Physiotherapy for the elderly is a busy field. Diseases and medical conditions hat require physical therapy abound in older people, and though such cases are not easy to handle, the results when good, are reward enough.
This field is known as geriatric physiotherapy. It was termed a specialized field in 1989. Therapists have studied the problems affecting the elderly since then. A number of problems affecting the older population have been identified and are treated by geriatric physiotherapy.
The disorders covered by physiotherapy for older people include, but are not limited to, arthritic disorders, pulmonary disease, joint replacements, cardiac diseases, cancer, balance disorders, incontinence, Alzheimer’s, pulmonary disorders, strokes and osteoporosis. Each disorder is treated by it’s own unique treatment.
Geriatric physiotherapy faces three different type of programs, grouped accordingly in to different categories. The first category included disorders that occur because of limb disuse ot lack of exercise. These problems are resolved using exercises that restore a person’s normal range of motion.
The second category of geriatric physiotherapy addresses issues arising due to cardiovascular diseases. A range of techniques such as water therapy, electrical stimulation, physical exercise and several other methods can be employed.
The last category of physiotherapy methods treat problems related to the skeletal structure. Diseases which affect the bones, such as osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, require specialized treatments as patients have little resistance to injury and physical exercise is difficult and painful.
Osteoporosis treatments are particularly important because of the fragile nature of the bones. In addition to that, physiotherapy restores a person’s balance and trains them to support themselves better, which prevents frequent falls and injuries. Some therapy centers only pay attention to gait and balance issues for the older population.
Geriatric physiotherapy, unlike other fields of physiotherapy, does not aim at making patients perform better than they used to before. For elderly patients, the main focus is on allowing them to perform basic functions and daily activities without having to rely on others’ assistance. It allows them to live an independent life.
Physiotherapists also try to return the joys of hobby activities to their patients. A point in example is golf, which is sport enjoyed by several seniors. Though it has health benefits, it can be a dangerous for someone not in the best of health.
As a results, physiotherapy is often aimed at training seniors to get into the right physical shape to play their favorite sports. Allowing them the independence and physical fitness to play a sport at an advanced age gives them a physical and psychological boost. It also keeps depression at bay, which in recent years has claimed a growing number of seniors.
Rehabilitation also figures in a prominent role in geriatric physiotherapy, especially after joint replacement surgeries. These surgeries alter the gait of the patient and also influence the way the carry out everyday tasks. Physiotherapists can help them reclaim their previous quality of life.
Often the elderly will take the assistance of physiotherapy to better perform their normal functions. Doctors may also refer patients under their care to physiotherapists for problems they can assist in the treatment of. Accidents and age-related disorders are, of course, the primary reason for patients to sign up at a physiotherapy clinic. Geriatric physiotherapy has a solution for all these problems.