Physical ability and mobility decrease with age. With that, there is risk of injury. Seniors especially have to be more vigilant in an effort to avoid injury. But things can happen even with the most conscientious efforts.
Here is where physical therapists can be a huge help. In this article, we will highlight 7 benefits of physical therapists for seniors.
1. Prevent Falls
Falling not only is one of the most common perils of seniors; it can also be one of the most dangerous. Weakened joints or muscles could lead to a painful fall. In some cases, falls have led to severe – and often fatal – blows to the head.
But getting professional help can play a major role in preventing falls. Through therapy, they can help improve the condition of a patient’s muscles and joints. This can be especially important after a long stay in the hospital, where one’s balance and strength often diminishes.
2. Physical Improvement
For many patients, particularly older ones, physical therapy can vastly improve their balance, flexibility and strength, all of which will help them avoid falls due to weakened muscles or joints.
For some, therapy often remains a long-term part of their overall health care strategy. However, even a short-term strategy can go a long way for seniors who may face falling risks.
3. Cancer Treatment Management
Cancer treatment is widely known for its side effects. For example, radiation treatment can lead to extreme weakness, extreme weight loss, frequent nausea, just to name a few.
Physical therapists can introduce massage therapies, exercising or increasing blood flow through compression therapy applied to the ankles and legs.
The bottom line is that therapy can make cancer treatment management more bearable.
4. Improved Cognitive Function
Physical therapy has proven to be helpful to patients who suffer from dementia. The increase in exercise, according to many studies, has helped reduce the risk of getting it. So many believe that physical therapy is vital to prevention.
There are many seniors that are beyond the point of prevention. However, they too can benefit from physical therapy, as it helps them be more aware of their environment – and the dangers lurking about – in order to help prevent injuries from fall and other perils.
5. Quality of Life
One thing that frustrates seniors the most is that they cannot do as much as they used to. To move about freely is a freedom, and any reduction in that freedom is essentially a decrease in their quality of life.
However, physical therapy can help improve that mobility, and as they improve physically, they will gain a great deal of happiness. An improved outlook can lead to more improvement as well.
6. Prevent Infection
With a senior’s increased susceptibility to infection, physical therapy can be a powerful weapon. A therapist may help the patient with movement that prevents sores and helps along the healing of those that exist.
According to medical experts, pneumonia can set in if a patient is not doing some sort of movement. This too can be prevented with the help of a good physical therapist.
7. Decrease in Pain
One particularly condition that many seniors suffer is osteoarthritis. It can be extremely painful. But since many seniors are already taking several medications daily, it is a challenge for physicians to prescribe a painkiller to them. There could be adverse reactions.
Surgery is very often not an option either. But movement guided by a therapist can help loosen joints and strengthen muscles, leading to less pain.
If you are a senior and can relate to any of this, or if you have a loved one in this situation, there is help and hope. Consider including a physical therapist in your health care strategy. The benefits are real.