Maintaining independence is a top priority for today’s seniors, but not all of them specifically consider the important role that mobility plays in staying functional for as long as possible. Attending physical therapy after an injury or illness can help seniors stay mobile, improving their abilities to maintain independence and live fulfilling lives well into retirement. Read on to find out about the three main benefits of physical therapy for seniors to find out how.

Improved Patient Outcomes

Hospitalizations can lead to a loss of strength and mobility in patients of all ages. For seniors, the long-term consequences of hospitalizations can dramatically impact their quality of living. Physical therapy improves patient outcomes by reducing fall risks, preventing infections and ulcers, decreasing pain, and supporting improved strength and endurance. Many seniors are hesitant to engage in in-patient physical therapy after a hospitalization. Finding the right facility can really help. Those who want a better solution than heading to a conventional nursing home can go to to learn about one great alternative.

Improved Mobility

Mobility isn’t just about physical strength, although joint and muscle strength does play an important role. It’s also about balance, coordination, and flexibility. Physical therapists know how to improve all of these things in patients of all ages, including seniors.

Improved mobility helps seniors maintain a greater level of independence. It also helps to prevent falls, which can lead to broken bones, head injuries, hospitalizations, and even surgery. According to the CDC, one of every four people over 65 experiences a fall annually, and over 800,000 seniors require hospitalization after falls every year. Physical therapy after a fall can decrease seniors’ risk of further fall-related injuries.

Improved Mood

Researchers and clinicians have long known that exercise can improve mood. Recent research has highlighted the positive effect this can have on seniors who struggle with depression, but most people don’t need a Ph.D. to recognize that it feels good to get up and moving. Unfortunately, that can be hard for seniors with underlying health problems or mobility impairments.

Physical therapists can prescribe exercise plans for their patients that will be both safe and effective. As the patients improve, they’ll learn new exercises and stretches and develop more strength, flexibility, coordination, balance, and confidence. It’s OK to feel sad and discouraged during a prolonged hospitalization, but it’s also important to get back on the horse and keep going. Physical therapists help their patients do just that.

When people of any age get enough exercise, it increases their energy levels, reduces problems with insomnia, creates a welcome distraction from negative thoughts, and helps them feel more in control. For seniors, it can also be an opportunity for social interaction. It’s important for those who have suffered physical setbacks after hospitalizations, prolonged illnesses, or injuries to start off slow and learn what exercises are safe for them, though, so only start new exercise routines after consulting an expert.

The Bottom Line

Seniors who are able to get plenty of exercise experience fewer falls, less frequent hospitalizations, more elevated moods, and a generally better quality of life. There’s no shame in needing help with recovering from an illness or injury. Physical therapists have all the training and experience they need to work with aging patients to regain their strength and mobility, reduce their pain, and get back to enjoying retirement.

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