Every year, up to 25 percent of adults over the age of 65 experience falls. Losing their sense of balance remains one of the many reasons seniors become susceptible to falls. Various medical conditions contribute to balance issues, and many are treatable.
1. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
According to the National Institutes of Health, BPPV remains one of the most common reasons seniors experience balance problems. The disorder may develop as part of the aging process, and possible causes include unresolved inner ear infections and head trauma. Symptoms often begin when turning the head or changing physical position. Standing or walking results in dizziness and a spinning sensation. When balance is affected, seniors need medical attention.
Living with serious health conditions can make it challenging for seniors to age in place. However, they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional live-in care. Castle Rock seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Ménière’s disease affects the inner ear and causes dizziness, tinnitus, and congestion in one ear. The symptoms commonly last up to 20 minutes, which increases the risk of falling secondary to balance loss. The condition involves endolymph fluid buildup in the middle ear, which interferes with hearing and balance signals. Prescription medications for dizziness and excessive fluid can remedy the problem.
3. Ear Infections
A cold, the flu, or a sinus infection may lead to an inner ear infection that causes excessive fluid and inflammation, resulting in balance issues. Seniors who experience earaches, muffled hearing, or sensations of fullness in their ears must seek medical intervention.
4. Impaired Vision
Statistics indicate approximately 16 percent of older adults develop cataracts in one or both eyes. Another 9 percent develop glaucoma. These visual impairments decrease the visual field and often affect depth perception. Visual messages sent to the brain play a major role in an individual’s balance ability. Seniors need to undergo routine eye examinations so physicians can detect problems and prescribe treatment early.
5. Musculoskeletal Issues
Seniors who live with chronic joint pain, stiffness, and muscle weakness are more likely to have flexibility and balance problems. Older adults with physical limitations may need medical devices to aid in position transfers and ambulation, and severely affected adults may require the assistance of caregivers. For many, starting a routine of increased activity often boosts physical ability, flexibility, and balance. Walking, cycling, swimming, and doing water aerobics are effective techniques for strengthening the musculoskeletal system.
Aging adults who need assistance with exercise can benefit from having an in-home caregiver. 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 elder care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Balance becomes affected when older adults can no longer feel the surface beneath their feet—a problem that often occurs in diabetics. Seniors with diabetes must adhere to medical recommendations to maintain normal blood sugar levels, which can prevent nerve damage. Seniors with nerve damage may require the use of assistive devices to increase balance.
7. Ramsay Hunt Syndrome
The emergence of shingles may affect facial nerves close to the ears and lead to a condition called Ramsay Hunt syndrome. Along with dizziness and balance loss, affected seniors experience ear pain and hearing impairment. Medical intervention commonly involves a course of antiviral medication, steroids, and pain relievers, if needed.
Balance issues, no matter what the cause, can make it difficult for seniors to safely handle the tasks of daily living. There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to manage if their families opt for professional senior care. Castle Rock families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 720-580-5378 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.