Physical therapy encompasses so much more than many people realize, and the benefits of physical therapy for seniors are incredible. If you’ve never explored PT for someone you love, now may be the time to learn more!
A physical therapist is a trained professional who evaluates, diagnoses, and treats physical functions related to injuries, disabilities or other health conditions. Physical therapists are licensed and trained experts that may work at nursing homes, hospitals, outpatient offices, home health agencies, sports settings, schools, hospices, government agencies, private practices, rehabilitation centers, and research centers.
Physical therapy helps seniors improve their general health and mobility and can help increase mobility for better strength and balance as well as improve functionality. Physical therapists teach seniors techniques to prevent falls and to help increase balance, mobility, and strength.
Physical therapy exercises can include:
- Bed exercises
- Hip replacement exercises
- Chair exercises
- Upper body exercises
- Endurance exercises
- Balance exercises
- Core strengthening exercises
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy benefits seniors in a wide variety of ways. For instance, PT can:
1. Reduce and eliminate pain: Therapeutic exercises, techniques, and treatments such as soft tissue and joint mobilization, taping, ultrasound, and electrical stimulation can help relieve pain as well as restore muscle and joint function.
2. Prevent injury: Physical therapists provide prevention exercise programs that are customized to each individual.
3. Improve mobility: Strengthening and stretching exercises can help restore a senior’s ability to move. Sometimes canes, crutches, braces, orthotics or other devices may be needed.
4. Avoid surgery: When issues such as pain are eliminated, surgery might not be required. If surgery is needed, an individual will go into surgery stronger, which means faster recovery.
5. Manage heart and lung disease: Through breathing exercises, strengthening, and conditioning, physical therapy can improve an individual’s quality of life.
6. Recover from a stroke: Physical therapy helps strengthen weakened areas of the body as well as recover gait and equilibrium.
7. Prevent falls/improve balance: Seniors often experience reduced flexibility, strength and balance, leading to injuries if these functions are lost. Exercises are provided to challenge balance in a safe manner and improve coordination, while assistive devices help with mobility. If a balance problem is caused by a problem in a senior’s vestibular system, physical therapists can perform maneuvers that can restore correct vestibular functioning rapidly and also decrease symptoms of dizziness or vertigo.
8. Manage diabetes and vascular conditions: Exercise and diet play a huge role in helping control blood sugar. People with diabetes may have trouble with painful sensations in their feet and legs. Physical therapists can provide and educate a senior on proper foot care to prevent problems in the future.
As individuals age, they may be more prone to developing arthritis and osteoporosis, which increases the chance for needing a joint replacement. Physical therapists help patients recover from joint replacements and manage arthritic and osteoprotic conditions. Strength training and exercises can also help control the effects of the condition and alleviate the symptoms.
Seniors who suffer a stroke, knee replacement, hip fracture or even a hip replacement oftentimes battle with reduced physical activity. Physical therapy can help those in need return back to their normal quality of life. Stretching and strengthening exercises can also help restore a senior’s ability to move. Physical therapy is an excellent option for seniors who are battling certain injuries, disabilities or other health conditions. It encourages an individual to make healthy lifestyle changes that help prevent future injuries. Being patient is the key to seeing improvement and lasting results.
For more helpful tips to improve life for a senior you love, contact AnswerCare In-Home Care, the top provider of senior care in Cleveland and the surrounding areas. We would also be happy to provide you with a free in-home consultation to discover more about our home care services. Call us any time at 855.213.1511 to learn more!