Falling can be a terrifying experience for seniors as well as their families. One in four Americans aged 65+ has a serious fall each year, making it a major source of concern for independent seniors. According to a study by Clarity, seniors fear losing their independence more than they fear death itself – which means that the main concern is becoming dependent on family and caregivers for the rest of their lives.
Though it poses far less of a danger to infants and children whose bones are still forming, by the time an adult is over the age of 65, falling can do a lot of damage. At that age, bones are more fragile and likely to break due to osteoporosis and other issues.
Many elderly people are prone to surgery complications and also suffer from comorbidities that make it harder to bounce back from trauma. This means recovery is more difficult (and your family members be more prone to think you need their help).
Thankfully, outpatient physical therapy can help seniors regain strength, balance, and flexibility – enabling them to recover more quickly from falls or prevent them altogether. Read on to learn more about the value of outpatient therapy for seniors.
Unfortunately, falls are one of the leading causes of accidental death or injury worldwide, and seniors are more susceptible to this hazard. Thankfully, there is something you can do. Studies show that minimizing falls is possible with the help of physical therapy.
Two studies show that falls can be reduced with the help of exercise/physical therapy. The first study, “Efficacy and Generalizability of Falls Prevention Interventions in Nursing Homes,” showed an efficacy of 36%-41%, while the second (“Non-Pharmacological Management of Osteoporosis”) showed an improvement of 35%.
Physical therapy is helpful in minimizing falls but also contributes to a shorter recovery time in case of injury. A study on senior rotator cuff injury showed that physical therapy programs reduce pain during activity and improve function – even if the rotator cuff tear is massive and irreparable. Another study showed that rehabilitation immediately following trauma (such as after a fall) positively impacts patients’ function and quality of life, reducing inactivity and deconditioning.
Physical therapy is recommended for hip fracture patients as well. Early mobilization and structured exercises are important parts of the rehabilitation process, and exercise should include resistance training, balance, weight-bearing, and functional mobility training.
Using an evidence-based fall reduction program can prevent injury in seniors. According to a clinical case study, physical therapy can have a positive effect on:
In other words, exercises such as the ones found in physical therapy can prevent the risk, odds, and rate of falls. Though home exercise programs are generally ignored (and abandoned once the patient has been discharged), group-based exercise classes like the ones you’d find in outpatient therapy have been shown to maintain benefits – making it the more ideal choice.
Physical therapy is also helpful for pain management. In a study of individuals with low back pain, physical therapy proved useful in providing long-term improvement in pain and function. Another study (specifically regarding senior pain management) showed that tailored physical therapy should be used as part of a multi-disciplinary approach for optimal success.
Some health conditions can be controlled through the use of physical therapy, including:
Even older adults (60-75 years of age) have been shown to benefit from a better quality of life and pain reduction as a result of physical therapy. Several studies show this to be true, including many which have already been cited. For seniors who wish to continue (or start) living their lives without fear, physical therapy is a major help.
You can regain your confidence and enjoy better movement, function, balance, and strength with the help of physical therapy. Though falling is a scary experience for the elderly, there is a way to continue living independently.
With the help of outpatient therapy, you can stay in charge of your life as a senior. Being proactive about your health will show that you are perfectly capable of doing what you need to do to remain independent.
With the help of physical therapy, you may be able to keep:
Growing older doesn’t have to mean losing everything you once loved. Regain your independence with the help of physical therapy. Give us a call today!
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