If your mom is shuffling her feet when she walks, or your dad appears to be tripping over his own feet, he or she may be struggling with mobility. Those of you who find yourselves asking mom to pick up her feet when she walks or telling dad to watch where he’s walking, may actually be causing more problems for your parent than you are solving. It is possible mom may not be capable of stopping the foot shuffle, and dad may be watching where he’s walking, but his brain and his legs are just not in sync.
Shuffling is a common cause of falls that may lead to bone fractures and joint replacements. Your mother or father must be extra careful on slippery floors, or floors with area rugs and uneven thresholds. It is not uncommon for seniors to trip and stumble as their shoe sticks to something on the ground and causes them to lose their balance. Seniors should have their shoes properly fitted and exercise can improve mobility and stave off nasty falls.
Three Exercises to Improve Balance:
- Single Leg Stand – Keep one hand balanced on a sturdy chair, stand on one leg, and bend the knee of the other leg for a count of ten and do the same with the other leg – repeat five times.
- Opposite Arm & Leg Balance – Again, keep a sturdy chair near you and with one hand balanced on the chair, stand on one leg and raise the opposite arm for a count of ten. Do the same with the other leg and arm – repeat five times.
- Heel to Toe Walk – This exercise looks somewhat like a sobriety test as seniors walk a straight line heel to toe, heel to toe.
Lack of exercise or obesity may contribute to poor posture and cause your parent to shuffle. Your mother or father may want to work with their senior care service provider to locate a senior center that offers yoga or aquatic therapy that may improve balance, reduce weight, and provide exercise to improve the manner in which they walk.
Seniors should always consult with a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen. He or she may have specific instructions or may advise your loved one to visit a physical therapist in addition to home exercise routines.
Caregivers can be great companions on walks and to provide support for balance exercises. In fact, there are many benefits of senior care services.