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5 Reasons Older Adults Experience Balance Issues

By , 9:00 am on

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 ears contain structures and fluids that control the sense of balance. In some cases, inner ear issues such as an ear infection 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 canals. 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.

Hearing loss is not 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 in-home caregivers who provide high-quality senior care. Henderson families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

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. Once your loved one’s vision decreases, issues with depth perception may make it difficult to balance while walking up and down uneven flooring such as stairs. Make sure vision issues are addressed as they arise, and use strategies such as handrails along stairways to provide extra support.

3. Numbness or Nerve Damage in the Legs

Balance is also affected by the ability to feel the ground beneath the feet. Seniors with diabetes and other conditions that affect the nerves may experience symptoms such as numbness or tingling that makes 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 the legs or feet, provide a mobility device such as a walker to help him or her get around safely.

4. Joint and Muscle Issues

Severe joint pain, stiffness, and muscle weakness may prevent the body from staying stable enough to keep its balance. When your loved one has severe arthritis or deterioration of the muscles, 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 or 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. Henderson, Nevada, families trust Home Care Assistance 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 such as melatonin 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 a serious health condition can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Henderson seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging parent, call Home Care Assistance at (702) 527-7723 today.