Health > What Does a Physiotherapist Do for The Elderly?
9th Jan 2024
Physio at Home

What Does a Physiotherapist Do for The Elderly?

As we age, our bodies go through changes. Our muscles get weaker, our joints get stiffer, and we lose flexibility and balance. These age-related changes can make it difficult to move around and perform daily activities. This is where a good physiotherapist in Kolkata can help.

Physiotherapists, also known as physical therapists, are healthcare professionals who help people restore and maximize their physical strengths and abilities. They play a crucial role in helping the elderly stay active and independent for as long as possible. Here are some of the main things a good physiotherapist in Kolkata does for the elderly:

  1. Assess Mobility and Function

A physiotherapist will start by doing a thorough assessment of an elderly person’s mobility, balance, strength, and physical function. They will look at factors like:

  • Range of motion of joints
  • Muscle strength and control
  • Balance and coordination
  • Posture and walking ability
  • Ability to get up from sitting/lying down
  • Functional activities like dressing, bathing, cooking etc.

The assessment allows the physiotherapist to identify any problem areas and design a customized treatment plan.

  1. Improve Strength and Balance

Two common issues the elderly face are reduced muscle strength and poor balance. Weak muscles increase the risk of falls and make daily tasks difficult. A good physiotherapist in Kolkata, West Bengal will prescribe specific exercises to improve strength and balance. Examples include:

  • Resistance band exercises to improve upper and lower body strength
  • Squats, heel raises, and leg lifts to build lower body strength
  • Tai chi, yoga, or Pilates to enhance balance and coordination
  • Walking programs to improve endurance
  • Exercises using stability balls, foam rollers, wobble boards etc. for core strength

Building strength and balance helps prevent falls and injuries and maintains mobility.

  1. Increase Flexibility and Range of Motion

As we get older, our joints get stiffer and our connective tissues become less flexible. This limits mobility. A physiotherapist will give stretches and range of motion exercises for major muscle groups. Common examples are:

  • Calf stretches
  • Hamstring stretches
  • Shoulder and upper back stretches
  • Hip flexor and quad stretches
  • Neck rotations
  • Spinal twists like seated trunk rotation

Regular stretching can help the elderly move more freely and prevent painful joint conditions like arthritis.

  1. Address Pain and Swelling

Many elderly individuals deal with pain due to overuse, injuries, arthritis, or inflammation. A physiotherapist may use techniques like:

  • Joint mobilization to relieve stiffness
  • Soft tissue massage to ease muscle soreness
  • Pain relief modalities like heat/ice therapy, TENS, ultrasound etc.
  • Prescription of assistive devices like walkers, canes if required

Helping manage pain and discomfort enables the elderly to stay active.
Also Read: Physio at Home for the Elderly: Benefits and Importance

  1. Improve Posture and Body Mechanics

Bad posture is common as we get older and can strain the back and neck. A physiotherapist will observe posture during various activities. They can provide education on posture correction strategies like:

  • Sitting upright with lower back support
  • Avoiding slouching and hunching shoulders
  • Correcting hip, knee, and foot alignment when standing
  • Using good body mechanics when bending, lifting objects etc.

Proper posture and body movements help reduce undue strain on muscles and joints.

  1. Train for Daily Living Activities

Simple everyday tasks like getting dressed, bathing, cooking, or cleaning become challenging with age. A physiotherapist trains the elderly to use adaptive techniques and devices to independently and safely perform daily living activities. Examples include:

  • Kitchen aids like jar openers for cooking
  • Grab bars and shower seats for bathing
  • Dressing sticks for putting on socks or pants
  • Raising toilet seat height or using a commode

Staying able to carry out self-care promotes a sense of dignity and self-worth.

  1. Design an Ongoing Exercise Program

A good physiotherapist knows that rehabilitation is an ongoing process. They will design a customized home exercise program depending on the individual’s needs and abilities. This ensures the benefits continue even after formal treatment ends. The program may involve a mix of flexibility, strength, balance, and cardio exercises. Regular follow-ups help tweak the program as needed.

  1. Educate on Lifestyle Modification

Part of a physiotherapist’s role is providing education on lifestyle factors that impact mobility and independence. They give tips like:

  • Doing weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises regularly
  • Taking care while walking outdoors and removing fall hazards at home
  • Practicing good posture during everyday activities
  • Eating a balanced diet to avoid obesity
  • Staying hydrated and resting when tired
  • Consulting a doctor if new symptoms appear

Such lifestyle modifications are key for healthy aging.

Must Read: Physiotherapy Exercises for Knee Pain for Senior Citizens

For seniors with health conditions, the physiotherapist coordinates care with the doctor regarding safe exercises. They may also train caregivers on proper mobility assistance techniques. Overall, a competent physiotherapist enables the elderly to be as active, confident, and self-reliant as possible.

At Emoha Elder Care, we provide trained and experienced home physiotherapists in Kolkata as part of our Emoha Physiotherapist Services at home for seniors. Our physiotherapists conduct a detailed assessment, design customized treatment plans, provide restorative exercises, massage, pain relief and train family members too. This improves recovery and prevents deterioration in the elderly’s physical health. To know more about our elderly home physiotherapy services in Kolkata, contact us today.