Your senior’s ability to walk safely is a key part of her overall mobility. If she’s walking differently than she used to or you’re noticing that she doesn’t seem to walk when you’re around, there’s likely more going on. The biggest reason to pay close attention to gait issues is that they’re an accurate predictor of fall risks.
Shuffling and Other Gait Problems Increases Fall Risk
If you’re noticing that your elderly family member is having difficulty walking or that her pattern of walking has changed, that can be a big clue that something is wrong. A shuffling gait or balance issues can significantly increase fall risk, which is definitely something that you and your senior want to avoid for her. There can be a great many reasons this is happening, so it’s important to understand contributing factors.
Determine What’s Causing the Issues
So many factors can affect gait for your elderly family member. She may have trouble with her balance, she may be experiencing joint pain or weakened leg muscles, or she may not be able to see well. Another factor that’s important to consider is that your senior may be afraid of falling, which can make her change her walking style in such a way that she actually endangers herself more.
Start Putting a Plan Together
To truly understand the cause of your senior’s gait issues, it’s vital to get input from her doctor. Your senior’s doctor can look at things like her current health issues, her health history, the medications she’s taking, and more to determine what’s going on. There may be new side effects, new health problems, or something else that her doctor can run tests to identify.
Look at What Else Might Help Your Senior
Once you know what your senior is up against and you’ve started to put together a plan with her doctor, there may be other solutions that can help, too. For muscle weakness or balance issues, physical therapy might be helpful. If the issue is primarily environmental, then adding handrails and removing tripping hazards needs to be at the top of your to do list. Other answers, like hiring home care providers, can give your senior personalized assistance that makes a difference for her.
Any time you’re noticing changes in how your senior walks or how often she’s walking, it’s crucial to look a little deeper and determine what’s caused the changes. Determining that can help her to avoid a fall and potentially lifelong ramifications from that fall.
If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Scarsdale and Yonkers, NY, call Griswold Home Care
and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (914) 768-9065