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

A memorial to former Abbotsford and RCMP police officer Shinder Kirk in Cedar, B.C. Kirk died in a car accident on Cedar Road in December 2018. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Trial begins in Nanaimo for man involved in car crash that killed retired police sergeant

RCMP accident reconstructionist takes stand in trial of Conrad Nikolaus Wetten

Next week Nanaimo singer Laura Kelsey is releasing her new single A Foolish Thing and its accompanying music video. (Video still courtesy Greg Nuspel)
Nanaimo singer joined by wolf, dancers in new music video

‘A Foolish Thing’ is Laura Kelsey’s first professionally made single in seven years

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

Two semi trucks collided on the Nanaimo Parkway just north of Northfield Road on Wednesday morning, May 5. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
UPDATE: Semi truck driver now in stable condition following this week’s crash on Nanaimo Parkway

RCMP repeat call for any dashcam footage around 7:40 a.m. on Wednesday, May 5

Phone companies have the expertise to be able to address the problem of phone scams, says letter writer. (Stock photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Phone companies should crack down on scammers

It’s time for these companies to be held accountable, says letter writer

B.C. Minister of Mental Health and Addictions Sheila Malcolmson announces an app that is intended to connect children and youths with mental health and addictions services. (B.C. Government image/Flickr)
5 years in the making: Mental health app for youths launches in B.C.

The province provided $1.6 million to fund virtual care platform

A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
A sign indicating face coverings are required by the establishment is pictured on the front door of a business in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, April 9, 2021. COVID-19 cases have been on a steady increase in the province of British Columbia over the past week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to start releasing neighbourhood-specific COVID numbers after data leak

Documents obtained by the Vancouver Sun show cases broken down by neighbourhoods

Ladysmith RCMP safely escorted the black bear to the woods near Ladysmith Cemetary. (Town of Ladysmith/Facebook photo)
Black bear tranquillized, relocated after wandering around residential Ladysmith

A juvenile black bear was spotted near 2nd Avenue earlier Friday morning

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix update B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count creeps up, seven more deaths

445 people in hospital, 157 in intensive care

Summerland’s positive test rate is much higher than surrounding local health areas, according to internal BC CDC documents. (BC CDC)
Summerland 3rd behind Surrey, Abbotsford in daily per capita COVID-19 cases

Interior Health is rolling out additional vaccine availability to the community

Amazon is pausing its Prime Day marketing event in Canada this year amid ongoing COVID-19 outbreaks at its facilities in Ontario. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Amazon Prime Day halted in Canada due to COVID-19 outbreaks in warehouses

The event was postponed to protect the health and safety of employees and customers, the company says

Ally Thomas, 12, seen in an undated family handout photo, died on April 14 from a suspected overdose. Her family says they are frustrated more public supports weren't available when they tried to get her help. THE CANADIAN PRESS
Minister says suspected overdose death of 12-year-old pushing B.C. to ‘do better’

Minister Sheila Malcolmson of Mental Health and Addictions says the government is working ‘as hard as we can’ to build a system of care for youths

At this Highway 3 check point, police officers will be asking for identification from drivers, documentation regarding the driver’s name and address, and the purpose for the driver’s travel. (RCMP)
No fines handed out at 1st COVID-19 roadblock as checks move across B.C.

Cpl. Chris Manseau says a total of 127 vehicles were stopped at a roadblock in the Manning Park area

A spectator looks on as the Olympic Caldron is relit in downtown Vancouver, Wednesday, February 12, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Small majority of B.C. residents in favour of a Vancouver 2030 Olympic bid: survey

A new survey shows a split over the possibility of public money being spent to organize and host the winter games

Most Read