The Benefits of Physical Therapy for Elderly Patients

Many seniors seek physical therapy after an injury or illness, but it also plays a priceless preventative role. It helps improve strength, balance and mobility, as well as manage pain caused by arthritis and other conditions.

Falls and imbalances are common in the elderly and often result in serious injuries. In-home physical therapy can help reduce this risk and promote independence.

Improved Balance and Coordination

At a time when many seniors suffer from debilitating conditions that affect their mobility and ability to do basic tasks, physical therapy for elderly offers them priceless preventative care by improving strength, balance, flexibility, and posture. It also helps seniors manage pain, which can reduce dependence on prescription medications.

Falling is a common cause of injury for elderly Americans, and it can result in serious injuries such as bone fractures or head trauma. A therapist can teach balance techniques to help seniors reduce their risk of falling, and they can improve their balance, coordination, and strength through manual PT exercises such as single-leg standing, turning in a circle, and stair-stepping.

Unfortunately, many older adults have difficulty getting to their physical therapy sessions due to health issues. Caregivers can help by providing transportation assistance and ensuring that loved ones attend their appointments regularly. This can greatly increase their quality of life and ensure that they continue enjoying physical therapy’s benefits.

Reduced Pain

In addition to improving balance, coordination and strength, physical therapy effectively reduces pain in seniors. Many seniors experience pain due to chronic diseases like arthritis or diabetes. Using techniques like stretching and light exercise can help reduce pain and stiffness. Regular PT can also help seniors avoid needing prescription medication, which often has undesired side effects.

Doctors often refer seniors to physical therapists because of injuries caused by falls. A fall can result in serious injury or even death. However, a physical therapist will help seniors improve their balance, strength, and range of movement to reduce the risk.

Seniors often need help getting to and leaving their physical therapy sessions. Senior care services provide transportation to help seniors get treatment and maintain their independence. A caregiver can also keep track of their appointment schedule and ensure they receive the care they need.

Reduced Risk of Falling

The routine activity provided by physical therapy can help seniors improve their balance and build bone density, reducing the risk of falls. The exercise also allows seniors to avoid conditions that increase their fall risk, like sarcopenia and osteoporosis.

While many seniors experience pain from diseases and conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, regular physical therapy can naturally alleviate discomfort without the side effects associated with prescription medication. The physical therapist may use heat, ice, electrical stimulation, or aquatic exercises to reduce pain and promote mobility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of four older adults falls each year, and a fall is often a precursor to more serious injuries. A physical therapist can create a program that includes balance training and lessons on falling safely and getting up after a fall. They can also conduct digital home assessments to identify potential trip hazards that can make a senior more likely to fail.

Increased Independence

A decline in everything from strength to coordination is often a side-effect of aging, but it doesn’t have to be. Through a targeted physical therapy program, elderly patients can improve their balance, flexibility, and posture while increasing their strength and endurance. This helps them to perform daily tasks like walking, bathing, and dressing with less difficulty. It also reduces their dependence on walkers or cane assistance and lowers their risk of falling, which is seniors’ leading cause of injury.

Attending a physical therapy session at home is much more convenient for many older adults than traveling to an office or rehab facility. That means they don’t have to rely on friends or family members to drive them, which can lead to feelings of independence loss. In addition, they can practice their at-home exercise program in a familiar environment to help them maintain and preserve their abilities long after treatment is complete. This leads to a more positive quality of life for seniors and their loved ones.

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