A senior’s sense of balance may decrease over the years, leaving him or her vulnerable to dangerous falls. If you’re caring for an elderly parent, be alert for the following five common balance issues.
1. Issues with the Inner Ear
The inner ear contains structures and fluids that control the sense of balance. In some cases, an inner ear issue such as an ear infection can cause a temporary loss of stability. Seniors can also experience longer periods of vertigo that originates in the inner ear due to excessive fluid buildup or the displacement of calcium crystals that naturally occur in the ear canal. Watch for signs of ear-related issues, such as having coexisting hearing loss or pain, and have your parent visit the physician for a diagnosis.
2. Impaired Vision
Vision issues such as glaucoma and cataracts can cause seniors to lose their sense of balance. The brain relies on visual images to help the body stay properly balanced. If your loved one’s vision decreases, issues with depth perception may make it difficult to balance while walking up and down uneven surfaces such as stairs. Make sure vision issues are addressed as they arise, and use strategies such as placing handrails along stairways to provide extra support.
Vision impairment isn’t the only issue older adults are susceptible to. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Trust Assisting Hands Home Care to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
3. Numbness or Nerve Damage in the Legs
The ability to feel the ground beneath the feet can also affect balance. Seniors with diabetes and other conditions that affect the nerves may experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling that make it impossible to feel their movements as they stand and walk. Make sure your loved one treats conditions such as diabetes to preserve the functioning of the nerves in the extremities. If your parent has already lost some of the feeling in his or her legs or feet, provide a mobility device such as a walker to help him or her get around safely.
4. Joint & Muscle Issues
Severe joint pain, stiffness, and muscle weakness may prevent the body from staying stable enough to keep its balance. If your loved one has severe arthritis or muscle deterioration, he or she might suddenly lose balance during even the simplest activities, including walking. Provide a caregiver to assist your loved one with movements such as getting out of bed and stepping into the bathtub to prevent loss of balance during essential parts of the daily routine.
Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Columbia, MD, families trust Assisting Hands Home Care to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
5. Medication Side Effects
Painkillers, beta blockers, and sleep aids are just a few types of medication known to affect balance. Always read the potential side effects of any new medication your loved one takes. Many over-the-counter drugs and natural remedies can also affect balance. If a medication is causing balance issues, make sure your parent has a mobility device or another type of support until he or she adjusts.
Mobility issues often indicate a serious medical condition. Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional Care. Columbia seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Assisting Hands Home Care. Reach out to one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 443-233-1245 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.