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Friday, December 23, 2016

Aging Taste, Smell Loss (Research, Video 4:16)


How are your sweet and salty taste buds doing? Have you noticed a change in the way they function? Are familiar odors smelling a little funny? While respiratory infections or injuries, and even dental problems might be possible causes, you could be experiencing a loss due to aging. Loss of taste and smell affects many people over the age of 50. This decline is very important. For example, your health could be negatively impacted by causing you to eat fewer foods. What about your eating spoiled food and not knowing it? Even more dangerous would be a gas leak or a fire that you can’t detect.

Taste and smell research with older adults reveals that taste loss does not appear to make elderly people prefer stronger flavors. But nutrition surveys have pointed to a greater consumption of sweet and salty foods. Apparently, real-life eating habits are also influenced by other social and psychological factors. Dietary strategies that can prevent the consequences of unhealthy eating habits by older adults should be examined more.

Loss of taste and smell are closely connected. You might be surprised by how the taste of foods disappears when you pinch your nose closed before you put them into your mouth. Most food flavors come from our ability to smell them, and when we do, something wonderful can happen. Think of the many memories certain tastes and smells bring to mind. Nothing can replace those holiday aromas or pleasing, seductive scents of particular people remembered with affection.

In this CBS video, reporter Seth Doane shares information on the loss of taste and smell and what science is doing about it.


Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Holiday Health Alert (Research, Older Adult Video 3:57)


Christmas and Independence Day are associated with increased heart failure emergency admissions immediately following these holidays? Older adults are taken to the hospital the most during these times. During the winter months, these emergencies actually peak around the holiday season. Major sporting events and intense encounters also play a role.

This information is the result of research involving patients with a diagnosis of congestive heart failure at the Einstein Medical Center over a 10-year period between January 1 and December 31. Comparisons were made between the rates of heart failure admissions on the holiday, 4 days following the holiday and the rest of the month for 5 specific days: Christmas day, New Year's day, Independence day, Thanksgiving day and Super Bowl Sunday.

The study included 22,727 heart failure admissions. Results indicated a significant increase in daily heart failure admissions following Independence day and Christmas day when compared to the rest of the month. All holidays apart from Super Bowl Sunday demonstrated lower admission rates on the holiday compared to the rest of the month.

What are some factors that could cause these findings?
1)    Overeating on holidays
2)    Emotional stressors
3)    Less exercise
4)    Postponed medical appointments due to the holidays

Seriously, who wants to experience an emergency room visit during or after the holidays? Caregivers near and far should be especially vigilant in evaluating the health of older adults during the holidays. On Good Morning Maryland @ 9, Dr. Alicia Arbaje from Johns Hopkins' School of Medicine explains details of maintaining healthy holidays for older adults.



Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.