Vertigo, a disorienting and often distressing sensation of dizziness becomes more common as individuals age. According to the National Dizzy & Balance Center (NDBC), approximately 25 percent of individuals aged 72 and above experience episodes of imbalance or instability. Unfortunately, these can lead to dangerous falls, affecting a senior’s quality of life.

Although these falls can occur anywhere, many often happen in the bathroom, as the space can be challenging for seniors to navigate without support. This is why Freedom Showers strongly believes in creating comfortable and safe bathrooms for seniors to prevent balance issues that arise from dizziness in seniors.

Understanding what causes dizziness in seniors, signs of vertigo, and available treatments is crucial for maintaining their well-being and quality of life. Use the following guide to learn more about vertigo, its causes, and potential treatments for dizziness in the elderly.

What Causes Vertigo in Elderly?

Vertigo is not merely a symptom but a complex condition involving a false sense of movement, typically spinning or whirling. It is often one of the primary causes of dizziness in elderly. Various factors contribute to the onset of vertigo, and understanding vertigo causes in elderly is essential for effective management.

Inner Ear Disorders: The Vestibular System

When figuring out dizziness causes in the elderly, it’s essential to consider the role of inner ear disorders. The inner ear plays a pivotal role in maintaining balance through the vestibular system. Disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), vestibular neuritis, and Meniere’s disease can disrupt this delicate balance, leading to episodes of severe dizziness.

BPPV, caused by displaced calcium crystals in the inner ear, is one of the leading causes of dizziness in elderly. Recognizing and treating inner ear disorders is essential for identifying vertigo causes in elderly and alleviating its symptoms.

Cardiovascular Issues: Blood Flow Matters

Impaired blood flow to the brain can cause dizziness in seniors. Conditions such as atherosclerosis, heart arrhythmias, and low blood pressure can contribute to insufficient blood supply, triggering vertigo. Proper diagnosis and management of cardiovascular issues are crucial in addressing dizziness causes in elderly.

Medications: A Double-Edged Sword

To understand what causes dizziness in elderly, it’s essential to recognize the influence of medication. The elderly often contend with various health conditions, leading to a higher reliance on medications.

Certain drugs, however, may induce dizziness as a side effect. To address dizziness in elderly, it’s important for healthcare providers to carefully assess the medications prescribed to the elderly and monitor for potential side effects contributing to dizziness. Frequently monitoring medication is key to preventing falls and keeping your loved one safe.

Signs of Vertigo in the Elderly

After you get answers to the question of what the most common cause of dizziness in the elderly is, it’s essential to recognize the signs of vertigo for early intervention and improved quality of life. While the symptoms may vary, common indicators of vertigo in the elderly include the following.

Spinning Sensation

One of the causes of dizziness in elderly is blood flow issues, which can sometimes lead to a spinning sensation. Individuals may feel as though they or their surroundings are spinning or moving when, in reality, they are stationary.

Unsteadiness and Loss of Balance

Elderly individuals with vertigo may struggle to maintain balance, leading to an increased risk of falls. Unfortunately, falls due to loss of balance are one of the most common injuries amongst seniors that can lead to significant injuries.

Nausea and Vomiting

The intense dizziness experienced during vertigo episodes can trigger nausea and, in severe cases, vomiting.

Sweating and Palpitations

After identifying dizziness in elderly causes, you may find it easier to spot vertigo symptoms. Vertigo episodes can induce a physiological stress response, manifesting as increased sweating and heart palpitations.

Treatments and Solutions for Vertigo in the Elderly

After you get familiar with dizziness in elderly causes, it’s time to move on to treatments. Addressing the root causes of vertigo is pivotal in devising effective treatment plans for the elderly. Here are several approaches to managing and mitigating dizziness in seniors.

Canalith Repositioning Procedures

BPPV, a common cause of vertigo, can be treated with canalith repositioning procedures. These maneuvers aim to reposition displaced calcium crystals in the inner ear, alleviating dizziness.

Medication Management

Adjusting or discontinuing medications contributing to dizziness is crucial after getting familiar with the causes of dizziness in the elderly. Healthcare providers must work closely with elderly patients to balance managing existing health conditions and minimizing side effects.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Physical therapy focusing on balance and coordination can significantly benefit elderly individuals with vertigo and help with dizziness in seniors. Vestibular rehabilitation exercises aim to strengthen the vestibular system and improve overall balance.

It’s important to be consistent with balance exercises for seniors as physical activity can play a key role in reducing dizziness and improving the quality of your loved one’s life.

Lifestyle Modifications

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can be pivotal in managing vertigo and reducing symptoms produced by dizziness causes in seniors. This includes maintaining proper hydration, regular exercise, and a well-balanced diet to support cardiovascular health. Addressing the causes for dizziness in elderly and making lifestyle modifications, such as regular exercise or other activities like dancing at home can improve stability and help seniors maintain independence.

Another helpful modification can be introducing your loved ones to different physical activities. For example, you can explore the many benefits of tai chi and encourage your loved one to add the activity to their routine.

Bathroom Renovations

After you understand what causes dizziness in seniors, you will realize that the bathroom environment is a frequently overlooked aspect contributing to vertigo in the elderly. Slippery floors, inadequate support, and poor lighting can exacerbate the risk of falls and dizziness.

Renovating the bathroom can enhance safety of your loved one and reduce the impact of symptoms associated with the causes of dizziness in seniors. You can install grab bars for better balance to reduce the likelihood of vertigo-inducing accidents.

It can also be helpful to add rolling shower chairs to the bathroom to provide a seat for seniors who may feel dizzy, reducing the fall risk.

Explore Freedom grab bars and rolling shower chairs and contact Accessibility Professionals for guidance. We can assist you in the process from discovery to delivery, ensuring you find the right products to promote independence and confidence in daily activities for your loved ones.

Surgical Interventions

After learning what triggers vertigo in elderly, you may need to consider more invasive treatment options for your loved ones. Surgical procedures may sometimes be considered for persistent vertigo caused by conditions like Meniere’s disease. These interventions are typically reserved for cases where conservative approaches prove ineffective.


Navigating the causes and treatments for vertigo in seniors requires a comprehensive understanding of its causes, recognizing signs, and implementing targeted treatments. A key component of understanding dizziness causes in seniors involves getting familiar with treatment options.

As we explore the intricacies of dizziness causes in the elderly, it becomes evident that a holistic approach involving healthcare professionals, caregivers, and individuals is vital to managing and alleviating vertigo symptoms.