Rehabilitation And Exercises For Maintaining Independence

As medical technology increases lifespans, it is important to also extend quality of life. Most seniors want - above all else - to stay in their homes. A few simple geriatric exercises, and important rehabilitation after any falls, injuries, or sicknesses, can make independence last for the longest time possible.

Exercises to Extend Health

As you age, your vision, balance, and dexterity decrease, leading to risk of falls or other injuries. Stretches, strength training, and aerobic exercises can help aging bodies to retain their quality. Balance exercises are especially important.

At home, seniors can practice stepping over soft items like pillows or stuffed animals to keep their footwork and balance up to par. Encourage your aging parent to walk as much as possible, even if they are just able to hold onto the counter or a walker for balance. Until balance comes back, practice standing on one foot or shifting your weight back and forth from foot to foot can help, too. Walking heel to toe, or on a straight line, like a piece of masking tape laid out on the floor, can also assist in redeveloping balance and coordination.

For more advanced balance training, core exercises can help with control and muscle groups that will help seniors stay on their feet. Sports like tennis, bowling, or tai chi can keep seniors light on their feet. Cycling helps with balance and coordination, but should only be undertaken by the most fit seniors, and always with the proper equipment.

Rehab After Falls or Injuries

Rehab after falls or injuries is important because it prevents one injury leading to another. Recurrent falls are a major danger for seniors. 70% of accidental deaths of people over the age of 75 are from falls. Most post-fall exercises are similar to fall-prevention exercises, but they should be performed under the supervision of a physical therapist or occupational therapist.

Walking is the best exercise for improving endurance and strength. Posture exercises can assist with keeping bones and joints in alignment, which helps with reducing injury, as well.

Rehab After Sicknesses

Sometimes, everyone forgets that rehabilitation is crucial post-illness, just like after an injury. When a serious sickness, like pneumonia, puts a senior down, atrophy can take its toll the same way as it affects one after a fall. Getting back up to speed and strength requires hard work and a plan. Physical therapists, like those at Hand & Orthopedic Rehabilitation Specialists, are trained to design programs to help people regain their independence after a setback.