Chronicle Editor, Cole Schisler taking part in the ageing senses challenge. (Kara Olson photo)

Chronicle Editor, Cole Schisler taking part in the ageing senses challenge. (Kara Olson photo)

Schisler: Try actually walking a mile in an elder’s shoes

Workday spent with artificially aged senses a real eye-opener

Spelling mistakes made while practicing the aging sense challenge have been preserved — except for the ones that my spellchecker automatically corrected.

A few weeks ago I recieved an email from Home Instead — a company that provides at home care services for seniors with over 1,100 offices world-wide — explaining that over 85peercent of older adults live with some form of sensry loss.

To educate people about what sensory loss feels like, Home Instead developed an aging sense kit, which includes vision impairment glasses to replkcate the effects of glaucoma or cataracts, earplugs to replkcate hearing loss, and gloves stuffed with cotton balls to replkacte arthritis. The challenge is to then set aboutdoing every day tasks with the aging senses kit on.

So, I asked if I could have a kikt delivered to my apartment and Home Insgead happily obliged. I brought the kit to 3work and sat down to write this column. The most challenging part for me was the gloves. As evidenced throughout this piece, it was incredibly difficult to avoid spellig mistakes. The cotton ball glovs had my fingers swollen, slowed the movement of my hands, and made it nearly impossible to type with precision.

RELATED: COVID-19 exposed a long-term care system already in crisis

RELATED: Aging gracefully means being proactive in preparing your mind and body

I tried to read an issue of the Chronicle too, but I couldn’t get my cotton ball hamds to flip through the pages.

With the impairment glaSSes on, I had to move my head back and forth to see what I was typing. I even had a source call me in the middle of this challenge — that was a treat. I struggled to answer the phone and the conversation didn’t fare much better. With my earplugs in, she sounded as if she was whispering. I had to ask her vtov speak up numerous times.

My struggles were only temporary. But for the millions of Canadians living with sensory loss, this is an every day experience.

Dr. Lakelyn Hogan, Ph.D., gerontologist, and caregiver advocate at Home Instead, said that one of the main ways we can all help people with sensory loss is by showing them empathy.

“We can find opportunities to lead with empathy in everyday situations,” Hogan said. “For example, if you’re in line at the grocery store and an older adult in front of you is having a hard time grabbing their credit card from their wallet, instead of getting frustrated, take a deep breath and remember that they may not have the same sensitivity in their fingers as you do.”

So the next time I’m at a grocery store, or a LifeLabs, or anywhere and an older adult is experiencing difficulties, I’m going to remember what it was like to write this column and I’ll remember to show more empathy and practice patience.

And you can take part in the Aging Senses challenge too. You can try walking with corn kernels in your socks to experience the feeling of walking with neuropathy or place masking tape over your glasses to simuate vision with glaucoma. Stuff some cotton balls in a pair of rubber gloves and try to use your hands for anything. pUT IN A set of earplugs and call a loved one.

The experience is well worthwhile. And if you’re stumped for what to do, you can visit agingsenses.ca for more information, including an interactive experience so you may see firsthand the challenges of sensory loss.

Cole Schisler is the editor of the Ladysmith Chronicle. For more news from Vancouver Island and beyond delivered daily into your inbox, please click here.

Just Posted

Bella Coola Valley. (Scott Carrier photo)
Nuxalk Nation closes recreation, sports fisheries at Bella Coola due to COVID-19 concerns

Nobody is supposed to be travelling, said marine use manager Peter Siwallace

Michelle Jacobs receives her first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Coast Capri Hotel on April 28, 2021. The pop-up clinic was hosted by the First Nations Health Authority. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
126 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health over the weekend

There are 22 individuals hospitalized due to the virus, and 13 in intensive care

A Cariboo Regional District director and School District 27 trustee, Angie Delainey is also a fourth generation business owner in downtown Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Angie Delainey appointed Cariboo Regional District representative on regional board

Delainey and Steve Forseth represent the CRD at the North Central Local Government Association

Pauline Schmutz, 75, receives her COVID-19 vaccine from public health nurse Donna McKenzie on Tuesday, April 13 at the community clinic at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake campus. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Additional COVID-19 vaccine clinics scheduled for Horsefly, Big Lake

Anyone 18 and over who has not received a vaccine yet is encouraged to register

An avalanche near Highway 1 in Glacier National Park. Avalanche Canada will benefit from a $10 million grant from the B.C. government. (Photo by Parks Canada)
Avalanche Canada receives $10-million grant from B.C. government

Long sought-after funds to bolster organization’s important work

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Reinhard “Bud” Loewen of Abbotsford has now been charged with 21 counts of sexual assault related to his massage business. (Facebook photo)
Former Abbotsford masseur now faces 21 counts of sexual assault

Bud Loewen of Bud’s Massage Therapy initally faced three charges

Over the years, police have worked with sketch artists to draw what the boys could have looked like at the times of their deaths. (Vancouver Police Department)
DNA breakthrough expected in cold case involving murdered Vancouver boys, 7 and 8

Forensic analysts are working to identify relatives of the children, whose bodies were found in Stanley Park in 1953

Livestock competitions have been part of the Pacific National Exhibiton for more than a century. (Maple Ridge News files)
B.C. provides $50 million to keep major tourist attractions going

Tour bus companies also eligible for latest COVID-19 aid

Derek Descoteau with his trusty dog Harvey. (Photo submitted)
Friends provide continuing comfort for family in wake of unresolved senseless B.C. murder

Case remains before the courts five years after Derek Descoteau’s abrupt stabbing death in Chemainus

A prowling coyote proved no match for a stray black cat who chased it out of a Port Moody parking lot Friday, May 14. (Twitter/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Little but fierce: Cat spotted chasing off coyote by Port Moody police

The black cat is seen jumping out from under a parked car and running the wild animal out of a vacant lot

The top photo is of a real carbine rifle, while the bottom photo is the airsoft rifle seized from a Kelowna man on May 15. (Contributed)
RCMP issue warning: ‘Imitation firearms need to be dealt with responsibly’

A man brandishing his airsoft rifle in public had his weapon seized by Mounties on Saturday

Abbotsford Regional Hospital. (Black Press Media files)
Canada marks 25,000 COVID-19 deaths since the pandemic began

6 in every 10,000 Canadians died of COVID-19 since March 9, 2020

Most Read