There are multi-factorial health conditions that are associated with elderly, the accumulated effect of which affects the level of function and their wellbeing. Certain issues that are of great concern for elderly are functional inabilities, dependence, deteriorating quality of life, immobility, instability, fear of fall and pain.
Focused and tailored rehabilitation programs and adaptive strategies minimizes the impact of the health condition associated with aging and enables seniors to be active, pursue their interests, and remain in control of their lives.
Geriatric Rehabilitation is a specialty that focuses on health care of elderly people. It aims to promote health by diagnosing, preventing and treating illness in older adults and the problems specific to aging.
Physical activity is a key to functional performance and perhaps represents the most cost-effective effort to prevent deconditioning and thereby combat disability in old age. Successful multifactorial intervention strategies of strength, coordination, or motor training are tailored according to individual needs and thus:
- Minimizes the effects of physiological changes associated with typical aging in a sedentary society.
- Contributes to psychological health and well-being by engaging them in group activities and fun exercises programs within the same peer group.
- Increases longevity.
- Assists in the prevention and treatment of disability.
- Used as primary or adjunctive treatment for certain chronic diseases and may counteract specific side effects of standard medical care.
Who can benefit from Geriatric Rehabilitation?
Below are some of the possible indications for Geriatric Physical Therapy Referral:
- Recent fall or history of falls,
- Deficits in strength or range of motion,
- Loss of mobility or ambulation requiring an assistive device
- Musculoskeletal pain,
- Difficulty with transfers,
- Orthotic and prosthetic needs,
- Neurological disorders,
- Balance or coordination deficits,
- Decreased endurance for ADLs (activities of daily life)
- Bed bound status,
- Need for adaptive equipment to enhance safety and function.
Key points we consider when working with elderly patients:
- Accurate examination, assessment and recording of each patient’s physical state, considering individual psychosocial and environmental needs; followed by continued reassessment and review.
- Recognition of the patients’ need to regain or maintain personal autonomy and to aim for increasing personal responsibility for recovery.
- Establishment of agreed individual goals, both short-term and long-term, with each patient and the provision of advice on prevention of unnecessary problems and encouraging the patients to achieve optimum levels of independence and health.