Questions and Answers About Balance Problems

Memory Care Home DallasOne major cause of disability among seniors is fall-related injuries. Individuals receiving Alzheimer’s care are at a particularly high risk of falls due to impaired balance and overall declining mobility. Fortunately, there are effective ways for seniors to improve their balance and rebuild muscle strength, which can help reduce the risk of fall-related injuries.

Are balance problems associated with dementia?
The existence of balance problems does not automatically mean that a person has or is at risk of developing dementia. Balance problems are quite common among older adults. However, some research does suggest that balance problems may serve as an early warning sign of future cognitive decline. Specifically, people who tend to fall more frequently may have higher levels of amyloid and tau proteins—both of which are associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

What is the balance test?
The balance test is an evaluation of whether a person can stand on one leg for five or more seconds. Research published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease has found that individuals who can pass this test at six-month intervals for two years display the least progression of cognitive decline. Comparatively, individuals who could not pass this test at the initial evaluation and any of the follow-up evaluations showed much more substantial cognitive decline.

How can an older adult improve balance?
For individuals who do have physical health problems or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, it is advisable to undergo balance training with the supervision of a healthcare provider or fitness expert. Any sort of exercise, including walking, will strengthen the muscles and naturally improve balance. There are also specific exercises that seniors can do to enhance balance, such as straight leg raises, calf raises, single limb stances, and eye tracking tasks.

The residents of Avalon Memory Care in Dallas, Houston, and Arlington receive assisted living services that are custom-tailored to meet their needs. We are committed to providing high-quality, continuous care because we firmly believe in the importance of living with dignity and respect. If your loved one needs Alzheimer’s care, you can call us at (214) 752-7050.