Does Your Senior Loved One Have a Balance Issue?
There is no arguing that falls are some of the scariest and most harmful accidents that tend to occur among seniors. In fact, falls are the top reason that seniors end up in the hospital. While there is a long list of issues that can potentially cause falls among seniors, balance problems are some of the most common. In fact, there are millions of reported cases of seniors with balance issues every year, and issues with balance, lightheadedness and dizziness are some of the most common reasons seniors pay a visit to the doctor.
Why is good balance important? When a senior has good balance, it means that they can control and maintain their body’s position no matter what. This means they can walk without tripping, climb stairs without stumbling, get up from a chair without falling backwards and bend and move without fear of falling. This balance comes from the inner ear and it works to make sure that the body can work together and function as it should. In short, seniors who have good balance are able to stay independent, do more daily activities on their own and they have a lesser chance of falling and ending up in the emergency room. Seniors with severe balance issues are much more likely to be home-ridden and lose certain aspects of their independence as even simple, everyday activities can become a challenge.
Unfortunately, issues with balance tend to get worse with age. While aging can impact balance, so can other conditions such as Benign Proxysmal Positional Vertigo, Meniere’s Disease and Labyrinthitis. Some seniors will notice balance issues right away, while others may not even realize their balance is fading. In these situations, it may be up to the caregiver or assisted living facility to notice signs of a balance problem. The best way to tell if a senior is suffering from balance issues is to look for common symptoms such as:
- Complaints of dizziness or lightheadedness
- Ringing or roaring in the ears
- Tripping for no reason
- Needing to stop walking up stairs from “spinning”
- Stumbling when walking up or down stairs or inclines
- Ringing in the ear
- Being unable to get out of a chair or bed quickly without falling or getting lightheaded
- Hearing loss that comes and goes
- Tilting or swerving one way when walking
- Unexplained falls for no reason
- Feeling unsteady while moving or standing
Typically, a doctor will be able to diagnose the problem and the root of the issue quite quickly. There are many treatments available that can treat both balance-impairing conditions and their side effects. While some seniors may never be able to regain the full balance that they once had, there are ways to improve their balance so they can safer each and every day. Balance issues should not be taken lightly, while they may not seem like a particularly severe issue when compared to other ailments, they can actually be quite dangerous if left untreated.
- Lori Thomas has decades of experience as a caregiver. Her writing for SeniorAdvice.com is informed by years of research as well as hands-on family experience caring for her now late mother, who had chronic health issues for most of her life. Lori is an integral part of the SeniorAdvice.com management team, acting as Vice President of Marketing and Chief Editor.
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