Have you noticed that many seniors shuffle their feet when they walk? Perhaps your parent has started shuffling and you realize that your requests to pick up their feet and walk aren’t working.

Don’t get frustrated, though.

Your parent likely isn’t doing this to spite you. There is probably a good reason why they have changed their walking style, and it can probably be corrected.

What are Some of the Reasons Why Seniors Shuffle?

Though many of us assume that shuffling is a normal part of aging, there are usually specific reasons why seniors start to shuffle.

Some of the most common include:

  • Weak hips and leg muscles
  • Arthritis pain
  • Loss of flexibility
  • Decreased balance
  • Decreased vision
  • Fear of falling
  • Side effects from medication
  • Slippery floors
  • Uncomfortable shoes

Understanding the Root Cause of the Shuffling

It’s important to get down to the bottom of why your parent is shuffling, because this is the only way that you can help them.

If your parent is shuffling because of arthritis pain, for example, schedule an appointment with their doctor for a proper diagnosis and possibly medication to make them more comfortable. If it’s ill-fitted shoes, on the other hand, a new pair of shoes are in order.

It’s also possible that your parent could have a more serious problem going on like dementia or Parkinson’s. These conditions can cause your parent to shuffle when they walk because of poor balance or unsteadiness.

Improving Strength and Balance

If you discover that your parent’s shuffling is related to poor strength or balance, there are simple exercises you can do with them at home. Talk to their doctor first to make sure they can safely do them.

Below are three easy exercises that most seniors can do. To learn how to do these exercises properly, check out the how-to videos.

  • Single leg stand
  • Raise arm and leg together
  • Heel to toe walk


If your parent has started shuffling, it’s important to address the issue. Identify the most common causes of shuffling and talk to your loved one’s doctor to rule out serious conditions. If you find that it’s strength and balance that is interfering with proper walking, practice the above exercises. You should see an improvement in time.