FEELING GOOD: TOUCH AND SENSITIVITY

It’s not just the more obvious senses of vision and hearing that change with age; your whole range of sensations – from touch to your sensation of heat and cold – alters too. Awarness is key to helping you overcome any problems.

With age comes a natural reduction in your sensitivity to touch, pressure and temperature – in other words, you need more input before you feel the sensation. What this means in practical terms is that you’ll now benefit from paying extra attention to touch. Take time to notice and enjoy the sensation of touching and interacting with the world around you. The more you do so, the more you will appreciate what makes you feel good.

The impact
Changes in these hidden senses can have a knock-on effect:

  • Reduced temperature sensitivity may make you more at risk of hypothermia (dangerously low body temperature) or cold injuries such as frostbite, especially if your circulation is reduced by atherosclerosis or your nerves are affected by diabetes.
  • Becoming less aware of body position and poorer balance mean you are more at risk of falls.
  • Lower pain sensitivity puts you at increased risk of injury of burns, and this becomes more likely if you have experienced other age related problems such as stroke, or if you suffer from arthritis.
  • Being less able to sense touch, pressure and pain increases your risk of pressure sore if you’re immobilized.

  • Even if your ability to sense pain is unimpaired as you get older, both your reflexes and reaction time may well slow with age meaning you may be less quick to withdraw from painful stimuli and more likely to suffer injuries such as burns. You may also be less able to sense or react to danger, so it’s important to make use of all the senses you have, for example, listen as well as look while crossing the road.