Balance Problems and the Elderly

Senior Care in Richmond Hill: Balance Problems and the Elderly

Senior Care in Richmond Hill: Balance Problems and the Elderly

Balance problems are an increasing concern as one ages. Several age-related issues can arise that make the elderly increasingly susceptible to this concern. Dizziness is a common cause of loss of balance and reported by 30 percent of those over the age of 65. If you see your parent grabbing chairs or walls upon standing or when walking, getting up slowly from a sitting position, or seeming to stand for a minute to get their bearings as well as tripping or shuffling their feet, they may be having balance problems they are not discussing. This can eventually lead to falls, the leading cause of injury among the elderly. It is estimated that one in three adults over the age of 64 fall every year. Start a conversation with your parent to determine if they may be having balance issues. Many are caused by issues that can be resolved.

The Inner Ear

The vestibular system in the inner ear, otherwise known as the labyrinth, is to a large degree responsible for balance. This delicate system can be easily disrupted by several diseases which results in a feeling of dizziness or vertigo—the feeling that the room is spinning around you.

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is a common cause of vertigo. It is due to small calcium crystals that have dislodged in the inner ear. The treatment for this is often a visit to a physical therapist who conducts maneuvers that are designed to move the crystals away from the offending area.
  • Labyrinthitis is an inflammation of the inner ear that may accompany a cold or another respiratory infection.
  • Meniere’s syndrome occurs most frequently in those who are fifty years of age and older. Vertigo is accompanied by tinnitus or ringing in the ears as well as a feeling of fullness in the ear. Medications and a low salt diet are often used to treat this disease.

Medication

Medications are a common cause of dizziness among the elderly. Several classes of medicine can contribute to dizziness. These include: antidepressants, blood pressure medications, pain medications and antibiotics. If you’re concerned a medication may be causing this side-effect, make a list of all medications including over-the-counter and supplements that your parent is taking and bring it to their pharmacist. They will check for possible interactions that could be causing this issue.

Heart Disease

A study conducted at the VU University Medical Center in the Netherlands found that 57 percent of the patients who experienced dizziness had cardiovascular diseases as compared to only 14 percent who were suffering from vestibular disease. This is often the result of blocked or narrowed arteries that lead to reduced blood flow and the availability of oxygen.

Neuropathy

Damage to the nerves of the feet can result in pain and loss of feeling leading to difficulty walking and loss of balance. This is most commonly a complication that occurs with diabetes.

Treatment

Once your parent’s primary health care provider determines the cause they can often respond with a treatment. While your parent adjusts, they may need help getting around their home and assistance with the everyday activities of living. Consider a senior care provider at this time who can support them, prepare healthy meals and provide transportation to appointments. Having someone available should a fall occur helps your parent feel secure as their body heals.

If you or an aging loved one are considering Senior Care in Richmond Hill, contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at 905.709.1767.

Resources

https://nihseniorhealth.gov/balanceproblems/aboutbalanceproblems/01.html

http://projects.galter.northwestern.edu/geriatrics/chapters/dizziness.cfm

https://www.medpagetoday.com/primarycare/geriatrics/20066

About Susan Di Michele

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