Should You Worry About a Senior’s Shuffling Walk?

Scuff. Scuff. Scuff. That’s the sound many caregivers hear when their aging relative walks through the room. The senior does not pick up their feet. Instead, they shuffle across the floor, never really picking up their feet. It’s not something they do on purpose. In fact, it’s likely they don’t even know they’re doing it.

 

Caregiver in Richmond Hill: Senior Scuffling

Caregiver in Richmond Hill: Senior Scuffling

 

There are several things that can cause older adults to shuffle. Some of them can be treated, allowing them to walk more normally, which will also keep them safer by reducing the chance of a fall. Understanding the causes of shuffling may allow you to identify the problem in your loved one and see to it that they get the treatment they need.

 

Below are some potential causes of shuffling.

 

Tiny Strokes

Some older adults suffer from tiny strokes that are so minor they don’t notice them when they happen. These little strokes can change the way the senior walks. In one study, scientists examined the brains of 418 people after they had died. They found that the people whose brains showed signs of these tiny strokes were more likely to have shuffled when they walked.

Arthritis

Certain kinds of arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, can reduce the range of motion of joints involved in walking, such as the hip and knee joints. This can severely alter the older adult’s gait, causing them to be unable to lift their feet when they walk. The senior may also shuffle to avoid the pain that occurs when they bend a joint. A doctor can refer the senior to a physical therapist or suggest treatments that can improve range of motion and reduce pain.

Weakened Muscles

Loss of muscle mass in an older adult can make muscles in the hips and legs too weak to lift feet in a normal manner. This problem can be corrected by getting the older adult to exercise more, particularly using weight-bearing exercises.

Poor Vision

Seniors who cannot see well may shuffle their feet to avoid tripping over something in their path. There are all kinds of eye conditions that can affect vision, including cataracts and glaucoma. If you suspect this is the cause of the older adult’s shuffling gait, take them for an eye exam.

Poor Footwear

If your aging relative’s shoes or slippers are old and worn or if they do not fit well, they may shuffle their feet to prevent a fall or foot pain. Check the soles of the senior’s shoes for wear and replace them if needed. If the shoes don’t seem to fit well, it can be helpful to go to a shoe store where an associate will help measure the foot to find the right fit.

 

If your older family member walks with a shuffling gait, they are at a higher risk for falling. A home care provider can help to prevent falls by walking with the senior, giving them an arm to steady them. Home care providers can also ensure that walkways in the home are clear by cleaning up clutter and making sure furniture doesn’t jut out into the path. If your aging relative requires treatment for a problem causing gait problems, a home care provider can remind them to take medicines or drive them to medical appointments.

 

If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring a Caregiver in Richmond Hill, please contact the caring professionals at  Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.

 

Sources
Dailycaring.com
Huffingtonpost.ca
Npr.org

 

 

 

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