Elderly couple walking with a stick

Why Seniors Walk with a Shuffle

Don’t ignore the shuffling walk in seniors

You might notice that those of older generations shuffle or drag their feet when they walk. So why do they shuffle? The quick answer is that they don’t realize they are doing so. The top causes for a shuffle include: loss of flexibility, decrease in the ability to maintain balance, weakening in hips and leg muscles, decrease in vision, slow reaction time, and slippery floors.

A shuffling walk can increase a senior’s fall risk extremely, since not lifting your feet off the ground can cause someone to trip more easily on rugs, door thresholds, and slightly uneven surfaces. One catch of the shoe can cause a stumble, especially with the narrower stance that usually comes with shuffling feet. A narrow stance can cause someone to become unbalanced more easily.

To help individuals with a shuffle, here are several suggestions:

  1. Buy a new pair of shoes and ensure they fit well.
  2. Schedule an appointment with their doctor. The doctor can make recommendations to improve their gait ad shuffling walk.
  3. Doctors may recommend gentle exercises to improve flexibility and strength which will improve balance. Exercises might include strengthen the hips and leg muscles and stretch tight muscles.
  4. Physical therapy is another good option to help improve the strength and stability of someone who walks with a shuffle. The physical therapist will have great tips to improve the strength of your loved one and improve their walking.
  5. Contact an Occupational Therapist stayathomesolutionskc to conduct a home safety evaluation and recommend changes to make the home safer, placement of grab bars or other adaptive equipment and even help select new shoes.

Lastly, install grab bars/assisting rails within the home to ensure a safe and strong handhold is available. Placing assisting rails in the bathroom, hallways, entryways, and other locations within the home allows for better balance and safety.

Walking with a stick