For seniors recovering from surgery, an injury, or an illness, participating in a rehabilitation program is crucial for reducing pain and rebuilding functionality. This program will often include physical, occupational, and speech therapy, which will each be designed with the individual’s particular needs in mind.
According to Jean Brooks, Senior Vice President of Rehabilitation of American Senior Communities, “The goal of therapy is to alleviate pain and return to mobility. What seniors may not realize is that therapists know how to work with older adults so that exercise can be done in a safe and effective manner.” Brooks also points out that research has shown that it is possible for seniors to work on increasing strength up into their 90s.
Important for Successful Recovery
When it comes to successful recovery, physical therapy is especially important because it improves strength and mobility. The following are some reasons why physical therapy can be beneficial:
- Lowering injury risk. Learning how to maintain stability with mobility to help reduce the risk of injuries is one of the main goals of physical therapy for seniors.
- Lowering fall risk. Falls are one of the leading sources of accidents in seniors and frequently result in fractures or other injuries. Working with physical therapists can equip seniors with necessary techniques to prevent such falls.
- Maintaining a self-sufficient lifestyle. Being able to recuperate from injuries or illness quicker through the utilization of physical therapy can help seniors lead an vigorous, independent lifestyle and maintain it for a longer period of time.
Conventional Types of Physical Therapy for Seniors
There are several different types of physical therapy that are available to seniors to help them get back to their regular lifestyles as quickly as possible. These include geriatric physical therapy, orthopedic physical therapy, neurological physical therapy, and cardiopulmonary physical therapy.
Geriatric physical therapy assigns a special importance on the needs of aging adults. The conditions it emphasizes treatment for include arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, and others. These programs are designed to rehabilitate mobility and reduce overall pain.
The goal of orthopedic physical therapy is to help patients recover from orthopedic surgeries or treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system. The orthopedic physical therapist will help restore function to muscle, joints, ligaments, bones, and tendons.
The brain is the focus of neurological physical therapy, which differs from the other types of physical therapy. Diseases such as Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s disease cause brain deficiencies, and neurological physical therapists help these patients learn to adapt to these changes and gives them tools to perform activities of daily living as independently as possible for as long as possible.
Cardiopulmonary physical therapy is useful when a patient has had a heart attack or has another cardiovascular issue such as COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). This type of physical therapy can help increase both functional independence and endurance.
In order to find out what kind of physical therapy may be best for each individual situation, a thorough evaluation by a therapist is recommended in order to help them design the best program for each situation.
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