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Most of us only consider physical therapy after an injury or surgery, but realistically it can be quite helpful, covering a wide umbrella of many other conditions. You do not have to wait until you’re in pain either since quality of life revolves around our ability to manage daily activities and move around the house comfortably. An important aspect of physical therapy is Geriatric PT.

Very Well Health published an editorial article on August 18, 2021 by Kristen Gasnick, PT, DPT a medical writer and a physical therapist at Holy Name Medical Center in New Jersey. The following excerpt is from the article, “Geriatric physical therapy places a special emphasis on the needs of aging adults. It helps treat conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, cancer, joint replacement and balance disorders. Specialized programs are designed to help restore mobility, increase fitness levels and reduce overall pain.

That’s more important than you might think. One in four older adults fall each year, according to the CDC. And every year falls cause broken bones, head injuries, and other problems, especially in older people. This can make it much harder to get around by yourself and live independently, especially as you age.” Geriatric physical therapy is different from other types of physical therapy because it focuses more on building strength and endurance in older adults to help in the following ways:

Keeping active:

Preventing deconditioning (reversal of previous conditioning)
Preventing muscle atrophy (the wasting away of muscles)
Decreasing the risk of falls and related injuries
Maintaining independence in performing daily activities
Geriatric physical therapy can be performed in a variety of settings, including:

Hospitals and clinics on an outpatient basis:

Inpatient healthcare facilities like nursing homes and rehabilitation centers, as well as assisted living facilities
At home, which is especially helpful for those with mobility challenges who have difficulty getting out”

What Conditions Can Physical Therapy Help?

There are many conditions that can dramatically improve with trained PT. One of which is Osteoarthritis where therapy can help improve range of motion. Another common problem that can be helped is Vertigo, where a therapist can improve problems associated with balance and dizziness.

Neurological conditions include Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and multiple sclerosis. Physical therapy can help improve the ability to perform daily tasks and keep you safe from the possibilities of incurring additional injuries.

For some cancer patients, a PT program can lessen pain and assist in maintaining the strength that will enable the patient to continue participation in home and work life. Creating a personal plan, the PT exercise can assist in continuing to be independent for as long as possible.

Not many people with Osteoporosis consider PT early on to improve bone health and decrease bone loss, but it can. Therapists can create a program that will help maintain bone health for years to come.

Men and women who suffer from incontinence, discover that this can lead to socialize and exercise less. Pulling back from exercise and social connections might worsen both physical and mental health. Physical therapists with specialized training can train someone suffering from this condition to contract, relax, and coordinate the muscles of the pelvic floor, helping to minimize this problem.

A good physical therapist doesn’t just ask where it hurts and give you some exercises…they assess your particular situation to create an individualized plan that will help increase strength and movement without pain. Physical therapy is particularly important for older adults. The muscles and joints tend to lose strength and stability over time and can negatively impact the performance of daily tasks and movement. At GoldLeaf Home Health we provide therapeutic exercises, and services that focus on regaining strength, balance, and improving muscle function. Our programs may include gait training, transfer training, coordination, fall prevention, balance or therapeutic aftercare.