While people of all ages can develop balance issues, seniors may be more susceptible. The source of balance problems in the elderly needs to be determined as soon as possible to reduce the risk of accidents and injuries. Here are four reasons seniors lose their balance and how you can help your aging loved one stay safe from falling.
1. Chronic Sinus Infections
Older adults may be more likely to develop sinus infections. Because chronic sinusitis can lead to severe nasal congestion, headaches, and eye disorders, balance issues may develop. If your loved one gets frequent sinus infections, make sure he or she drinks plenty of water, which thins nasal secretions so they can be easily expelled. When thick or discolored mucus isn’t removed from the nasal cavity, bacteria can multiply, which could exacerbate an existing infection. Your loved one’s physician will also need to determine if the chronic sinus infections are viral or bacterial in nature. If your loved one has a bacterial infection, antibiotics may be effective in eliminating the organism. However, antibiotic therapy will do little to resolve a viral infection. Once sinus problems have been eliminated, normal balance may be restored.
Some seniors with recurring health issues find it difficult to remember to take their medications, prolonging the recovery process. Chronic health conditions also often make it necessary for elderly people to visit their doctors often, and finding reliable transportation can sometimes be a challenge. A home caregiver can assist with these tasks and many more. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable senior home care. Albuquerque, NM, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
2. Fluid Buildup in the Ear
Another common reason for balance problems in seniors is fluid buildup inside the ear. While fluid accumulation in the middle or inner ear is typically caused by infections, it can also be caused by poor ear hygiene or even ill-fitting hearing aids. When fluid builds up inside the ear tubes, equilibrium can be affected, and because of this, your loved one may develop vertigo. This condition causes spinning sensations and loss of balance. If vertigo goes untreated, your loved one may be at risk for falls.
3. Arthritic Conditions
Arthritic conditions of the spine, hips, and knees could make your loved one lose his or her balance. Osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis not only cause pain and inflammation of the joints but can also cause an unsteady gait. While osteoarthritis is a localized condition that solely affects the joints, rheumatoid arthritis is a systemic illness that causes pain and swelling of the joints, severe fatigue, weakness, and sometimes fever. If your loved one has a rheumatoid flare-up, weakness and instability could result and increase the risk of falling, so make sure he or she isn’t left alone when this happens.
In addition to mobility issues that pose safety challenges, seniors with arthritis often have difficulty accomplishing everyday tasks. Having the assistance of a caregiver can make a huge difference in quality of life for aging adults who want to spend their golden years at home. Living with a serious health condition 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. Albuquerque seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
Diabetes is another health condition that can raise the risk for balance difficulties. Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, can cause light-headedness, dizziness, fatigue, and unsteadiness. Hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, can also lead to balance problems because it can cause heart and blood pressure abnormalities, shaking, loss of vision, and weakness in the lower extremities. Since both hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia are commonly associated with diabetes, it’s important that your loved one maintain tight control over his or her blood sugar levels. Doing so may prevent diabetic-related complications such as organ damage, balance difficulties, and injuries related to falls.
Balance issues, no matter what the cause, can make it difficult for seniors to manage daily life safely at home. 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 home care. Albuquerque families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at 505-798-0800 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.