Seniors are susceptible to injury due to osteoporosis and weak bones. The elderly also have more difficulty recovering from accidents. Their bodies take longer to heal, and due to the co-morbidities of old age, they are at greater risk of complications from surgery or rehabilitation. They may need a longer time for recovery and housing arrangements after experiencing a traumatic event.
The following are the top 5 ways that seniors benefit from rehabilitation after an injury:
Improve their Mental Well-Being
Seniors can become depressed and withdrawn, mainly if they are afraid to attempt physical activity after an injury because of pain. Thoughtful exercises may help them regain their confidence and connect with other people. Working with a physical therapist or exercising in a group setting can also benefit seniors who suffer from social isolation.
Rehabilitation can also help seniors with cognitive issues. Mental conditions such as brain injury and Alzheimer's disease can prevent seniors from performing daily activities. Working with a specialized physical therapist can help seniors re-learn activities of daily living and assist them in becoming more independent.
Improve their Mobility & Flexibility
Older adults who have experienced injuries to the spine or chronic pain may have limited range of motion and general flexibility due to muscle tightness or atrophy muscle wasting. Strengthening and stretching exercises may help seniors regain their lost range of motion. Seniors may enjoy participating in physical therapy if it is safe.
Increase their Energy Levels
Seniors often experience fatigue and low energy due to arthritis, heart disease, depression, and diabetes. For example, the effects of osteoporosis are often prominent in older adults. A physical therapist can help seniors increase their energy by increasing blood flow and range of motion through strengthening exercises. Seniors who participate in a daily exercise program may also enjoy increased energy levels.
Decrease the Risk of Future Injuries
Older adults are at an increased risk of falling, which can, in turn, lead to future injuries. For example, a fall may cause a hip fracture that is difficult to heal and may require surgery. Physical therapy can help seniors improve their balance and gait patterns to reduce the risk of future falls. Seniors who have previously suffered from a fall should work with a physical therapist to regain their confidence in performing daily activities.
Prepare for the Future
Physical therapy programs are offered in nursing homes and senior centers to help older adults return to their specific level of functioning before their injury or illness. Working with an occupational therapist, for example, allows seniors to become more independent with daily living activities. Seniors can gradually work on improving these skills and regain more independence once they are physically ready to do so.
Benefits of Taking Seniors to Rehabilitation After an Injury
Senior healthcare professionals have recommended that seniors benefit from rehabilitation after an injury. Seniors may experience benefits such as these:
Common Injuries & Illnesses that May Be Treated with Senior Rehabilitation
Injuries Affecting the Joints
Physical therapists help seniors regain strength and flexibility in their joints after an injury or surgery. For example, a knee replacement surgery can decrease the range of motion and reduce power in the lower extremity muscles. Physical therapy programs may help seniors improve their strength and signal content by gradually performing rehabilitation exercises.
Spinal Cord Injuries
Spinal cord injuries are usually caused by a severe blow to the spine, such as a car accident or fall. These injuries can cause permanent nerve damage that they may treat with physical therapy or a spinal cord stimulator. In addition, physical therapists can help seniors improve their gait, balance, and strength. Seniors who have had a spinal cord injury may benefit from a rehabilitation program to improve their functional abilities both in the home and in society.
Depression & Psychological Distress
Many older adults may experience depression after suffering a physical injury. Seniors who have suffered from depression before their accident may be more likely to experience depression after the accident. A physical therapist can help seniors who suffer from depression improve their mood and prepare them for participating in a rehabilitation program.
Physical therapists help seniors recover from their injury or illness by improving their strength and range of motion. Seniors may also enjoy the social benefits of participating in a rehabilitation program. Many programs involve volunteering, art therapy, and music therapy. These activities can help seniors improve their mood and sense of well-being.
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