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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Accused drug trafficker to plead to federal, provincial charges in June

Matthew Straume said he’d missed his last court date because he was ill

Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks sex crimes trial adjourned until summer

The trial was set to begin at the city courthouse Wednesday, May 5

Photo: Kathleen Saylors
Grand Forks city council votes down motion to support Penticton in paramountcy battle

Coun. Neil Krog insisted Penticton’s issue with Victoria is about city bylaws, not homelessness

The burnt-out remains of a fifth-wheel trailer stand at Highway 3, near the Kettleside RV Park Wednesday, May 5. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Grand Forks fire department investigating fifth-wheel blaze

Two people in the trailer escaped without injury, according to Dep. Fire Chief Stephane Dionne

Bob Keating was CBC’s Kootenays correspondent for 21 years. He retired last month to start a podcasting company. Photo: Tyler Harper
The voice of the Kootenays: CBC correspondent Bob Keating retires

Keating had reported out of Nelson since 2000

Thursday, Feb. 4: RDKB Chief Engineer Darryl Funk hoists a banner commemorating last year’s championship season by the Bantam House Bruins. Photo: Laurie Tritschler
Bantam Bruins honoured at hair-raising banner ceremony at Grand Forks’ Jack Goddard Arena

Asst. coach Mike Tollis said he reluctantly gave in to the team’s victory wish that he cut his pony tale

B.C.’s provincial health officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Dip in COVID-19 cases with 572 newly announced in B.C.

No new deaths have been reported but hospitalized patients are up to 481, with 161 being treated in intensive care

Solar panels on a parking garage at the University of B.C. will be used to separate water into oxygen and hydrogen, the latter captured to supply a vehicle filling station. (UBC video)
UBC parkade project to use solar energy for hydrogen vehicles

Demonstration project gets $5.6M in low-carbon fuel credits

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

FILE – A student arrives at school as teachers dressed in red participate in a solidarity march to raise awareness about cases of COVID-19 at Ecole Woodward Hill Elementary School, in Surrey, B.C., on Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. ‘should be able to’ offer 1st dose of COVID vaccine to kids 12+ by end of June: Henry

Health Canada authorized the vaccine for younger teens this morning

A woman in the Harrison Mills area was attacked by a cougar on Tuesday, May 4. B.C. Conservation Officers killed two male cougars in the area; the attack was determined to be predatory in nature. (File photo)
2 cougars killed following attack on woman in Agassiz area

Attack victim remains in hospital in stable condition

A woman wears a face mask and shield to curb the spread of COVID-19 while walking in North Vancouver, B.C., on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. CDC updates info, acknowledging small respiratory droplets can spread COVID-19

Large droplets, not aerosols had been fixture of public health messaging for many months

A picture of Shirley Ann Soosay was rendered from a postmortem photographer and circulated on social media. (DDP graphic)
B.C. genealogist key to naming murder victim in decades-old California cold case

In July 1980, Shirley Ann Soosay was raped and stabbed to death

Most Read