It’s easy to take the ability to remain upright and balanced for granted. But, as you’re aware, change can happen in an instant and suddenly the thing you took for granted has become very important and dear. As a family caregiver, balance is increasingly important to your aging parent and often harder to come by. There are a number of reasons why balance may go by the wayside. Knowing the cause will help you find the treatment.
Signs to be Aware of
Your parent may not always let you know that they are feeling a little unstable. Here are signs to be aware of:
- They start getting up from sitting or lying down slower than usual and stay standing for a moment before starting to walk.
- You notice them grabbing onto walls or furniture when walking.
- They seem to be increasingly disoriented.
- They have experienced a recent fall.
Balance problems are often cause by problems in the inner ear—an area of the body responsible for balance. This area, also called the labyrinth, may become swollen due to infections as simple as the common cold. A condition known as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) results in dizziness and is due to dislodged calcium crystals in the inner ear. A few of the other conditions that can cause dizziness and loss of balance include low or high blood pressure, low blood sugar, stroke and medications.
Make an appointment with your parent’s primary health care provider. They can address specific diseases and medications if one of these proves to be the problem. If it proves to be BPPV, there is a series of head movements called Canalith Repositioning or Epley Maneuvers that can help dislodge the crystals.
If your parent’ physician is unable to determine a specific cause, make sure that their lifestyle is one that will promote healing. This includes a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and daily exercise. If they are concerned about exercise due to balance issues, consider setting them up with water aerobics classes. They are often offered at the local YMCA and many are designed with seniors in mind. Another exercise routine that has proven beneficial for strengthening muscles and increasing balance is Tai Chi. This ancient gentle-form of Chinese martial arts is growing in popularity and is often offered at the local senior community center. While your parent is getting better, they may need the support of a walker to ensure safe travels. Check with their physical therapist who is best suited to fit them with the correct mobility support.
Home Care Provider
Consider the services of a home care provider as your parent continues to improve. They can help them navigate through their home safely, assist with everyday activities, prepare healthy meals, accompany them on daily walks, provide transportation and run errands.
If you or a senior family member are considering senior care in Ridgewood, NJ, please contact the caring staff at Caring Solutions Home Care LLC. In-home senior care servicing Bergen & Passaic Counties. Call today (973) 427-3553.
I started my career as an ICU nurse over 30 years ago. I have functioned as an educator and preceptor mentoring new nurses in the clinical arena. I have sat on many Patient Care committees authoring a variety of patient care protocols.
In 2007, I saw an opportunity to improve the delivery of patient care services in the home and founded Caring Solutions Home Care. Over the last 10 years I have functioned as the Director of Nursing overseeing all client care, administrative and personnel operations.