October 1 marks International Day of Older Persons. In the United States, approximately 28% of senior adults live independently and almost 90% wish to continue living independently. To ensure senior adults are safe at home, physicians recommend staying physically and mentally fit, which can be challenging for many reasons, such as aging and health conditions. Peripheral neuropathy affects many older individuals and is a condition that involves damage to nerves due to causes such as diabetes and chemotherapy. Additionally nerve damage can cause balance issues along with exaggerated sensitivity to pain and stimulus. Here are some ways to increase seniors’ safety at home.
Neuropathy symptoms include burning and tingling sensations. Moreover, patients complain about numbness in toes and limbs. Some patients have also reported a feeling analogous to that of wearing a glove or sock. This leads to muscle weakness and contributes to falls in seniors. Patients also lose grip over surfaces. Research shows about 30% of patients above the age of 65 are prone to falls once a year. Ambulatory devices such as mechanical crutches and handrails around the house can help increase grip, reducing avoidable accidents.
Besides falls, lifestyle changes—such as staying fit and focusing on diet—can help seniors live independently and relieve stress. It is recommended that diabetics control their blood glucose levels through a balanced diet. Maintaining a healthy blood glucose range may prevent further nerve damage which may lead to less pain.
Besides helping seniors physically, we also need to help them cope mentally. Talking to a therapist or joining a support group may help older individuals deal with symptoms, isolation and pain. Meditation and breathing techniques may help individuals focus on the present. The last year has been particularly difficult for people living alone. The pandemic restricted people to their homes which increased mental health issues. Online peer and support groups can help people with similar experiences come together and create a safe space to share their experiences.
Living alone can pose difficulties. However, small changes can help seniors cope with their conditions while maintaining their independent lifestyle.
WinSanTor is a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of treatments for peripheral neuropathies. We believe in creating a solution that works and brings relief to millions that are struggling with this disease. Learn more about our company, our drug and subscribe to our newsletter.
- “International Day of Older Persons.” UN.org
- “Older Adults Living Alone.” Merck Manual
- “Peripheral neuropathy in older people | Causes & Management.” Geriatric Medicine Journal
- “Diabetic Neuropathy in Older Adults.” NCBI
- “How are older adults coping with the mental health effects of COVID-19?” ScienceDaily