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Understanding Paralysis in the Elderly

Understanding Paralysis in the Elderly

Paralysis involves the inability to move your body or some of its parts voluntarily, caused by a disruption in the nerve signals to the muscles. The life of an older adult, as well as the lives of their family members, can be significantly affected by paralysis.

Paralysis can be:

temporary or permanent
partial or complete
localized or generalized

Paralysis can also be flaccid and spastic. While flaccid paralysis causes muscles to shrink and become weak, spastic paralysis causes muscles to stiffen, leading to uncontrollable cramps and spasms. Spastic paralysis is most common in people with cerebral palsy.

The most common causes of paralysis involve:

A stroke or transient ischaemic attack (also known as a “mini-stroke”).
Bell’s palsy
A severe head or spinal cord injury
Multiple sclerosis
Sleep paralysis

Understanding paralysis in the elderly can help the affected person, their caregivers, and family members manage the condition and improve the person’s quality of life.