Losing your balance can be an unsettling experience. You could be walking and suddenly get dizzy or start leaning not be able to regain yourself. Possibly, you are stationary and yet feel like you are moving, become nauseas, and have to sit or lay down.
Balance is a combination of three systems:
- the eyes: which help people see themselves in relation to the world around them and also help to sense motion
- the inner ear: which helps to tell the brain what position people are at in as a relationship between the head and the earth (using fluid as a sensor)
- and a system called proprioception which includes the brain (the cerebellum and cerebral cortex) and muscles along with organs and other parts of the body which helps to relate the body to the surroundings
The balance system is fairly complex with many aspects of the body involved. So when any part is interrupted, it’s possible to have issues with balance. It’s useful for seniors and their caregivers to realize some of the problems that can cause balance issues. For instance:
- The ears getting swollen, infected, or even plugged like with allergies; ear trauma (such as a condition called
- Perilymph Fistula where the fluid in the ear leaks)
- Circulatory issues such as diabetes, blood pressure issues, and/or having had a stroke
- Losing part of your sight and having trouble seeing the walking path
- Vertigo, where turning your head can make you disoriented by feeling that you are moving when you aren’t
- Weakened muscles in various areas of the body
- Side effects of some medications that affect balance like causing dizziness; can include tranquilizers, diuretics, sedatives, blood pressure medicines, and pain killers
Whenever you are taking medications and experience these kinds of side effects, it’s a good idea to let your physician know.
Some issues that contribute to loss of balance can be prevented. These could be things like:
- Watching sodium intake to help with blood pressure
- Drinking fluids, especially water, to stay hydrated
- If you are around people, be sure to wash your hands to try and avoid getting cold or flu
- Do light exercise (including balancing exercises such as standing on one foot and knee raises) and walking to help with working the muscles
- Realize that you aren’t as quick as you used to be so take turns and standing up slower
- Hold on to rails or chairs to move, to catch your balance, and to stand up
If a senior is having problems with balance, he or she should share these issues with their caregivers. Also, caregivers should keep an eye out for balance issues from their aged loved one and get advice from the senior’s physician on ways to possibly help with the problem.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Plainsboro, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care of New Brunswick today. Call (732) 607-8870.
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