Falls are a common worry for aging adults and the people who love them. Older adults are at risk of injuries that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Some falls are even fatal. The key is to do everything possible to reduce fall risk for seniors, and physical therapy is a tool that can help to do just that. Here’s how physical therapy is able to help seniors avoid falling.
Physical Therapists Assess Their Patients’ Needs
Physical therapists are trained to evaluate and treat a wide range of conditions that affect mobility, balance, and coordination for their patients. They work with their patients to develop personalized movement programs that can help improve their strength and balance, reduce their risk of falling, and promote overall health and wellness. Those plans may change over time as the senior’s needs and abilities change.
Improving Balance and Coordination
As seniors age, they start to lose both strength and muscle mass, which makes it more difficult to maintain balance. Coordination starts to suffer in other ways, too. Physical therapy helps seniors to regain some of that lost strength, which also helps in improving coordination. This helps with everyday activities like walking and climbing stairs.
Targeting Specific Muscle Groups
One way that physical therapists help their patients to avoid falling is to focus on strengthening specific muscle groups. They might target core muscles in the abdomen or leg muscles. By creating a plan that works the muscles that most need help, physical therapists are able to give their patients fast results that really help.
Improving Flexibility and Range of Motion
Flexibility and range of motion are important, too. When seniors are stiff and have a limited range of motion, they are more likely to experience a fall. It’s also difficult for them to catch themselves if they do lose their balance. Therapy that works to improve range of motion and flexibility helps seniors to avoid some of the fall risks associated with those problems.
Offering Education on Fall Prevention Strategies
Having a comprehensive fall prevention plan that addresses home modifications as well as potential fall hazards in the home is a crucial part of keeping seniors safe at home. Physical therapists can help family caregivers and seniors evaluate what potential problems might be lurking in the senior’s home. These strategies can dovetail with exercises meant to help prevent falling.
Rehabilitating Patients After a Fall
Even the most comprehensive fall prevention plans aren’t entirely foolproof. If a senior does fall, they’re twice as likely to fall a second time. Falls can cause serious injuries for aging adults, and recovery can take a lot longer than they expect. Physical therapy can shorten recovery time and help seniors to develop skills that can help them to avoid another fall.
Falls are a leading cause of injury for seniors. Some falls can even be severe enough to lead to death. Physical therapy can reduce fall risk, improve overall health and well-being, and help seniors to recover properly if they do sustain a fall.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring Physical Therapy in Lake Forest, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare Home Health & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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