5 Tips for Addressing Balance Issues in Older Adults

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The Canadian government reports that up to 30 percent of the country’s senior citizens fall each year. A loss of balance remains one of the main contributing factors that lead to falls. Here are a few ways to treat balance issues in older adults.

1. Increase Physical Strength

Seniors who live sedentary lifestyles lose muscle tone and strength, and their reaction time also slows. Older adults need to increase their activity by getting regular exercise or finding other ways to become more physically active. Going for walks each day enhances cardiovascular and physical strength along with balance. Seniors with limited range of motion or mobility might want to consider non-weight bearing activities. 

Older adults who need help exercising should consider professional in-home care. Mississauga home 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.

2. Remove Safety Hazards

Conditions inside and outside the home can raise the risk for falls. On the outside, a senior might trip over uneven pavement or lose his or her balance walking across an uneven lawn. Snow and ice that isn’t removed during the winter months may contribute to falling. Loose area rugs may slide, causing an older adult to lose balance. The edges of carpets or uneven flooring may cause a senior to trip and fall. Seniors with visual deficits might not be able to see potential fall hazards in the home.

Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading Mississauga elder care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.

3. Add Contrast

Many seniors with dementia have perception issues. The brain is no longer able to process depths and distances. Thus, steps of the same color don’t look like they’re going up or down. Similar situations may occur when walking outside and encountering a curb. As the brain cannot perceive upgrades or downgrades, older adults step wrong, lose their balance, and fall. Ensure steps and flooring have a contrasting color and furnishings contrast with surround décor to prevent falls.

4. Address Inner Ear Anomalies

Some seniors experience ailments that affect the mechanisms found in the inner ear. The semicircular canals and fluid levels work together to create a compass or gyroscope that helps the body maintain its balance. A cold or upper respiratory infection may cause inflammation and an increase of fluid and pressure in the middle ear. An environmental change in one or both ears interferes with the middle ear’s ability to balance the body. Thus, a senior may become dizzy and fall. Statistics indicate that more than 16,000 older Canadian adults live with Meniere’s disease. The disorder occurs for unknown reasons, causing abnormalities in the fluid levels of one or both ears. Affected seniors often experience nausea, dizziness, and balance issues.

5. Evaluate Medications

Antihistamines and anti-anxiety medications may cause dizziness and a subsequent loss of balance. If a senior’s hypertension medication dosage is too high, he or she might experience orthostatic hypotension when changing from a lying position to a sitting or standing position. Know the side effects of medications and consult with a physician if needed.

Balances issues can make it difficult for seniors to manage everyday activities independently. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Mississauga seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers. To create a customized in-home care plan for your aging parent, give us a call at (519) 590-2792 today.