Senior Living: Physical Therapy – Your Road Guide to Independence

Published 8:07 am Tuesday, October 3, 2017

October is National Physical Therapy Month

By Lisa Keller, RN, BSN, Executive Director at Morning Pointe of Danville

As we grow older, mobility grows in meaning. Whether it means going the distance on your 50th anniversary vacation, or pushing the limits on your next charity 5k run/walk – when we are moving, we feel confident… we feel free.

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But as the hands of time move forward, many of us begin to slow down. For some, the aging process can bring a fast-paced lifestyle to a complete stop. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the end of the road for seniors – especially those who save a passenger seat for a trusted physical therapist on the road trip to independent living.

Why Physical Therapy

What if I told you there is a medication-free way to make pickle jars a little easier to open, your baseball throwing arm a little stronger, and the finish line closer within reach? Physical therapy makes this possible for the millions of seniors in the United States who seek to achieve their personal physical activity goals.

And while healthy active lifestyles are encouraged, physical therapy isn’t just for athletes and exercise enthusiasts. It surprises me that few know of it as an effective treatment for chronic pain.

With opioid overdose and medication mishaps as common concern among older adults who tend to have multiple prescriptions, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend physical therapy among other methods (including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and exercise) to find relief.

Aside from pain management, the benefits of physical therapy are numerous. Faster recovery times from surgery, improved gait, greater flexibility and more strength are just a few of the reasons why millions of seniors visit their trusted therapists two to three times a week.

But this comes at cost – a commitment to a care plan that has your best interests in mind. Some say physical therapy is challenging. Others describe it as fun, as state-of-the-art technology and games help patients stay engaged while meeting their goals. I think this commitment is just a small price to pay to see huge improvements down the road.

Physical therapy has become so integral to the well-being of older adults, that personal care and Alzheimer’s memory care providers have partnered with some of the best professionals to provide physical therapy in the comfort of residents’ homes; it doesn’t get more convenient than that.

And while my hope is that you’ll never need physical therapy in the event of an emergency, I ask – no, plea – that you never stop moving. Staying active is key to healthy aging, and physical therapy is a tried and trusted fuel to keep you in motion on your journey to better quality of life.