The Importance of Physical Therapy for Seniors

What Does Senior Physical Therapy Involve?

The definition of physical therapy is “the treatment of disease, injury or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment and exercises rather than by drugs or surgery.” Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and teach individuals how to prevent or manage their condition and achieve the long-term goals they set for themselves, as well as reduce their pain, restore function and independence and prevent further injury.

After a senior has been impaired in some way, whether it’s from a chronic condition, recent illness or surgery, a physical therapist will design an individualized treatment plan to make daily tasks easier and improve overall quality of life.

How Does Physical Therapy Benefit Seniors?

Today, one in four Americans age 65 will live to be at least 90 years old, and physical therapy allows these seniors to live life to the fullest extent. The aging process brings changes to older adults’ physical conditions, and decreased flexibility and muscle strength can make maintaining the desired levels of fitness challenging.

Whether seniors are managing a chronic condition, recovering from a surgery, or striving to improve their general health and mobility, physical therapy allows them to retain as much of their independence as possible. For most seniors, physical therapy often treats naturally occurring ailments that are part of the aging process, like pain and balance problems or poor muscle strength and endurance.

Some of the main benefits of physical therapy for seniors include:

Reduced Risk of Falling

Falls are the leading cause of accidents among seniors, often resulting in bone fractures or head injuries. Plus, once a senior falls he or she is likely to suffer a repeat fall in the future. Physical therapy teaches seniors balance techniques that help them maintain their stability and prevent additional falls.

Relief from Arthritis Symptoms

Most individuals age 65 and older have some arthritis in their spine, regardless of whether they currently experience symptoms. Because physical therapy can help preserve strength and joint use, it could offset future symptoms. It can also benefit those who are already dealing with arthritis pain. Physical therapists teach therapeutic methods designed to reduce discomfort through both activity modifications and physical techniques.

Treatment for Chronic Pain

It’s common for seniors to use a variety of prescription and over-the-counter medications to manage pain, especially chronic lower back pain. Physical therapy can be a cost-effective way to reduce this type of pain, and can produce the same results as surgery for conditions like spinal stenosis.

Helps Maintain an Active Lifestyle

The longer seniors are able to stay active, the better their overall health will be. Physical therapy helps seniors get back to or maintain their ideal fitness levels. Staying physically active has a variety of additional benefits for seniors. For instance, regular exercise can not only improve muscle strength, flexibility and mobility, but it also boosts mood and cognitive function.

On-Site Rehabilitation Services at Concordia

Concordia Life Plan Community offers short- and long-term rehabilitation services in our on-site health center. Enjoy specialized care through our personal skilled nursing program, which includes physical, occupational and speech therapies to ensure the highest quality of life possible. Contact Concordia to schedule a visit to see all that our beautiful community has to offer and learn about our additional programs, like independent living, assisted living or memory care.

Health & Aging