Diseases Diseases

About Ataxy in Elderly People

Introduction

Ataxy is a version or another word for Ataxia, which has to do with the gait and how one walks. Mostly it involves the elderly and how one walks. Most of the time it is because the elderly cannot see as well as they once could, but there could also be an underlining medical condition that also is causing the issue. If it has started just recently, a trip to the doctor might be in order.

History

With older people, their eyesight starts to go bad and this can cause them to lose perception of how far things are away from them, including the ground and the floor. This could be causing the ataxy in the elderly. If this is not the case, them a trip to the doctor is warranted. It could be caused from having a mild stroke or from having another disease like Parkinson’s. These can cause you to have an unsteady balance and fall. If the doctor has ruled out a disease, then it is time to think about what could be causing the issue. It could have to do with the balance in the ears and the equilibrium. Sometimes if this is off, it can also throw off your balance and make it very difficult for you to be steady on your feet. If there is no medical issue going on, then it is more than likely something that you will have to learn to live with.

Features

There are things that can be done to help you be steadier on your feet. Your doctor might suggest getting a cane or a walker to help you with your balance. Some elderly people have a problem using a device that can help them be steadier on their feet because they feel that it takes away part of their independence and this is a big issue with the elderly. This is not the case and if the person is your mom or dad, explain to them that it can help them with their ataxy, and keep them out of the hospital with a broken hip. Another reason why an older person could be experiencing this issue with ataxy is they no longer have the strength in their legs to make them move like the brain wants them too.

Tips and comments

Reassuring an elderly parent or relative that they are going to be okay, but that the ataxy might not go away can be an issue all in itself. You need to gently remind them to use the walking device that was provided for them so they do not get injured and end up in the hospital. It can be hard for older people to get up there in age, and sometimes they need all of the support that we can give them. Make sure that if you parent has an issue with ataxy that you check on them often. It can be very bad for them if they fall and some can end up dying or having to go to a nursing home after breaking a hip.

By Sally Vigil, published at 04/03/2012
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