The Importance of Geriatric Physical Therapy
As humans grow older, they’re susceptible to different aging-related conditions. Think: arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s, cancer, joint replacements (i.e, hip replacements), strokes, decreased balance, even incontinence. Aging requires specialized care, as seen with the existence of specialized doctors, care centers, retirements, and more.
Why should physical therapy be any different?
That’s what geriatric physical therapy is meant to cover: aging. It’s specifically targeted to assist with mobility restoration, increased fitness and exercise levels, pain reduction, and other additional benefits in the elderly and aging.
Why Geriatric Physical Therapy is Imperative As You Age
Even if you aren’t getting up there in age, you probably know what it’s like to feel pain. Say, you trip and fall. For older folks, they might suffer more from that fall than someone younger. They might find difficulty getting back up, especially if they’re alone. They may suffer more physically from the fall, twisting an ankle, dislocating a shoulder, spraining a wrist, you name it.
Because older adults inherently have the potential to suffer more by those metrics, it might take longer and more personalized attention by a specialist in order to make strides toward total recovery.
If you or someone you love could benefit from improved balance, strength, mobility, and/or fitness, give Kelly Hawkins Physical Therapy a call or stop into one of our physical therapy clinics today to get on the path to better health and wellness.
A different way of phrasing a key benefit to physical therapy for the aging and elderly is that it can help patients retain their overall strength, independence, and productivity as much as possible, mentality permitting.
What Makes a Geriatric Physical Therapist Unique?
While aging brings its associated problems, aches, and pains, it also is a badge of honor showing experience and wisdom.
This type of physical therapist has to have heightened patience and sympathy for their patients’ conditions, due to the nature of treating older adults. According to the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, their unified mission and vision is to “build a community that advances the profession of physical therapy to optimize the experience of aging”, while also “embracing aging and empowering adults to move, engage, and live well.”
Different Types of Physical Therapy for Older Adults
Geriatric physical therapy isn’t the only route to wellness for aging adults. While this specialty tends to focus on the treatment of conditions like those listed above with the goal of restoring mobility and reducing pain, there are even more specialized physical therapy options available.
For instance, orthopedic physical therapy. This emphasis focuses on damage and injuries of the musculoskeletal variety, as well as assisting with the recovery of orthopedic surgeries. Their end goal is to restore musculoskeletal functioning; for instance, in the bones, joints, tendons, ligaments, and muscles. It’s primarily restorative in nature, focusing on healing and treatment rather than specifically preventative behaviors.
Next, cardiopulmonary physical therapy. This is a unique and very specific emphasis for those who have experienced a heart attack or have a history of any sort of cardiovascular or pulmonary condition. These physical therapists work to improve endurance and promote functional independence amongst older adults.
Finally, neurological physical therapy. This specialty is devoted to the correlation between the brain and the body, rather than either/or. Those with neurological conditions (think: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis/ALS, Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease) or those who have suffered any sort of head/brain injury would be directed this way. These physical therapists teach patients to adapt to their conditions, to adapt to any sort of decline in vision, mobility, balance, or muscle, so that they can continue to complete day-to-day activities.
According to Jean Brooks, the Senior Vice President of Rehabilitation for American Senior Communities, “Physical therapists work on the mind-body relationship, helping folks to adapt to impairments so they can move better in their environment.”
Kelly Hawkins Physical Therapy Understands Aging
Our staff of specialized physical therapists is knowledgeable and compassionate, which makes them perfect for any sort of physical therapy, whether that’s treating the young or the old. If you’re tired of feeling pain, it might be time to get that sorted out.
Ready to be up and at ‘em again? Check out our services page or give us a call to find out what geriatric physical therapy can do for you. From preventative to restorative, we at Kelly Hawkins Physical Therapy can help you feel whole again.