Get Off My Lawn!

The elderly might have some unusual quirks and behaviour but there could well be a logical explanation behind some of those frustrating habits. A recent science article in The Telegraph revealed that scientists have discovered that older people are slower because their brains are already full up.

Just like the hard drive of a computer which runs slow when it’s full, so does the brain of a pensioner. With this in mind here are 5 more quirks of the elderly explained.

1. Driving Really Slowly

Along with the stereotype of boy racers, elderly drivers tend to be the opposite. Drive out on a Sunday afternoon along a country lane and you’re bound to find yourself stuck behind an older person driving at the same speed as a refurbished stairlift transporting them to the toilet.

According to a Harvard Medical school this is because elderly people are better at perceiving background movement which distracts them from seeing movement right in front of them. This has the effect of slowing them down which, let’s face it, is a safer way of driving.

2. Falling Asleep in the Chair

Whether it’s an armchair or a stair lift, older people tend to snooze pretty much as soon as they sit down, yet science proves that the elderly actually suffer more from insomnia which is why they often fall asleep during the day.

3. Cranky Old People

Why so some old people always appear ill-tempered? Whether it’s shouting at children to get off their lawn or scolding younger people for not being respectful enough, the older generation do seem to be in a perpetual bad mood. Well this is easy to explain. If your body was letting you down and changing in ways that are far from flattering then you’d be pretty angry too.

4. Old Person Smell

It’s official, old people do have a particular smell. Research carried out by the Monell Chemical Senses Centre in the US discovered that the chemical composition of our bodies changes as we get older. They explained that it may be an evolutionary skill in order for humans to be able to sniff out the young, virile, sick and old. Time to invest in some strong perfume for grandma.

5. Granny’s Boiled Sweets

Why do old people always have a ready supply of boiled sweets? Even the Werther’s advert was specifically aimed at the elderly. Apparently it’s all to do with your senses changing with age.

Taste and smell tend to fall by the wayside, leaving you with just basic awareness of sweet, salty, bitter and sour. As sweet is a more pleasant taste, this is the one elderly people go for and boiled sweets are much easier to suck when you’ve no teeth left for chewing.

So next time you find yourself behind an old person in the supermarket, smelling of musty mothballs, sucking a boiled sweet and muttering angrily at those around them just remember that one day, that old person may well be you.

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Written and contributed by Harold Rigby

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