Seniors: Keeping Balance in an Unbalanced World

Nov 8th, 2010 | By admin | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Having had a few weeks of physical therapy, I am discovering exercises which help to develop the ability to keep one’s balance.  Balance issues are a factor as one grows older and negotiates steps, walking, maneuvering among people in crowds, and navigating inclines.  Handicapped friendly environments aren’t always available nor designed to assist moving about.  When I took the test that indicated my proficiency with balance, I found that I was in the lower percentile.  Not good.  I needed to work at improving my self confidence in walking, climbing, keeping my balance. The therapist was quick to offer exercises and activities which would afford my being able to improve.

Some persons resist, usually because of ego, the use of walkers, canes and other assistive devices.  This is a bad choice.  Falling is the enemy of aging, just like pneumonia is to persons who are hospital bound.  Doing all one can to give assurance that balance can be maintained is the surest way to head off a potentially dangerous tumble, necessitating hospitalization, rehab and other attention that will not be all that much fun. 


Some buildings are not well equipped to provide protection for persons who find it difficult to get around.  Some hotels, older buildings, including government structures, have not taken the counsel to become handicapped accessible.  Churches, medical centers, retail stores, restaurants need to inventory the lay out of their environments in order to assure safety.  Not doing so can, at worse, be an invitation to a serious accident, a lawsuit, and then having to do what should have been done earlier on in equipping the building accordingly.

The message I’ve learned from physical therapy is that sometimes we need help to either maintain or re-learn the basics.  My experience in loss of balance and gait impairment probably resulted from prostate surgery three years ago.  So the problems had a lot of time to develop.  But my primary care physician was quick to make a referral when I told her about my unsteadiness, and a few falls.  An evaluation revealed loss of muscle strength in my legs.  And now after a few weeks of physical therapy, I can already see the results of my efforts to regain muscle strength.

So the message in this latest experience in aging is this:  When you experience a loss of balance in your life, seek appropriate help to figure out what you need to do to regain it.  This isn’t the time to ‘tough it out’…  it’s the time to ask for help.



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  1. [...] here: Seniors: Keeping Balance in an Unbalanced World Tags: balance, environments, factor-as-one, gait-impairment, life, medical-centers, [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by South Florida Rehab, Sharon Shaw Elrod. Sharon Shaw Elrod said: Seniors: Keeping Balance in an Unbalanced World: Having had a few weeks of physical therapy, I am discovering ex… http://bit.ly/9VBHeY [...]

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