When older people recover from surgery, illness, or injury, a senior therapy and rehabilitation program can reduce pain, restore function, and improve their quality of life. Rehabilitation for senior patients may include a mixture of speech, physical, and occupation therapy designed with their abilities and needs in mind.
Therapy is integral to the individual’s return to mobility. Many seniors don’t realize that exercise can be performed safely and effectively with an experienced therapy and rehab specialist. Research studies show that it’s possible for seniors to improve their strength into the 90s decade. (1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3117172/
Why Are Therapy and Rehabilitation Services So Important?
Physical therapy is especially important in returning a senior patient’s functionality. Because it improves flexibility, mobility, and strength, it benefits seniors in a variety of ways, including:
Reduces the risk of falls. Seniors commonly use physical therapy and rehabilitation to recover from accidents, e.g. falls. A fall is the top cause of accidents in the senior population. These accidents may also result in fractured bones, torn ligaments, or sprained muscles. The physical therapist helps senior patients to avoid falls in the future.
Lowers the risk of injury. Seniors learn how to maintain stability in physical therapy. Once a senior patient is aware of the relationship between stability, gravity, and mobility, they’re at reduced risk of new or aggravated injuries.
Decreases pain suffered from chronic conditions. Seniors benefit from physical therapy because it can help to alleviate discomfort from some chronic conditions, e.g. osteoporosis and arthritis.
Lessen the need for some prescription drugs. Senior patients may use a variety of prescription medicines to manage chronic pain. A customized physical therapy program can help lower the need for medicines and may be a cost-effective treatment regimen.
Maintain independence and mobility. The faster senior patients recover from injury or illness, the better. The ability to manage ongoing pain helps seniors lead active and independent lives for longer periods.
Common Physical Therapy Types for Seniors
Our physical therapists are trained in many different types of therapy regimens. These therapies help older people to return to normal life as soon as possible. Primary physical therapy types include:
Geriatric physical therapy: places emphasis on the common needs of older adults. It helps to ease the pain of chronic conditions, e.g. cancer, arthritis, joint pain, osteoporosis, or balance disorders.
Custom geriatric physical therapy regimens help patients to restore mobility, increase fitness, and lessen pain.
Orthopedic physical therapy: helps seniors with musculoskeletal injuries. It aids in the recovery from orthopedic surgical procedures. The goal of this therapy type is to restore functionality to the patient’s bones, muscles, ligaments, joints, and tendons.
Cardiopulmonary physical therapy: aids patients who are recovering from a heart attack or other pulmonary-cardiovascular ailments, e.g. pulmonary fibrosis or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Cardiopulmonary PT can also help to increase the patient’s functional independence and endurance.
Neurological physical therapy: works the body and brain. It’s different from other forms of physical therapy for seniors. When an individual has a neurological condition, e.g. brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or ALS, our neurological physical therapy team helps the patient to adapt to losses in balance, muscle strength, vision, and mobility. Neurological physical therapy can help the senior to better return to daily living.
Senior Physical Therapy and the Body-Mind Relationship
What the mind believes, the body achieves. Physical therapists particularly focus on the older individual’s body-mind relationship. This focus helps seniors to adapt to injuries or impairments. It can help the senior patient to better move around within their environment. Seniors with MS or brain injuries, i.e. strokes and other types of neurological disorders, can benefit from using the body-mind relationship.
Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy is beneficial to patients in many ways. For instance, women can benefit from physical therapy after mastectomy. Physical movement helps to reduce swelling and improve the range of motion.(2) https://www.cancer.org/cancer/breast-cancer/treatment/surgery-for-breast-cancer/exercises-after-breast-cancer-surgery.html
The Importance of Physical Therapy and Movement to Seniors
Older people benefit from guided movement. After an injury or medical procedure, physical therapy helps our patients in many physical and emotional ways. Physical therapy can even help to improve the lives of patients with heart failure.(3) https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/rehab-program-helps-frail-older-adults-heart-failure
Call A. G. Rhodes at 1-877-918-6413 to learn more about how physical therapy and rehabilitation can benefit you or your loved one. A. G. Rhodes was recently recognized as the best nursing home in Georgia by Newsweek (2022).