Sunday, August 17, 2003


Something I didn't know until today is that aging affects a person's sense of smell. I'd never thought about it. Through years of my life I've heard of elderly people dying in fires with barely escaping neighbors saying they didn't smell the smoke. I just never thought about it.

After a little research, I now know that aging affects the sense of smell the same way that it does with sight and hearing. Progressing age significantly diminishes a person's ability to sense any odors. It's a generally unknown handicap and it's important to know because older folks sometimes will eat rancid food because they don't smell the putrefaction.

So, why am I bringing this subject to light? A couple of reasons. One is that the inability to smell is a handicap that is invisible. If a person can't hear or speak or see, everyone in their community would know of their challenge. If a person can't smell, no one knows.

The other reason I bring this subject up is because I have noticed for years that certain women use so much perfume that I can smell it from a distance. I have walked down a deserted grocery store aisle bereft with a perfume smell, finding out later, it's some older woman. On a Sunday, pick any Sunday, go to a shopping center after everyone's been to church and you'll see what I mean. Older women, having lost their sense of smell, use way too much perfume.

And now I know why.

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