A physical therapist can design an exercise program to help seniors deal with some of the consequences associated with aging, which include:
1. Increased risk of falls – Falls can occur due to a loss in the body’s ability to maintain balance, posture, and equilibrium. A physical therapist can create an exercise program to improve muscle tone, strength, joint movement, and balance. This can prevent dangerous consequences like broken bones, allowing seniors to stay active and healthy.
2. Pain and discomfort of arthritis – Joint wear and tear can result in osteoarthritis. This leads to joint pain and swelling, which can restrict movement. Physical therapy includes a variety of treatment options including hot and cold treatments, massages, and range of motion exercises. Splints and custom made orthotic devices can also help.
3. Incidence of strokes – A stroke can significantly impact their quality of life. Mobility, speech, memory, and vision can be affected. An exercise program to improve mobility and independence is an essential component of stroke prevention and treatment.
4. Onset of Alzheimer’s disease – This is an irreversible conditon that can be associated with old age. It gets progressively worse once it starts. Physical therapists can help maintain the patient's quality of life by providing exercises to maintain strength and mobility.
5. Osteoporosis – This is a condition characterized by thinning bones that become brittle and prone to fractures. Physical therapy prescribed weight training exercises to increase bone density and improve muscle strength are a cornestone of prevention.
6. Urinary incontinence – This is a rather embarrassing problem that may be associated with aging. Physical therapists can help by providing bladder training exercises that can help treat this problem.