One of the common consequences of old age is balance issues. Seniors are more likely to miss a step or trip due to slower reflexes. Vertigo or feeling dizzy or light-headed are major safety concerns as well. Approximately 36 million older adults fall annually and 3 million are treated in emergency departments for a fall injury each year in the United States. But age is not the only factor that causes balance problems. For instance, the vestibular system in the inner ear might get infected, which could lead to problems in balance.
The good news then is that such conditions can be treated or even prevented. Taking care of vision, nerve receptors and proprioceptors can also help the elderly maintain the right body balance.
However, if the problem does occur, it is crucial to address it early before something life-threatening happens. Below are a few ways to help older family members control and maintain body position at home.
Professional Physical Therapists
Physical and occupational therapy caters to balance and weakness, associated with injury. Speech therapy at home, on the other hand, can help improve cognitive issues that can impact safety. Our Speech Pathologist create a personalized treatment plan that might also include pain management, reduced opioid dependency and a few suggestions for self-management. The experts will work as a team to ensure improved balance, flexibility and mobility. Seniors will then be less likely to dread simple activities like climbing the stairs, bending over or walking alone.
Physical activities can help seniors live a happy and active life. Rock the boat, weight shifts, flamingo stands, a tightrope walk, back leg raises, tree pose, heel-to-toe walk and single foot balance are very effective exercises for older adults. These can help:
Ensure stability and coordination
Improve natural reflexes and stability
Build strength and increase range of motion
Improve confidence regarding movements
Reduce the chances of anxiety and boost independence.
At least 2-3 sessions per week for 20-30 minutes is a must. However, make sure they do not overdo it and stop immediately in case of breathing problems.
Remove Safety Hazards
Uneven flooring, overgrown lawns or folded carpets increase the risk of falls. Try to make your home safe for seniors. Secure the rugs, fix loose railings, check for bathroom safety and get a medical alert system. Consider getting grab bars, adding ramps beside stairs and decluttering the floor. Ensure ample lighting inside the home and consider widening the doors. Remove toys and TV or telephone wires from the floor. Smart safety modifications are the ideal way to make your home fall-proof for geriatric members.
Walking canes, two-wheel walkers, stairlifts and knee walkers can be of great help. Clinical and bio-mechanical evaluations of canes and walkers confirm that they can improve balance and mobility for the elderly. These have helped millions of older adults remain independent and ensure safe mobility at home.
Also, get seniors tested for Kinetosis, neurological problems, postural hypotension and nerve damages in the feet. Provide in-home care for safe and better management of the issue. Rest assured these can reduce the chances of an accident to a great extent.