The Canadian Psychological Association notes leg pain is one of the common types of chronic pain older adults experience. This type of pain, whether it’s persistent or sudden, can be reason for concern because of the possible impact it can have on mobility, sleep, and other important daily functions. As for what causes leg weakness in the elderly, below you’ll find some of the common sources of this type of discomfort.
Lack of Regular Exercise
For some older adults, leg weakness develops over time because of a lack of sufficient lower body exercise. This is a problem that can be solved with forms of exercise that target leg muscles, including:
• Cycling or stationary bike use
• Doing certain yoga poses
Sitting for a long time can also affect leg muscles. Encourage your senior loved one to get up regularly to stretch and walk around to keep his or her leg muscles strong.
Some conditions could make it challenging for aging adults to exercise on their own, but help is available. Elderly 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.
Leg muscles can also weaken over time because of poor posture habits. Remind your loved one to pay attention to how he or she sits and stands to avoid overstressing soft tissues, bones, and joints in the legs.
Lower Back Problems
Leg weakness in the elderly is sometimes related to problems affecting the lower back area. A common source of this type of leg weakness is a herniated or slipped disc that’s irritating the sciatic nerve, which starts in the lower back and moves downward into the legs. Most people with this type of discomfort respond well to medication, physical therapy, and other conservative treatments.
The Government of Canada’s website lists stroke as one of the top causes of disability among seniors. A stroke can also affect the parts of the brain that handle movement, coordination, and sensation in a way that affects legs. It’s also common for a stroke to affect one side of the body, which may make one leg weaker. Many stroke survivors respond well to rehabilitation efforts.
If your loved one needs help with everyday tasks while recovering from a stroke, a home caregiver can be the ideal solution. Mississauga elder care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.
While often diagnosed in people between the ages of 20 and 50, multiple sclerosis (MS) can cause problems with leg strength and mobility later in life. While MS is a lifelong condition, seniors living with this disease may benefit from regular physical therapy that includes leg-strengthening exercises.
Diabetic Nerve Damage
Also referred to as diabetic neuropathy, diabetic nerve damage can contribute to leg weakness in the elderly by affecting circulation and damaging nerves. Leg muscles may also become weaker over time if this type of nerve damage spreads. If your loved one has diabetes, encourage him or her to take the steps recommended by the doctor to manage the symptoms. Medication along with massage therapy and similar therapeutic techniques may also be beneficial.
More than 100,000 Canadians are currently living with Parkinson’s disease, according to UCB Canada. Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disorder that often affects mobility by causing leg muscles to become stiff. The slow movement (bradykinesia) associated with Parkinson’s can also weaken leg muscles over time. Seniors with Parkinson’s may be able to minimize leg weakness issues with:
• Appropriate lifestyle changes
• Physical therapy to minimize muscle loss in legs
Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Mississauga, ON, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (519) 590-2792 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.