As we well know, physical therapy in geriatrics is an essential complement when it comes to preventing and rehabilitating aging processes. After a certain time, the body begins to change and undergo normal processes, this is called “deterioration”.
What we are looking for when doing physical activities is that patients or older adults do not have major consequences due to this natural wear and tear and that they can go through their lives normally, that they can carry out their daily lives without having to go through certain conditions or limitations.
There are three times when physical therapy can intervene to help older adults have a better lifestyle. These three moments are classified as:
We take this concept when the person is completely stable, when the person is independent, they can carry out their activities autonomously. What physical therapy does at that time is to maintain balance, maintain muscles, so that they can continue to carry out their activities without any deterioration.
When deterioration occurs
What is sought at this stage is to stop the limitation that the patient presents by performing certain activities to achieve a goal.
For example, if the patient has already lost the ability to walk alone, what the physiotherapist does in this process is to encourage, through various methods, that the adult is not bedridden and that he can carry out the process on his own. A goal, an objective, and planning must be sought so that the patient can carry out the therapy.
It occurs when there is already an irreversible disability. What the physical therapist seeks in this context is to reduce the handicap, normally, at this stage, the person is already bedridden. In this way, physiotherapy intervenes to maintain joint ranges, to maintain muscle tone, so that ulcers do not form, etc.
The primary objective in this stage is that the patient can regain the maximum possible functionality, that he can eat, speak, that he can perform different activities even if the process is already very deteriorated.
Main objectives when intervening the patient
Among the most important we seek:
It is intended that the patient can move from one place to another, can dress autonomously, and above all that he/she can feel useful.
Many times, it happens that, you realize that, ten years ago or a few years ago, the patient was a person who could do things alone, but from one moment to another everything changed. If the Senior feels that is no longer the same, that needs someone else to carry out some tasks or activities. So, the role of the physiotherapist is that the person can be as independent as possible because they tend to fall into states of depression when they realize that things have changed in their life and body.
Another aspect to take into account and that is very important to emphasize is the “march”. We will focus especially on how the person walks, how the person is wandering.
When a person begins to change gears, he begins to open his compass because he begins to be afraid, he begins to have difficulty moving. What happens is that the balance is lost.
It goes hand in hand with the previous concept. They are two objectives that must be worked together. Balance gives the patient security when walking.
So, first, we look for it to have correct physiology when performing the step, the normal thing would be first the heel and then the tip of the foot. After a certain age, patients begin to walk a little more on tiptoe and that makes them have more risk of falls, and they are more affected.
But why is the balance lost? The balance is lost because after a while the security when walking is lost, the adult becomes a little more sedentary, they no longer carry out more activities because they are afraid of falling. When the physical therapist begins to work on gait and balance, the older patient feels more self-confident and begins to reproduce these changes in his body to meet the goal of walking.
This is a very important point that we have to highlight because it works together: the muscular part and the brain. In this way, the person can perform all other activities or exercises.
Coordination is the basis for the elderly to be able to carry out the march so that they have a good balance. If coordination is worked with the patient, we can have much more important changes. Many people do not take it into account because they focus more on the patient being able to only walk and not falling in the attempt.
If everything is worked together, the results obtained will be much greater and the changes will be faster than planned.
Muscle strength is an aspect that we already have, but after we start to become a little more sedentary, we lose it. It is also due a lot to poor diet, to the fact that we do not consume enough protein so that the body can preserve that muscle.
The physical therapist performs different activities so that the patient can maintain proper muscle tone. Resistance, mobility, with weight are worked on together with both the upper limb, the lower limb, and the trunk because the body is practically based on the musculature.
If the older adult loses strength in any part of the body or any muscle, the general anatomy will be completely affected. That is why the importance of doing different exercises that can maintain muscle strength at least three times a week.
It is very important that, when performing a therapy, the therapist is aware of the patient’s breathing; approximately 12 to 16 breaths per minute. At the same time, it should be recognized when the patient begins to agitate more than normal. It is essential to give breaks, the patient must inhale and exhale gently to regulate the heart rate and oxygenate the lungs.
Physical therapy is a discipline that helps to improve the quality of life, not only of the elderly but of any patient and with a wide variety of pathologies or physical injuries.
At Miracle Physical Therapy and Massage Center, located in Warren, MI, you can find all the necessary resources available to receive a personalized treatment and adequate rehabilitation therapy. What are you waiting for?