The advancements in medical technology and treatment are truly amazing. Because of new research, treatment procedures, and further understanding of the human body, people are living longer. With the increased quantity of life, we should also work towards increasing the quality of life. As baby boomers age and acquire more comorbidities and health disparities, their children have to play a more integral role in health care decisions. Here are five reasons to consider physical therapy for an aging parent.
Movement is Medicine
Common conditions such as diabetes and hypertension can be improved with exercise. Physical therapy can help get your parent more active and in turn, possibly reduce the amount or even the need for medication for these diseases. Both weight loss and the metabolic effects of exercise can contribute to a decrease in blood pressure and blood glucose levels.
Physical Therapy Before Surgery
Surgical procedures always come with risks. Even more so when a person is aging and especially when there are additional comorbidities. Diabetes increases the risk for infection and delays healing. Sleep apnea can add additional risk to general anesthesia. If an elderly patient is able to conservatively manage an orthopedic injury, then surgery should not be the first option. Many orthopedic conditions can be managed with physical therapy and home exercise programs to avoid having to go under the knife.
Decrease Pain and Improve Mental Wellness
As the body ages, aches and pains can become common. However, pain is not an unavoidable symptom that cannot be addressed. Increasing movement can reduce joint stiffness which can reduce pain. Additionally, anxiety and depression are mental conditions that occur often in the elderly. Exercise releases endorphins which help to improve mood. By getting your aging parent exercising, you can help improve both their spirits along with their physical fitness.
Increase Functional Mobility
Physical therapy can help to improve your parent’s functional mobility. By focusing on strengthening and endurance training, physical therapy staff can help elderly patients improve their functional mobility. Quality of life improves dramatically when a person increases functional mobility such as using the bathroom, taking a shower, and ambulating in the community.
Increase or Maintain Independence
Physical therapy can help maintain or improve an elderly individual’s independence. By increasing strength, endurance, and balance, patients are able to perform more activities of daily living with less dependence on assistive devices or assistance from other people. Being able to safely perform self-care activities such as using the bathroom, showering, dressing, cooking, and cleaning can allow an elderly patient to possibly be able to remain in their home longer without physical assistance. This is a win-win for both you and your parent!
We Can Help
As you become more involved in your aging parent’s health care, consider physical therapy for the benefits stated above. As an added bonus, the overall burden of care will be less for you! Call Bourassa and Associates Rehabilitation Center to set up an appointment with one of our university trained physical therapists today! Do not just be concerned with the years of life but the LIFE in the years.
Listen to the Podcast
Richard Bourassa joins Brent Loucks on 650 CKOM to discuss physical therapy and how it can help older adults.