Physical therapy: it’s not just for athletes with pulled hamstrings! Older adults struggling with a variety of conditions can reap tremendous benefits from acquiring physical therapy services. Physical therapists are experts in physiology and anatomy related to normal functioning, and assess each senior’s individual complications to prepare a comprehensive plan to address and overcome these challenges.
Visiting Care Giving Services, providers of elderly care in Chesterfield and the surrounding communities, shares three common diagnoses that can be improved through professional physical therapy for older adults:
First determining the extent of damage incurred by the stroke, the physical therapist will gauge the older adult’s endurance, gait, range of motion, strength, and any sensory problems, and then implement compensatory strategies to improve motor function, to regain the use of muscles and limbs, and to encourage an ongoing regimen of exercises to maximize overall strength and ability. This may involve repetition of isolated movements, balance and coordination activities, stimulation of impaired limbs and even restraint of healthy limbs to strengthen those impacted by the stroke. Water therapy is often also recommended for the support provided by the water and the sensory stimulation it affords.
The physical therapist’s goal in working with a senior with arthritis is to improve mobility, restore the use of impacted joints, improve strength, and maintain overall fitness as well as the person’s ability to perform activities of daily living. As with stroke survivors, those with arthritis will receive a personalized assessment and plan of care, and instruction on how to perform recommended exercises independently between sessions. The physical therapist will train the senior on proper body mechanics and posture, proper use of assistive devices, modifications to the home environment, and more, in order to improve function and maintain relief from pain.
For someone with osteoporosis, there are several key ways a physical therapist can help: proactively before an injury or fracture occurs, rehabilitation after an injury or fracture occurs, and emotionally, to help alleviate the fear of injury or fracture that often occurs. Preventative physical therapy for older adults is ideal, as seniors gain the necessary skills to properly lift, move, exercise, and prevent falls. And physical therapy after a fracture is crucial to maximizing recovery. According to Kathy Shipp, PT, MHS, PhD, Senior Fellow at the Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development at Duke University Medical Center, “For both wrist and hip fractures, there is a lot of evidence that people don’t return to full function unless they go to PT after the subacute phase (about six weeks after injury).”
Visiting Care Giving Services can help as well! With transportation services to physical therapy appointments, help with housework and meal preparation, running errands, offering motivation to follow through with a recommended exercise plan, and much more, our in-home care services help seniors thrive. Contact Visiting Care Giving Services or call (636) 493-9058 to learn more about our elderly care in Chesterfield and the surrounding communities we serve.