Understanding Why Seniors Have Balance Problems
How to Help a Loved One Improve Their Balance
McGregor is continuing to tackle the ten most common health concerns related to aging for Cleveland seniors. Don’t miss our first article in the series on cognitive decline. Make sure you check back regularly to read future posts from McGregor that will help you better understand the signs and symptoms of these common health conditions and guide you in taking the necessary next steps if you feel your loved one is at risk.
When a parent or older loved one is struggling with their balance, they may be at a greater risk of falling. You may wonder if their balance issues are to be expected with age or if there is something else causing the problem. The answer can be a bit of both. According to the National Institute on Aging, balance problems are one of the most common reasons older adults will seek help from their doctor.
What are the signs of balance issues in seniors?
A senior may complain of feeling dizzy or lightheaded. They may have a sensation that the room is spinning around them. Perhaps while they used to be able to walk without issue, they are now staggering or struggling to get up from a chair without tripping. Bending over or climbing stairs may no longer be possible. Without good balance, the tasks of daily living, and most daily living activities, become much more difficult. The risk of injury from falling also increases.
What causes balance issues for seniors?
While aging can contribute to balance issues, your loved one’s struggles should not be written off as normal without further investigation. These are just a few of the potential causes of balance issues in older adults:
- Inner ear problems: When the vestibular system of the ear, known as the labyrinth, is infected or swollen, it causes a condition called labyrinthitis. This leads to imbalance and vertigo. The symptoms of vertigo—a loss of balance, sense of spinning, and dizziness—can be present even when a person is not moving.
- Upper respiratory or viral infections: These types of infections can cause labyrinthitis which again can trigger vertigo.
Other causes might include:
- Circulatory system diseases like stroke
- Low blood pressure
- Head injuries
- Some medications
Can balance issues be treated?
Once a senior speaks to a doctor about their balance issues, they can get to the root cause and determine a course for treatment or management of their symptoms. This will also help rule out the possibility that a particular medication, or underlying illness or infection, could be causing the balance difficulties. Some balance disorders can be managed through diet, upping fluid intake, reducing alcohol consumption, and doing exercises developed by a physical therapist.
McGregor Is Here for Seniors and Their Caregivers
Providing a Safe Environment for Seniors With Balance Disorders
If you have concerns about your loved one’s balance issues and their ability to live safely without fear of falling, it may be time to consider Assisted Living at McGregor. We are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for our residents every day, making their lives easier and giving you and other family members peace of mind.