For seniors who want to retain their independence, managing a long-term illness, or simply want to improve their mobility and overall health, physical therapy can be incredibly beneficial toward achieving these goals. In addition to improving mobility and functionality, physical therapy can reduce pain and promote better strength and balance. Many seniors require physical therapy due to injuries sustained in an accident, such as falls, which are most common among the elderly due to a loss of flexibility, strength, and balance. Physical therapy improves these functions, which not only helps facilitate recovery from such incidents, but can prevent them from reoccurring in the future.
The Benefits of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy can benefit a wide range of conditions seniors commonly face, such as osteoporosis, arthritis, incontinence, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and many more. Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disease, which causes a decrease in bone mass and density, resulting in an increased risk of bone fractures. While physical therapy will not cure this condition, it can at least help control the effects of it. The strength training involved in physical therapy can also alleviate the symptoms of arthritis, preserving the strength and use of a person’s joints.
In many cases, physical therapy is prescribed during hospital stays. Failing to heed this recommendation can lead to serious consequences and further aggravate any health complications or conditions.
Consequences of Skipping Physical Therapy
- Falls: After hospitalization, many individuals are often weak, which makes them susceptible to falling. If an elderly patient fails to follow through with physical therapy in the aftermath of hospitalization, he or she is at a greater risk for re-hospitalization due to injuries caused by a fall as a result of this potentially weakened state.
- Infections: Physical therapy can improve weakness. Without this active movement, however, there is an increased risk for pneumonia, as well as skin problems, such as ulcers, which can develop due to a patient’s lack of movement.
- Decrease in Long Term Strength and Endurance: Throughout the recovery process, physical therapy can improve your strength and endurance level, which will last long after you complete your sessions. Skipping it, however, might lead to higher blood pressure levels, an increased heart rate, and decreased oxygen saturation levels, all of which can contribute to a stroke, blood clots, or heart attacks/.
- Reduced Education: Physical therapy is not just about movements and exercise. The experience also provides education, showing ways to complete day-to-day activities in a more efficient way, which can help improve mental and physical health, and provide a higher quality of life. Being able to adapt to new strategies can help seniors cope with any decreased abilities he or she might be experiencing during recovery.
- Increased Pain: If you are inactive because you chose not to take physical therapy, you might also be experiencing stiff joints, which might further discourage you from wanting to partake in physical therapy or generally being active. This decreased mobility will only lead to more pain and possibly more health concerns as time passes.
Therapy Builds Confidence
When seniors can move with greater ease, this instills a sense of confidence. When seniors are inactive and suffering from a deterioration in mobility, this can nurture a growing fear of attempting things that were once easy to accomplish. Seniors are often afraid of falling while performing daily activities such as walking to the mailbox, or cooking because they are incapable of bending to reach the pots. This loss of confidence might eventually prevent them from going out entirely, leading to isolation and depression.
It is important for all individuals, especially seniors to socialize, maintaining a sense of confidence is crucial to promoting other healthy behaviors that contribute to one’s overall well-being and mental state.
Ultimately, seniors can benefit in a wide range of ways from physical therapy, both directly and indirectly, through regained strength and renewed confidence, eventually allowing them to reclaim their independence as their condition improves. Occasionally, some seniors slip back after treatment ends, losing some functionality. To address this, it can also be helpful for seniors to return for shorter therapy programs to get them back in shape.
Rehab Center in Westchester County
Our physical therapy treatments focus on stimulating joint activity, pain reduction, function and strength restoration, and future disability prevention. Throughout our years of service, we have learned that physical therapy sessions must always include a healthy mindset in addition to healthy activities. As such, our facilities are designed to exemplify the splendor and beauty of the natural world, so our residents can enjoy their sessions in a peaceful, tranquil setting that encourages rejuvenation.
If you would like to take a tour of our facility, call us today at (914) 600-7149. We look forward to helping you on your path toward recuperation.