As we get older, we begin to notice deterioration in a number of areas concerning our motor skills. One of the areas that takes a lot of strain is our balance. Can this be remedied?
There is much focus around the notion of achieving and improving proper balance for the elderly. Though the reality is somewhat unavoidable, the symptoms can often be controlled with effort or assistance of balancing equipment.
Finding new and inventive ways to provide the elderly with proper balance should be a societal priority. Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon.
The exact reason why balance is one of the first skills to go with old age is uncertain. There are so many factors at play that can affect the balance of a human being.
In the event of a stroke, most elderly individuals lose 60-100% of their balance. However, this is a more severe way for this loss to occur. On a lighter note, old age is just as relevant a cause of loss in balance.
As our limbs deteriorate, so do our internal organs. The cerebellum is the area of the brain responsible for a person’s balance. Like any other organ, this too can become weaker over time and as a result proper balance can be harder to maintain.
Thankfully the advances in modern health care and technology offer a wide range of solutions for the elderly to sustain or achieve proper balance.
The following methods are viable solutions of improving one’s balance provided it has not deteriorated too far.
These are intended for the individual who would perhaps just like to take preventive measures in dealing with the balance-loss process. Alternatively, they’re still relevant to any individual already in early stages of balance loss.
There is a broad spectrum of exercises that can restore an elderly person’s balance over time. Some of these exercises require the assistance of a trainer, and others can be performed alone at home.
Balance-improving exercises range from basic leg lifts all the way to one-legged stances over lengthy periods. Initially these exercises may feel overwhelming or straining on the elderly body. With enough repetition, however, things will get easier and you will begin to reap the rewards of better balance.
It is highly recommended that no elderly person attempt any kind of physical exercise without sufficient supervision. Of course only you know your level of capability—but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
A fun and unique way of achieving better balance is through water based activities. Most gyms offer water aerobics classes specifically aimed to accommodate the elderly body.
Exercising while submerged in a large body of water adds resistance to one’s limbs. The pressure of the water makes balancing feel easier, though the same level of effort is still being exerted. This means when you get out of the water, you are at a stronger center point compared to when you started. This will have directly affect your everyday balance outside the pool.
Again – no elderly individual should attempt water-based exercise without the correct supervision and guidance. Seek the help of professionals when taking this proactive route.
Sometimes things are further along than one might like and targeted exercises are simply not an option. In these cases you can turn to modern engineering giving us mechanisms to assist in achieving proper balance.
There are many devices on the market that claim to cure poor balance or alleviate the struggle. The following, however, are the top three most tried and trusted devices for this purpose.
These basic tools have stood the test of time in aiding elderly with their balance problems.
Walking sticks are ideal for the individual whose balance isn’t too far gone, but just not quite right anymore. They provide a one sided form of extra support while on the go.
These products are easy to transport and equally as simple to store. Prop them up in any corner at arm’s length anytime.
Walking sticks are great for the imbalanced elderly because they come in a variety of materials and shapes. You can really express your personality through one of these, making it a stylish accessory and not simply a piece of medical equipment. That’s dynamic in boosting someone’s confidence.
When one stick is simply not sufficient anymore, an elderly individual will likely have to make the jump to two. These usually come in the form of crutches and provide dual balance on either side.
These devices are a little more advanced than your average stick or crutch. Rollators are steel- or aluminum-framed walking devices that move around on four wheels. The rollator will have two handles by which the unbalanced individual will push it around.
Rollators are convenient and safe solutions to the most unbalanced individuals who still want to remain mobile. There’s nothing worse for an elderly person than feeling their loss of freedom and independence due to their balance being impaired.
Rollators also double up as chairs in the event of the user needing a sudden resting point, such as when out shopping at the mall.
This is a solution many of us would rather avoid as long as possible. However, for the elderly whose balance is more out of their control than they would like to admit, these items save the day.
Many of today’s wheelchairs are completely electronic. The user can move themselves around using a simple hand-powered joy stick. This gives them the independence they so valued before losing their balance.
Electric wheel chairs aren’t the cheapest devices on the market. They really should be used as the last resort in balance gaining solutions.
While getting old is inevitable, becoming physically impaired because of your lack of proper balance shouldn’t be.
There are many preventative methods to consider before it’s too late. And even when it is too late, there are devices to keep you on your toes.
Make proper balance your health care priority before it gets the better of you.
Ready… set… balance!