Why Do Some Older Adults Experience Leg Weakness?

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What Makes Aging Adults Develop Weakness in Their Legs in Oakville, ON

Muscle mass begins decreasing around the age of 30 and continues as individuals grow older. However, there are other reasons older adults may experience leg weakness. Many of the underlying causes can easily be remedied.

Physical Inactivity

Due to cardiovascular issues or other medical conditions, some seniors may not be very physically active. If muscles aren’t regularly used, they start to atrophy, so when inactive seniors attempt to stand or walk, they may experience difficulty because their legs aren’t used to supporting their body’s weight. Older adults need to get up and walk around their homes at least once every couple of hours. Once they gain lower body strength, family members might take them outdoors for short walks to further increase leg strength. Over time, seniors should increase the length and durations of the walks. Seniors who use wheelchairs might consider performing simple exercises to encourage blood flow and build muscle mass. 

Some conditions could make it challenging for aging adults to exercise on their own, but help is available. 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.

Sciatica

The large sciatic nerves travel from the lower back, along each hip, and down each leg.
Occasionally, one of the sciatic nerves may become pinched, which causes inflammation, tenderness, and swelling. The result entails varying degrees of pain and muscle weakness. A physician may recommend taking anti-inflammatory medications and resting. Once the inflammation subsides, the senior may be advised to perform stretching exercises to alleviate the nerve pressure.

If your loved one needs help with everyday tasks while recovering from a condition such as sciatica, a home caregiver can be the ideal solution. Oakville homecare service experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Spinal Degeneration

The aging process may cause changes in the spinal column that affect the cushioning discs between the vertebrae. A slipped disc is a common complaint that involves a dislodged or ruptured disc. When the disc shifts or loses its gelatinous contents, the surrounding vertebrae cause pressure on spinal nerves, which may lead to leg pain and weakness. Other spinal problems seniors may experience include a narrowing of the spinal canal or a compression fracture. These degenerative conditions also cause pain and may include leg weakness. Depending on the specific diagnosis, a healthcare provider may recommend rest followed by physical therapy. In some instances, corrective surgery remedies the problem.

Stroke

The bleeding, swelling, and inflammation that occur due to a stroke often leave one side of the body physically impaired. Depending on the location and severity of the vascular accident, a stroke survivor may lose sensation and have difficulty controlling movement in a leg. A lack of use causes muscle mass loss and general weakness. Once stabilized, senior stroke survivors often begin rehabilitation to regain as much movement and control as possible. Family members need to offer support and encourage their older loved ones to perform the exercises at home that were recommended by their physical therapists.

Parkinson’s Disease

Symptoms that emerge in the early stages of Parkinson’s disease often involve balance problems and leg weakness, which affect the ability to walk. Once diagnosed, older adults often take prescription medications to replace lost dopamine. They’re also advised to exercise to prevent muscle loss. 

Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Oakville, ON, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (519) 590-2792 to learn more about our customized care plans.

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