Addressing balance problems in older adults and preventing falls

Bayshore | | Blog

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My mom seems to be losing her balance a lot.
What can I do?

It’s worrisome to see a parent or loved one lose their balance and risk an injury from a fall. Problems with walking (gait) and balance are common in older adults but are not inevitable. There are effective interventions to improve balance and prevent falls.

If you notice your mother is unsteady on her feet, the first step is for her to see her family doctor for a physical exam and a medical history and medication review. Common causes of balance issues may include arthritis, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s disease and orthostatic hypotension – a form of low blood pressure that causes you to feel dizzy or faint when getting up from a seated or lying position. Your mother’s physician can assess her to determine if an underlying medical condition is causing the problem. There could be multiple contributing factors.

In many cases, the next step should be a comprehensive assessment by a physiotherapist to evaluate balance and gait issues and related functional limitations, and offer treatment solutions. Exercise and physical therapy are effective options to improve gait and balance.

How can a physiotherapist help my mother?

Physiotherapists have a detailed understanding of how the body works. They apply their specialized education and clinical skills to assess a person’s movement and function and then develop an individualized plan using a range of treatment techniques.

For instance, the use of mobility aids such as canes or walkers (properly fitted) can reduce load on a painful joint and increase stability. A prescribed exercise program can help improve range of motion, muscle strength, posture, balance, functional abilities and pain management.

Is there anything else we can do to prevent falls?

Bayshore’s Therapy and Rehabilitation division offers a wide range of services in the convenience of your home or workplace including:

A home environment assessment and intervention by a trained healthcare professional are important components of a strategy to reduce falls. Our falls prevention specialists can recommend equipment and home modifications as well as exercises to increase or maintain strength, mobility and balance.

For more information about our Therapy and Rehabilitation Services:
Call us: 1-855-581-4746 or Email us: rehab@bayshore.ca