Why Do Some Seniors Have Balance Problems?

By 9  am on

Losing balance and falling can be a scary experience. Falls can result in fractures, broken limbs, or head injuries. Falling can be risky for anyone, but especially for seniors who have osteoporosis or brittle bones that break easily. Treatment for fractures or broken bones can require lengthy hospitalization and rehabilitation. Seniors who live alone may fall and lie helpless for hours or days before help arrives. Knowing what leads to balance issues can help older adults take steps to avoid falls.

Diabetic Neuropathy

A complication of type 2 diabetes, diabetic neuropathy is a type of nerve damage that affects the feet, legs, and other parts of the body. Symptoms of the condition include pain and numbness that make it difficult to walk. When the sensation in the feet is severely impaired, it can be challenging for individuals with diabetic neuropathy to maintain their balance while walking. 

Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.

Inner Ear Issues

The inner ear, specifically the vestibular system that impacts balance, can become infected when an older adult has an upper respiratory ailment or a virus. Problems in the vestibular system often lead to vertigo, a condition that causes an individual to experience dizziness or what feels like the room spinning. Vertigo makes a person feel off-balance.

Blood Pressure Issues & Stroke

High blood pressure can cause an aging adult to feel dizzy. When blood pressure drops too low, an individual may feel disoriented and lightheaded. High or low blood pressure can interfere with balance, putting an aging adult at risk for falling. Older adults who have had strokes are also at risk for balance problems. They may experience dizzy spells and weakness in their limbs that can result in unsteady gaits.

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 24-hour care. Oshkosh seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.

Medication Side Effects

Medications can affect an individual’s balance. Medicines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, and inner ear issues, all of which can interfere with balance. Taking multiple medications can cause a synergistic effect in which one drug intensifies the effect of another. Taking too much medication can also interfere with balance.

Physical Limitations

Chronic conditions that limit movement can cause individuals to lose balance. Sudden pain, stiffness, and joint problems that affect an aging adult’s range of motion can make it difficult to stand or walk without losing balance. Individuals who have had hip or knee replacements may have difficulties adjusting to the prosthetics, which can cause them to lose their balance and fall. Muscle weakness that occurs when seniors become inactive is also a balance issue that can increase their risk of falling.

Vision Impairment

Limited vision puts aging adults at risk for balance issues. Cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration can make it difficult to see clearly. Eyeglasses that are no longer effective can interfere with balance. Stairs, uneven floors, and floor covering designs can cause seniors to lose their balance when depth perception is a problem.

Balance issues, no matter what the cause, can make it difficult for seniors to safely handle the tasks of daily living. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional at-home care. Oshkosh families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call Home Care Assistance at (920) 216-6276 to learn more about our flexible and customizable senior care plans.

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