Why Do Seniors Develop a Shuffling Gait?

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Causes of Shuffling Gait in Seniors in Portland, ME

As seniors reach the golden years, they sometimes develop a shuffling gait. While family caregivers may view this development as normal, any changes in your aging loved one’s gait shouldn’t be ignored. Your loved one’s tendency to drag his or her feet could be linked to one of the following issues that needs to be addressed right away.

Muscular Weakness

Strong back, leg, and ankle muscles and tendons are necessary for maintaining good posture and lifting the legs when walking. Over time, your loved one may have lost muscle mass that makes it difficult to lift his or her feet. If your loved one’s shuffling gait seems to be related to weak muscles, starting a therapeutic exercise regimen may strengthen it. 

Consult a doctor before helping your loved one with regular exercise at home. Every senior has different needs when aging in place. Some simply need occasional assistance with household chores, while others may be managing a serious illness and require more extensive live-in care. Portland seniors can count on Home Care Assistance to provide the in-home care they need and deserve.

Medication Side Effects

Your loved one’s medications may have a few side effects, such as fatigue or dizziness, which can disrupt walking abilities. Ask your loved one about unusual side effects like numbness in the feet. Consult a doctor to have the medications adjusted for your loved one, or make necessary changes at home to prevent falls.

Poorly Fitting Shoes

Shoes that are too tight or too loose could cause your loved one to modify his or her walking habits to ensure the footwear stays on. Your loved one may also have difficulty putting on shoes or fastening them properly. Explore different types of footwear to find one your loved one can wear comfortably. For instance, a slip-on pair of shoes with elastic around the top may be easier to wear than open-back slippers.

Symptoms of Health Disorders

Many seniors develop a shuffling gait after a stroke damages the part of the brain responsible for motor control. Parkinson’s disease, dementia, and diabetes are a few other health conditions that may affect how seniors walk. Always report any changes you see in your loved one’s gait to a physician, especially if your loved one has a diagnosed health condition that is known to progress over time. This way, you may be able to manage the walking habits by treating the underlying related health issue.

If you’re the primary family caregiver for an elderly loved one and need additional assistance providing high-quality home care, Portland Home Care Assistance can help. We are a leading home care agency committed to changing the way seniors age.

Fear of Falling

Seniors may develop a greater awareness of their mortality after experiencing a fall-related injury. Your loved one’s gait may result from the desire to keep both feet on the ground as much as possible. However, shuffling may increase the risk of falls. Protect your loved one from falls by eliminating potential hazards around the house like cords in the walkways. Ask your parent if he or she needs help with tasks such as mopping the floor so you can arrange for a caregiver who can look after his or her basic needs.

Portland elderly home care professionals can be a wonderful boon to seniors. Whether they require around-the-clock supervision or just need assistance with exercise and household tasks a few days a week, seniors can enjoy a higher quality of life with the help of trusted in-home caregivers. Call Home Care Assistance today at (207) 835-4849 to create a tailored care plan for your loved one.