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What to Do if Your Senior Loved One Has Balance Issues

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that up to one-third of adults over the age of 65 fall each year. A loss of balance remains one of the major contributing factors that lead to falls. Maintaining balance is a complex process that involves physical ability combined with sensory organ function. There are a variety of reasons any of these areas might fail and lead to a loss of balance. Seniors must have their individual situations evaluated to determine the correct course of treatment.

Encourage Regular Exercise

Some older adults become physically weak due to living a sedentary lifestyle. Many seniors need to engage in some type of routine exercise regimen to maintain bone, muscle, and connective tissue health. Many types of exercises increase overall flexibility, strength, endurance, and balance. Simply making a point of taking a walk each day strengthens the lower body and increases balance.

Some of the most highly recommended exercises to increase balance include tai chi, which involves making fluid movements with the arms and legs while shifting body weight and focusing on breathing techniques. Water aerobics is an ideal low-impact workout that uses water resistance to enhance balance, flexibility, and strength. Seniors might also consider standing behind a chair for support and practicing balancing on one leg for up to one minute. 

If your loved one needs help getting started or sticking to an exercise regimen, a home care professional might be the right person to help. Sonoma County senior care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers.

Get Medications Reviewed

Older adults who take antidepressants or sedatives may experience dizziness and uncoordinated movements. Hypertension medications might need a dosage adjustment if a senior has orthostatic hypotension. The symptoms include dizziness when sitting up in bed or standing from a sitting position.

Have Your Loved One Tested for Cardiovascular Disease

A senior with undiagnosed cardiovascular disease may experience dizziness, which could lead to a loss of balance. A physical examination and testing may reveal hypertension or a cardiac rhythm abnormality. Once diagnosed and properly medicated, the vertigo disappears. 

If the physical exam reveals your loved one’s balance problem is caused by a serious health condition, he or she might benefit from having an around-the-clock professional caregiver. Performing daily tasks while simultaneously managing the symptoms of a serious illness can be challenging for seniors. The Sonoma County live-in care experts at Home Care Assistance are available 24/7 to make sure your loved one has the care he or she needs to remain safe and comfortable while aging in place.

Get an Assessment for an Inner Ear Infection

A common cold may travel to the inner ear and disrupt the sensory organ’s ability to maintain proper balance. Diagnosis and treatment following a physical examination remedies the balance problems.

Ask Your Loved One’s Doctor to Investigate for Meniere’s Disease

Meniere’s disease involves a change in the fluid level within the inner ear. The symptoms commonly associated with the disorder include dizziness and loss of balance along with nausea, buzzing or ringing in the ear, and hearing loss. Balance and hearing tests are commonly used to diagnose the problem. Seniors may receive a prescription for anti-nausea or motion sickness medication.

If the problem is secondary to an excess of inner ear fluid, seniors may need to take a diuretic to reduce the fluid levels and pressure. For some, physical therapy is helpful to retrain the brain to accommodate the difference between each ear. Dietary recommendations might include eliminating alcohol, caffeine, salt, and foods containing monosodium glutamate. Seniors experiencing hearing loss may also benefit from hearing aids.

Loss of balance can be especially dangerous for seniors, who often have more brittle bones and weaker muscles as they grow older. If your loved one experiences loss of balance, it doesn’t mean he or she will be unable to live at home. 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 home care. Sonoma County families trust Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our Care Managers today at (707) 843.4368.