ability to touch, taste, and smell.

An old man with his hand to his ear.

These changes usually happen gradually over many years. They can affect the way older people open a pill bottle, walk up and down stairs, smell a flower, or read the newspaper.

All people will experience changes in their bodies as they age, but the changes will be more noticeable for some people than for others. People who are older than 85 will naturally notice more physical problems than people who are just entering their 60s. It is important to note that in spite of physical loss and difficulties, most older people adjust quite well and are able to compensate for their losses.

In this section of Walk in My Shoes, you will learn more about the physical changes that occur in our bodies because of the aging process.

Be sure to do these activities in the order they are listed.

  1. Looking Through Someone Else's Eyes
  2. Helping a Person Who Has Vision Problems
  3. Hear Ye, Hear Ye!
  4. What Did You Say?
  5. Helping a Person Who Has Hearing Problems
  6. Butterfingers
  7. Helping People Who Have Physical Limitations
  8. Pass the Jelly
  9. Helping People Who Have Experienced Losses in Their Senses of Taste and Smell