WHAT IS GERIATRIC PHYSIOTHERAPY?
Geriatric physical therapy deals with a variety of issues that affect the elderly. As people age, a variety of illnesses can impact them, including but not limited to arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, hip and joint replacement, balance issues, incontinence, etc. Physical therapists that specialise in working with older patients treat these illnesses and diseases. The ability of elderly adults to completely utilise a variety of the body’s systems to increase mobility and independence is greatly influenced by physiotherapists. By assisting seniors in feeling comfortable and pain-free, physiotherapists may make a difference. Three categories are used to categorise the issues that are encountered in geriatric physical therapy.
One group includes issues that arise because the patient doesn’t exercise or just doesn’t use their limbs. Reconditioning with range-of-motion exercises and other workouts can help with these issues.
Heart disease and stroke are two types of cardiovascular disease that geriatric physiotherapy treats. The physiotherapist can treat these issues using a variety of instruments at her disposal. Uses include physical activity, aquatic therapy, electrical stimulation, and others.
Skeletal issues make up the third group. People who suffer from various conditions, such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, benefit from geriatric physiotherapy. These issues need special treatment because osteoarthritis is very painful and osteoporosis makes people frailer.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
A qualified expert, the physiotherapist, assists in carrying out the process. The older patient will be taught general exercises and active techniques by the physiotherapist, who will then put them to use so they may master new body motions and improve their physical and mental equilibrium. Currently, there are three different techniques to use geriatric physical therapy: hydrotherapy, mechanotherapy, and kinesiotherapy (biomechanical movements).The elderly are treated similarly to other patients in that they undergo a first phase of medical or surgical treatment before being frequently referred to a physiotherapist, who will then carry out their own examination to determine how they intend to treat you. The patient’s treatment plan will be extremely variable, based on factors including the ailment itself, the patient’s attitude, their home and family situation, and their genetic background. An crucial part of assessing the home environment for people with mobility problems, dementia, or a history of falls is the involvement of a physiotherapist.
Your therapist wants to give you as much independence and safety as they can, not by imposing their opinions on you but by making changes that you are pleased and comfortable with. In the context of geriatric care, a physio will employ conventional techniques to restore mobility, such as strengthening exercises and hydrotherapy. As falls are a significant problem for the elderly, for instance, focus is put on balance and postural changes to reduce the chance of further falls, each of which carries a risk of serious harm. As submerged activities relieve unneeded tension off joints that are particularly vulnerable to deterioration, hydrotherapy is a crucial component of the elderly’s recovery.
THE CONDITIONS TREATED BY GERIATRIC PHYSIOTHERAPY?
Musculoskeletal issues, mental disease, incontinence, diminished senses, balance issues, chronic pain, and sleep deprivation are typical geriatric disorders. Each of these illnesses has been successfully treated or managed with physiotherapy. Here are some benefits that physiotherapy can bring to the field of geriatrics. What ailments do geriatric physiotherapists treat?
Your body’s joints connect its bones, support you when you move, and carry your weight. Injuries, inflammation of the joint lining, hemarthrosis, arthritis, STDs, and gout are the usual causes of joint pain. Long-term untreated joint pain can limit movement and cause weakness or instability that makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks. The best kind of treatment to ease joint pain and increase joint stability is geriatric physiotherapy.
One of the most prevalent problems that practically everyone experiences at a certain age is generalised weakness. Degenerative changes that occur with ageing, such as low muscle tone, inflexible joints, etc., are one of its characteristics. Other chronic illnesses like neurological disorders, endocrine troubles, and musculoskeletal problems make this situation much worse. Flu, thyroid disorders, anaemia, melancholy, lack of sleep, undetected diabetes, congestive heart failure, and drug side effects are a few of the typical reasons of generalised weakness. Geriatric physiotherapy aids in regaining physical stability and strength, enhancing the quality of life for patients.
Inability to keep an upright posture is known as postural instability. In other words, maintaining an upright position is impossible due to imbalance and a loss of righting reflexes. Balance exercises used in geriatric physiotherapy can reduce postural instability and assist patients in returning to normal.
Age-related balance problems are caused by the muscles and bones losing their ability to perform normally. Orthostatic hypotension and arthritis are the two main causes. Other conditions that contribute to balance impairment include numbness in the feet and legs, vision issues, blood circulation issues, and medication use. Exercises for balance are a part of geriatric physiotherapy treatment to assist the muscles and bones perform better.
WHO WILL BENEFIT?
Geriatric physical therapy has been shown to be an effective way for older persons to maintain their physical activity levels throughout time while also increasing their strength, mobility, and sense of balance. Geriatric physiotherapy’s work does not always focus on getting patients back to where they were when they were first injured. The ability to perform at one’s highest level is the primary objective. Living a free life and performing daily duties are important qualities.The ability to enjoy physical activities can also be significantly impacted by geriatric physical therapy. The game of golf is popular among seniors. If they are not in good enough health to participate, it can be a very dangerous sport for the elderly. It also has a lot of health advantages.
An older adult can receive geriatric physiotherapy that focuses on physical training to get them in shape for sports like golf. They gain a lot of strength from this. In addition to making them physically and mentally healthy, it will allow them to play golf. Any assistance in this area is required because senior people are increasingly struggling with depression. Geriatric physical therapy also aids in rehabilitation following knee or hip replacement procedures. People who have undergone these procedures may walk differently. Their quality of life and capacity to complete everyday tasks are both impacted.