As they age, elders undergo a lot of physiological changes which impact their balance. Decreased strength, loss of flexibility, and increased healing time are primary causes for reduced balance. And according to experts of physiotherapy in Chennai, balance is a key area for caregivers to focus on.
What causes balance issues in older adults?
The body’s balance system is located within the inner ear and is known as the vestibular system. It can become susceptible to swelling and ear infections during bouts of colds and other illnesses. Incongruity in this delicate system can further cause spells of dizziness. With a decline in immunity, seniors are at a higher risk for balance issues.
Typical sensory feedback from our joints and muscles diminishes when fluid build-up or swelling occurs. Pre-existing conditions like arthritis can aggravate this too. With this decline, the brain may pass slower or misleading information to the legs and feet when walking.
The ability to produce sweat on our palms reduces with age, resulting in dry hands. This can make it difficult to grip railings when climbing stairs, which poses a risk of slipping or falling.
Additionally, weakened eyesight causes the brain to process objects and distances incorrectly. This may lead you to misjudge distances, thereby increasing the likelihood of falls.
Exercises to improve balance
Good balance is important in everything one does. Keeping active with this list of exercises will go a long way in improving balance and preventing issues we mentioned above from cropping up.
NOTE: These exercises should be done under the strict supervision of a caregiver, especially if the elder has knee problems or balancing issues. The proper grip should be provided to the elder during these exercises and access to soft-resting spaces are recommended.
Walking heel to toe
This exercise should be performed with a caretaker or home nurse in Chennai to make sure it is carried out safely. Start by touching the heel of your left foot to the toes of your right foot. Next, balance on your left heel and bring your right foot forward to touch its heel to the toes of your left foot. Continue to walk heel to toe like this for 20 steps.
Stand at a distance of an arm’s length from a wall. Slowly lean forward with your arms outstretched till your palms are flat against the wall. Ensure that your feet remain firm as you do this. Finally, gently push your body back into an upright position
Experts of home care in Chennai recommend this exercise most because of how simple and fun it is. Simply stand straight in one place and lift one knee as high as you can manage. Lower your leg and lift the next knee the same way. Continue to repeat this to march in one place.
Backward leg raises
Using the support of a chair, slowly lift one leg backwards. Avoid bending your knees. Try to hold this position for a few seconds before lowering it gently and repeating the same with the other leg.
To perform this exercise, outstretch your arms from your sides so that they are parallel to the ground. Walk slowly in a straight line and pause for a few seconds when lifting a feet. Ensure your posture is straight as you do this. Try to walk from one end of a room to the other this way. It’s important to note that this exercise may require supervision from a physiotherapist.
Work on these exercises every day to maintain proper balance. You can also consult experts of geriatric care in Chennai to establish a more personalised exercise regimen.
Removing potential fall hazards is also critical if an elder is living alone. At Alserv, we provide home audits to inspect and ensure home safety for elders. We also provide quality equipment like handles, railings, and more, with professionals who will take care of setting it up. Get in touch with us to know more.