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

Dep. Fire Chiefs Rich Piché (left) and Stephane Dionne said they were disappointed that only one person showed up at the George Evans fire hall’s recruitment drive Tuesday evening, May. 11. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks Fire/Rescue says rural fire hall at risk of closing

Home insurance could spike across North Fork if George Evans fire hall loses fire protection status

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

A Canadian Pacific train derailed near Nelson on Tuesday evening. Photo: Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press
Canadian Pacific freight train derails near Nelson

There were no injuries or spills related to the incident

File photo.
The Way it Was

1916: Phoenix holds per capita automobile record

Four homes in Johnson Flats were at serious risk of falling into a neighbourhood section of the Kettle River, according to capital project manager Justin Dinsdale. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks shields riverside homes against erosion

Crews have built a modified dike along a section of the Kettle River in Johnson Flats

BC Housing minister David Eby. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
Eby jabs back against Penticton mayor’s ad urging BC Premier to intervene in shelter dispute

Eby writes that Penticton’s ‘serious’ social issues won’t improve under leadership of the mayor

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Premier Mike Horgan received his first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. (Facebook/John Horgan)
More than 50% of people eligible in B.C. have received 1st vaccine dose

‘We’ve made extraordinary progress together over the past few weeks,’ says Premier Horgan

Brad MacKenzie, advocacy chair for the ALS Society of B.C., says having research projects in the province allows people here to have access to cutting-edge treatments now being developed. (B.C. government video)
B.C. funds research chair for Lou Gehrig’s disease at UBC

Pandemic has cut off patient access to international projects

Most Read