As your loved one gets older, their flexibility, strength, and balance may begin to decline. This, potentially coupled with osteoporosis, attributes for most of the risk of falls in the elderly population. Osteoporosis is a bone disease that negatively affects bone density and mass, and unfortunately, is a progressive disease. An ailment that is also commonly seen in the elderly is arthritis. So, how can we counter these ailments in a way that is low-impact, non-invasive, and doesn’t require including more drugs into their bodies? A great alternative is senior physical therapy. Senior physical therapy has shown to be not only effective for the physical aspects of aging, but also helps the psychological decline as well. So, how can senior physical therapy help your loved one to feel strong and empowered throughout the later years of their life? Let’s dig into the different types of Senior Physical Therapy to find out.

Types of Senior Physical Therapy:

When engaging in physical therapy of any kind, it is important that the type of therapy take into account any and all previous injuries that the patient may have had. The goal of physical therapy should be to enhance mobility, ease pain, and give the patient back some independence versus causing more harm. Therefore, physical therapy for seniors is commonly divided into four specific sub-types:

  1. Orthopedic
  2. Geriatric
  3. Neurological
  4. Cardiopulmonary 

Orthopedic Physical Therapy:

Orthopedic Physical Therapy is a specific treatment plan that focuses on the improvement of the orthopedic system. Your orthopedic system is made up of muscles, bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons. By using orthopedic physical therapy, seniors can recover quicker from recent surgeries involving their bones or joints. With physical therapists specialized in orthopedic therapy, the musculoskeletal system of the patients can improve by gaining mobility, gaining strength, and increasing their range of motion in their joints. By doing so, their risk of future falls exponentially decreases, and their reliability on pain-relieving drugs may decrease as well.

Geriatric Physical Therapy:

Geriatric Physical Therapy covers a wide area of concerns for normal adult aging. Elderly with conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, Alzehimer’s, joint or hip replacements etc can greatly benefit from geriatric physical therapy. With geriatric physical therapy, the specific needs of aging adults are addressed. Conditions that often plague the elderly, such as arthritis and joint replacement can often have long roads of recovery, but with this type of physical therapy, your loved one can recover quicker and restore function to their joints, bones, muscles, and ligaments. Geriatric physical therapy can help bring back their ability to move around on their own, and their independence.

Neurological Physical Therapy:

One of the more obvious signs of aging adults is their loss of memory. On top of that, there are several diseases prevalent in older adults, such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and several others. Neurological physical therapists are able to help the brain communicate more efficiently with the rest of the aging body. This can include working on their balance, vision field, and muscle loss. It is a slightly different process than usual physical therapy, but working on the neurological aspects of the patient can bring immediate joy and ability to complete daily activities and tasks without stress.

Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy:

As you age, the risk of cardiopulmonary diseases increases exponentially. When your loved one receives cardiopulmonary therapy, they are able to increase their physical endurance and independence to move around as needed. Especially if an elderly person suffered a heart attack, physical therapy can help them recover quicker and reduce their risk of future cardiovascular events.

Overall Benefits:

Senior physical therapy can provide many benefits for the patients. This therapy can provide the peace of mind for families knowing that their loved ones are being assisted to become more mobile, more independent, and happier with a better overall quality of life. The benefits of senior physical therapy can include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. It can reduce the risk of a fall or other physical injury.

Recovering from a fall is usually the reason a senior begins physical therapy. In doing these programs, they can begin to build strength back into their joints and muscles, which will allow them to become more physically stable. Thus, reducing the risk of future falls or injuries.

2. It can decrease a patient’s need for prescription medication.

Chronic pain can plague seniors in their later years. Senior physical therapy can help patients reduce their needs for the medications that ease these pains and replace them with exercises and movements that can naturally correct their pain-causing ailments.

3. It can help seniors gain their independence back.

Senior physical therapy allows for quicker healing times. The patients that use physical therapy will be able to gain back strength and mobility in their joints that give them the ability to move around on their own. A lack of independence can psychologically hold back a patient’s recovery, so bringing back that independence can bring that patient to a better place mentally that allows for quicker physical healing.

If your loved one is in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or other living situation in which they may require physical therapy, it can seem like a daunting task. However, senior physical therapy can do more than just build physical strength; it can also build a sense of strength within the patient that tells them that they can do things that they used to not do or were doing with pain. If your loved one could use that peace of mind, consider what senior physical therapy can do for them. Camelot Senior Living offers excellent short term rehabilitation programs and physical therapy teams to help your loved one regain that confidence and independence. For more information, please contact us at 318-445-6470 or email us at info@cci.la.