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Dizziness
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Louise_WebMD_Staff posted:
My mother has ongoing issues with dizziness and unsteadiness. We have talked it over with her doctor. Part of the solution is working on reducing her medications. That has helped in some cases. I am not sure if it is related to her blood sugar control or blood pressure changes or what.

This makes it hard to get her to walk which we want her to do more of in general. Then there are the falls. I am starting to be very concerned about her falling and fear of falling. Would assisted living be safer? Is there something else to consider for dizziness/falling?
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cjh1203 responded:
Is it possible that she has an inner ear problem? I have read and heard wonderful things about the success of this maneuver: www.merck.com/pubs/mmanual_ha/figures/fg20_1.html. It's extremely quick and simple, but it does need to be done by a doctor.

If it's not that, and you can't find out what it is, would she consider using a walker on wheels to give her stability? I'm sure it's not something she would be thrilled about, but it would enable her to get around, and even go for walks, without fear of falling.
 
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
She fears falling even with the walker-both the traditional sort and the type with wheels and a seat.
 
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cjh1203 responded:
That makes it pretty tough.

Do you think there is a possibility that it is an inner-ear problem? Does she have any more tests scheduled? I wonder if a pharmacist could be of some help if it's medication-related?

Or maybe physical therapy to help her feel steadier and stronger?

Sorry, I don't have any brilliant ideas. I hope her doctor will take this seriously enough to try to get to the bottom of it.
 
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
I think the doctor is not particularly concerned with the dizziness since my mom has so many other health conditions. The doctor also feels PT isn't in order-that I should just get Mama up and moving more. It is hard though.

She fell on Saturday with both my partner and I helping her out the door.

I wonder about the inner ear but I am more inclined to say it is the meds.
 
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cjh1203 responded:
The doctor should be concerned about her dizziness, no matter how many other problems she has. If taking care of the dizziness would make her confident enough to walk and get a little exercise, it could really improve her quality of life, which could help some of the other conditions.

It may not seem like that big a deal to the doctor, but it obviously has a huge negative effect on your mother.

I have nothing but respect for most doctors, but I don't think they take old people seriously enough -- they just sort of pat them on the head and send them on their way. Dizziness seems minor until you're the one who has it.

Wish I had a good idea. I hope someone can figure out whats going on so she can stop being afraid.
 
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cjh1203 responded:
In your original post, you had asked if assisted living would be safer. I don't think so. I had a friend whose father was in assisted living -- mostly because his wife was in the Alzheimer's unit of the same facility. His health hadn't been too bad, but he started falling and it became a regular occurrence, even after he started using a walker. I lost track of the number of times he fell. One time, he broke his arm, and when he died several years later, the bone still hadn't healed. This was in a facility that was supposed to be the best in the city. Unless she were to have someone helping her every minute of every day, she could still fall. As you found out, even with help, she can still fall.

It seems like the best option is to find out what's causing the dizziness and get rid of it. Her quality and length of life could be greatly affected. Have you ever had any bouts of dizziness? I've had just brief ones, and it's completely miserable. I can't imagine having to live with it all the time.
 
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
That was what I was sort of thinking as far as assisted living. The reason I think in some ways it would be safer is because our floors are uneven and our house is definitely not set up ideally for someone with movement issues.
 
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cjh1203 responded:
I hate to keep harping on this, but I'm going to anyway! It would be a huge shame if she ended up having to move into an assisted living facility just because the doctor didn't think her dizziness was a big deal. It may be something that is easily resolved -- or maybe not -- but he should be doing everything possible to get to the bottom of it. I hope you can convince him of that. This is affecting her whole life, and she deserves better than having the dizziness dismissed as trivial just because she has other things wrong with her. He shouldn't have the right to decide that a symptom isn't important enough to pursue.

If she can't get the dizziness and walking problem solved, she's going to end up in a wheelchair. Since you're in heath care, you probably know that it can be downhill from there. I really hope you can find some help with her for this.
 
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Louise_WebMD_Staff responded:
She already uses a wheelchair when she needs to walk long distances but her definition of long distances shrinks by the day.

She has an appointment next Monday, where we will address it again. I don't think the doctor believes it trivial, just difficult to fix.

I hope we can too and I thank you very much for your concern.


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