One in four Americans 65 and over falls each year in the United States, according to the CDC. A common reason for falling is a lack of proper balance. Even if your senior loved one isn’t yet having such issues, it can help to be more aware of what could cause such problems in the golden years of life. Here are seven possibilities.
1. Medication Side Effects
Some of the medications seniors commonly take, including ones that manage blood pressure, have side effects that could affect balance. Antidepressants, sedatives, certain anticancer drugs, and some anti-anxiety drugs may produce similar results. If you suspect medication side effects may be affecting your loved one’s balance, talk to his or her doctor about appropriate adjustments or alternatives.
2. Meniere’s Disease
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), a common cause of balance problems is Meniere’s disease, an inner ear disorder that can create a feeling of fullness in the ears and cause dizziness. Seniors with this condition may also experience vertigo and hearing loss, which can affect balance. This disease may be treatable with a combination of medication, a low-sodium diet, and balance training.
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 at-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Cataracts and age-related macular degeneration are common age-related vision problems that could throw off balance. Age can also weaken eye muscles and affect balance to some extent. Minimize this concern for your loved one by encouraging regular eye exams so vision issues can be diagnosed and treated.
4. Chronic Conditions
The NIH cites studies showing a link between diabetes and vestibular dysfunction, referring to issues with the inner ear system, which controls balance. This is just one example of how a chronic condition may affect balance in seniors. Balance may also be thrown off in seniors with:
• Chronic high blood pressure
• Recurring thyroid disorders
• Heart disease
Long-term medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and Parkinson’s disease could also cause balance issues by affecting the central nervous system. Such issues may be minimized by helping your loved one properly manage chronic health problems.
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 24-hour care. Lakewood seniors can benefit from assistance with meal prep, bathing, transportation to the doctor’s office, medication reminders, and much more.
5. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV is a common balance disorder in seniors that causes intense vertigo, which is a sensation of spinning. It can also cause mild to intense episodes of dizziness. Such episodes may be triggered by actions such as getting out of bed or rising from a chair. BPPV sometimes goes away within a few weeks. Seniors may also benefit from head movement exercises to train the brain to better manage vertigo-related signals.
Labyrinthitis is a type of inner ear infection that affects balance. This happens because of inflammation that disrupts the transmission of nerve signals from the ear to the brain. It’s common in seniors because it’s associated with the flu, which tends to be more severe in older adults. It’s often diagnosed with hearing and blood tests and treated with medication and efforts to slow down movements to avoid triggering vertigo episodes.
7. Age-Related Hearing Loss
Also called presbycusis, hearing loss associated with age tends to be gradual and progressive. For this reason, your loved one may not be fully aware of hearing changes, which sometimes contribute to bone, blood vessel, and tissue changes that affect balance. Many seniors with age-related hearing loss can be helped with properly adjusted hearing aids.
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 elderly home care. Lakewood families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (303) 987-5992 today.