Detection of salty and bitter taste decreases more than the detection of sweet and sour in foods eaten. Overall there is a slight decrease in the number of taste buds. Nutritional status maybe affected by older people over salting their food to compensate for decreased salt taste in food or a decrease in the variety and types of food consumed as food simply does not have any taste. This can also affect the amount of food consumed potentially leading to decreased nutritional status.
Prebycusis is age-associated loss of hearing. The loss of higher-frequency perception occurs and the loss of hearing tends to be more prevalent in men than women. It is important to identify decreased hearing ability, for which the loss can be very insidious, as the loss may lead to decreased cognitive ability or inattention. As people age, they tend to have a more difficult time tuning out background noise.
Eyesight is the first sensory system to decrease as we age. These changes can result in the need for increased light brightness (lumens), increased contrast in material being looked at and increased font size in text. As we age, the eyes require a longer period to accommodate to changes in lighting and distance. Macular degeneration, glaucoma, increased sensitivity to glare and diabetic retinopathy occur most frequently with older age but are actually related to pathological conditions and are not a standard part of typical aging.
People 65 and older have a 27% chance of falling at least once per year. After one fall, the risk of falling again increases especially as we age. Although muscle mass/strength loss can be part of the aging process, increased inactivity levels can dramatically increase this loss.
As we age, we tend to need higher concentrations of scents to be able to distinguish smells. The majority of people over age 80 have impaired olfaction. Anosmia is the absent sense of smell, hyposmia is a decreased sense of smell and dysosmia is a distorted sense of smell. All of these conditions are extremely common among elders. The loss of smell affects men more than women.