Physical therapy is world-renowned for helping those with injuries and pain to get back on their feet, figuratively and literally. Physical therapy helps maintain or restore physical health, and it can be an amazing tool for helping the elderly push past their aches and mobility restrictions to live a more comfortable and happy life.
How does Physical Therapy Help the Elderly?
As we get older, we may have more aches and pains. And with those aches and pains may come a decrease in mobility. Without the proper care, these physical restrictions can stay with us for years. This is the unfortunate reality that many elderly people in assisted living communities often face. Physical therapy in assisted living facilities is a way to help them overcome their pain and reduce their mobility challenges so they can get back to living a more comfortable lifestyle.
Like all seniors, older adults who live in assisted living facilities can also benefit from physical therapy. Taking part in physical therapy can help strengthen weak muscles, increase mobility and help extend endurance, especially after a fall or fracture, or other mobility limiting incident.
Do Assisted Living Facilities offer Physical Therapy?
The answer is yes, but whether or not the facility staff provides that therapy, or an outside therapist comes in, depends upon the facility where you or your loved one lives. It is fairly common for retirement homes and most senior living homes to offer therapy services since it has a wide range of benefits. If you are unsure, inquire with the staff to find out. They’ll be happy to help.
If your loved one’s care facility doesn’t provide physical therapy there are a few things that you can do. The first is to ask if your senior community would consider providing physical therapy services to its seniors. It’s possible there’s already a plan in place to do so. Your other option is to use the assisted living’s complimentary transportation services to go to a physical therapy provider nearby.
Best Fall Prevention Physical Therapy Exercises
Physical therapy is a complex type of therapy. Fall prevention exercises are some of the very best routines for seniors to learn. The number one cause of injury in seniors is falling, so teaching some fall prevention exercises helps ensure your loved ones are safe and not as prone to injury.
3 Balance Exercises for Seniors-Fall Prevention by Physical Therapists
This is outlined in the video above. Hold a chair on either side of you and use them to balance. Remember not to push yourself too much when you are doing therapy exercises as everyone’s limits are different. As you hold the chairs, begin to slowly march in place. The idea is to stand on one foot for a few moments, then the other, alternating right and left. This exercise will help with balance and mobility and is great not just for the elderly, but anyone struggling with balance.
Stand on one Leg
Next, using that same chair and position, balance yourself and stand on one leg for 15-20 seconds at a time. Be sure to stand up straight and center your weight over the standing leg. This exercise will build up strength in your hips and legs making it easier to walk without the risk of falling over.
Place a small step stool on the floor in front of you. Make sure it does not slip. Then, using a chair to your side to balance, step up onto the stool with one foot followed by the other, then down again. Be sure to place your entire foot on to the stool as you do this. This is a great exercise to prevent falls on stairs, which is a common mishap in the elderly.
Our physical health is the most important thing we can have, especially as we age. It is vital to ensure we all, especially the elderly, continue to exercise and move as we get older. An important goal for seniors should be to maintain enough strength and balance to be able to get around without help from others. Physical therapy is a vital tool that helps the elderly maintain and improve mobility and stay safe when moving about.