High Risk of Falls in Elderly Due to Balance Issues
Addressing Balance Issues Can Reduce The Risk Of Falls
The elderly population deal with an array of medical problems that can have adverse effects on their ability to remain steady. Conditions such as arthritis, multiple sclerosis, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, vertigo and medications can contribute to balance issues. However, balance due to loss of muscle strength and joint flexibility is one of the major causes. Add to these issues the reduced vision and reaction time and you have a very high risk of falling due to lack of balance.
Do I Have a Balance Problem?
To identify a balance problem the following questions should be asked:
1. Do I feel unsteady?
2. Do I feel the room is spinning around me if only for a brief period of time?
3. Do I lose my balance and fall?
4. Do I feel light headed or that I may faint?
5. Does my vision become blurred?
6. Do I feel unsteady when standing, walking or trying to get out of a chair?
If your loved one has answered yes to any of these questions it is time to have them evaluated by a medical professional to address the cause. Many times, an elderly loved one may not be willing to share these problems with their family as they are afraid of losing their independence, so it is advised that you observe them closely for symptoms.
Preventing Falls Due to Balance Issues
Once you have found out the reason for balance issues in your senior loved one it is time to do some additional things to further ensure their safety from falls.
· Remove clutter in the house as well as throw rugs and extension cords, they may trip over.
· Have grab bars installed in the shower and near the toilet
· Evaluate the lighting and make improvements
· Evaluate the stairs and ensure they have railings
· Make sure they receive proper training in the use of a walker of cane.
· If they have two floors in their home make sure that a secondary walker and cane is located on the second floor so they do not have to carry these up and down the stairs.
· Purchase shoes that provide support and stability.
Your loved one may be opposed to doing a physical therapy program to improve their muscle strength and flexibility as it does take a long time for improvement. However, it is very easy to setup a little exercise program for them to do at home on a daily basis that is extremely effective. Seniors love routines especially ones they think will help their overall health. Stay tuned to our blog next month to learn this simple exercise program you can teach your loved one!