Frequent dizzy spells are usually a warning sign that something is not quite right with an elderly adult.
If family caregivers frequently hear complaints from their aging loved ones about how the room is spinning or the aging adult feels faint, hot or lightheaded, it’s time to see a doctor. Dizzy spells are not unusual once in a while, but they are cause for concern if they are increasing in frequency and duration. If an elderly loved one is having dizzy spells, it’s better to be safe and get a checkup.
Use Caution with Seniors and Dizzy Spells
Everyone has a dizzy spell once in a while, such as from being hot or tired, or standing up too fast. However, dizzy spells can signal something is serious with their health. In elderly adults, dizzy spells are even more hazardous because they can lead to falling and fainting, which may result in serious injury. If family caregivers are noticing that their aging loved one is not so steady on their feet, or if others like senior care providers are reporting frequent dizzy spells in the senior, they should watch their loved one carefully.
Causes of Dizzy Spells in Aging Adults
Many illnesses and diseases feature dizziness as a symptom, so it can be hard to tell from that alone. Some causes of dizzy spells are easy to fix, such as mild dehydration or during a cold or flu. Other causes include too much caffeine, low blood sugar, low blood pressure, too much alcohol or as a side effect of certain medications. There are more serious causes of dizziness that include panic attacks, vertigo, ear infections, heat stroke or anemia. In rare cases, dizziness can indicate a stroke or heart attack. The bottom line is that frequent dizzy spells in seniors should be referred to a doctor.
Caring for Seniors During a Dizzy Spell
When an elderly person has a dizzy spell, regardless of the cause, it’s important that family caregivers and senior care providers make sure they are safe and comfortable. If they are standing or walking, senior care providers should find a seat, preferably in the shade if outdoors. Elder care providers should help them take deep breaths and sip some water. The aging adult should remain seated for at least 10 minutes to ensure the dizzy spell has passed. Of course, the senior care provider should assist the aging adult when standing up and walking again in case of a recurrence.
Anyone who spends time caring for an elderly adult will most likely encounter a dizzy spell and have to assist the senior. Dizzy spells always indicate that something isn’t quite right, and it’s just a matter of figuring out whether it is caused by something small or something serious. No matter what, family caregivers need to take dizzy spells seriously to ensure their elderly loved one stays safe and comfortable.