Difficulty in walking is definitely one of the biggest threats to mobility. An estimated 20% of those living in older adult communities report difficulty in walking and this can lead to falls and other mobility issues. Fifty percent of the populatioin 85 years and older report difficulty with walking
Common Risk Factors of Difficulty in Walking
Difficulty in walking is not an unavoidable problem among older adults. It is a reflection of a person’s overall condition as one’s age advances. Some of these problems involve minor health conditions such as a fear of falling, pain, stiffness, numbness, dizziness, low blood pressure when standing, balance problems, poor circulation in the legs, or abnormal movement.
However, problems in walking may be a symptom of a bigger health problem, such as cardiovascular or heart problems, arthritis or other joint diseases, bone or muscle diseases, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, or vision problems.
There are also factors that contribute to slow walking rate, such as poor fitness or an overall poor heart condition.
Assessment of Walking Problems
There’s every reason to address the issues with walking difficulty rather than to simply live with it.
The first step is to visit a physical therapist. Usually the physical therapist will go over your medical history to understand the health factors that may be contributing to your difficulty in walking. This will also require you to answer certain questions related to past medical problems, particularly thyroid problems, heart diseases, acute illnesses, or other conditions that might impair your stability, posture, or coordination.
The physical therapist will then put together a program that will that restore you body position, balance, tone, and coordination. Naturally, this will also require you to take measures that will ensure that your house is safe and fully functional for older adults.