Is your relative unable to taste food like he or she used to?

June 27, 2012

Is your relative unable to taste food like he or she used to?According to recent studies, adults can progressively experience changes in how they perceive taste after the age of 50. If your relative begins to notice that foods – specifically those that are spicy, sweet or very bitter – no longer seem to taste like they once did, he or she may be losing their sense of taste. This problem can be indicative of other issues, but with a few of these tips you may be able to pinpoint the cause of your relative’s problem and also find ways to help him or her through this trying time.

Is it actually his or her taste buds? Taste is comprised of four distinct sensations – sweet, sour, bitter and salty. Along with our ability to pick up on texture and spiciness, taste influences how we enjoy our food. With age and environmental factors, this ability can deteriorate. However, loss of taste can actually indicate a loss of smell. Combined, these things can contribute to your relative eating less food than normal, which can be a serious issue.

Guard against the risks. A loss of taste can sometimes be a cue that something else is ailing your relative. Common causes attached to a loss of taste include poor dental health, and may indicate the onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or Bell’s palsy. It may also be correlated to a recent head injury, or interference of your relative’s medications with his or her food.

If he or she seems sluggish and continues to eat less food than normal, you may be seized with fear over the future. With a medical alert watch by Bay Alarm, you can rest easily knowing that your relative can reach out to emergency staff in the event of an accident or medical issue.

Diagnosing the problem. Even if you fear the worst, it’s best to let your doctor make a formal diagnosis. While no cures exist presently to rejuvenate degenerative taste buds, your relative’s doctor may administer several tests, including a taste and smell test, which will help him or her discern the true nature of your relative’s dilemma.

Be more social. With the loss of taste and potentially smell, your loved one may become forlorn. Take this opportunity to rally your family behind him or her and offer encouragement despite this turn of events. A great way to reach out to a relative is to include him or her more during social gatherings. If your relative has been isolated in recent years, try to get him or her involved in dinners and get-togethers. He or she can benefit from new foods, as well – consider experimenting with spices and other food that won’t conflict with his or her diet or existing medical issues to make this period of adjustment easier.

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