PHYSIOTHERAPY FOR GERIATRIC PATIENTS
It is said that age is just a number, but age is also an indicator of a number of physical conditions such as osteoporosis, arthritis, cancer, hip & joint ailments, demential, Alzheimer’s disease, incontinence, balance disorders even upto cancer. In order to treat the wide variety of age related concerns, the elderlies are given Geriatric Physical Therapy. The basic objective of the therapy is to enable the older people understand and utilize their physical systems to the best possible potential by making them more comfortable & pain free in their areas of concern. The age related concerns faced by people are grouped into three different categories:
First category of patients is those who are not much mobile and lead a sedentary lifestyle most of the time. If they are not using their limbs much, they tend to face physical ailments at the later stage of their lives. There are specialized range of exercises suggested to the patients under special guidance of physiotherapists that can help reconditioning their health concerns.
The second category deals with cardiovascular disease, like heart disease and stroke. Wide rage of solutions are offered to the patients like Exercise, aqua therapy, electrical stimulation, and more can be used for better benefits in combating the issues.
The third category is about skeletal problems such as osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, both requiring special care by the physiotherapists since osteoporosis makes patients frail while osteoarthritis is all about pain management.
After careful monitoring & counselling, the physiotherapy professionals offer a wide range of active techniques and globally accepted exercises to the aged people.
This helps the patient to become adept in new bodily movements,thus developing physical and mental balance. Geriatric physiotherapy can be applied in three different ways such as Hydrotherapy or water treatment, Mechanotherapy(involving machines) and Kinesiotherapy (biomechanical movements). In many cases such as mobility concerns, dementia, falling history, etc. at-home services prove to be the best solution.
WHAT CONDITIONS ARE TREATED
Since geriatric therapy involves age related concerns, a professional physiotherapist treats issues like incontinence, musculoskeletal issues, mental concerns, balance problems, impaired senses, sleeplessness and chronic pains.
Geriatric conditions usually include musculoskeletal problems, mental illness, incontinence, and impaired senses, balance problems, chronic pain, and sleep deprivation. Let’s explore few conditions treated in Geriatric therapy:
1) Joint Pains- With age the joints tend to become weak due to wear & tear and less nutrition absorption causing mobility issues as well as chronic pains. Joint pain is usually caused by injuries, inflammation of joint lining, arthritis, gout etc. Geriatric physiotherapy helps address above conditions to re-instate smooth functioning of joints.
2) Generalized Weakness– Often attributed to age general weakness is caused leading to chronic conditions such as neurological issues, endocrine problems and musculoskeletal issues triggered byflu, thyroid, anaemia, depression, insomnia, undiagnosed diabetes, congestive cardiac failure and side effects of medicine. Geriatric physiotherapy helps in regaining physical strength and stability assuring improved quality of life.
3) Postural Instability – This is about inability to maintain a straight posture due to imbalance and loss of righting reflexes required or an upright position for which Geriatric physiotherapy is a great help.
4) Balance Impairment – Another common age related issue caused due to arthiritis& orthostatic hypotension leads to abnormal functioning of bones & muscles. Numbness in limbs, eye problems, blood circulation issues and multiple medicines intake are other causing factors. A variety of balance exercises in Geriatric physiotherapy are helpful in overcoming the condition.
In conclusion, the geriatric physical therapy is an extremely effective healthcare modality that goes a long way for treating the age related physical as well as mental ailments.