Physical therapy exercises are prescribed to seniors to restore or maintain their physical health. These are generally given to seniors post-hospital discharge due to a stroke, surgery, or an accident. The therapy includes various exercises to improve the range of motion, strengthen muscles, and particularly pain reduction. A physical therapist will prescribe certain exercises to be performed daily in between appointments for faster recovery. Here comes the role of a caregiver. The caregiver can assist the elderly in performing the prescribed exercises carefully and completely.
Here we share the ways by which a caregiver can help seniors at home:
It might be quite uncomfortable for seniors to perform exercises at an inpatient facility with strangers, and they might require frequent breaks and feel embarrassed about the same. But if a caregiver can make them learn the prescribed warm-up exercises at home without discomfort. This comfort without unfamiliar faces and sights will aid in recovery.
A caregiver can monitor the seniors while they perform exercises. It will help in safely completing the task. Because there might be exercises to improve balancing or the senior might get tired which might result in falling. Also, the caregiver can find a safe spot to do exercise at home.
It will be difficult for seniors to travel for multiple appointments during the ongoing treatment. And because of the physical ailment, they might also be unable to drive. Getting in and coming out of the car can be difficult too. Also, carrying prescriptions and medical files can be tedious too. The caregiver can help in this regard. Caregivers can travel along with the seniors and reach the therapist on time. The other family members who are far away or in-office remain tension-free too.
- Monitoring proper prescribed meals
Eating is essential to recovery. The elderly must eat well during the treatment, and consuming food that helps in recovery is even more beneficial. So, if a caregiver prepares meals and serves food on time, it will aid the therapy.
Correct and timely medication is essential for recovery. An elderly might not be able to follow a doctor’s prescription, and a caregiver can help in this regard.
The caregiver should be able to judge the situation well. Someday, if the senior is adamant about not exercising, convince them to do a little and make it happen. They can be a friend who understands well. A caring atmosphere in the house will make the patient recover soon.
- Progress Track
Since the caregiver monitors the senior throughout the day, they can maintain a tracker of all the activities the elderly can do or not do. They can answer all the questions of the therapist. Also, they can share the issues faced while exercising with the therapist and the therapist can plan further accordingly.
- Motivate them to be on track
The exercises administered can be challenging at times. It could have swimming, cardio exercises, plank exercise, etc. The seniors occasionally might require motivation to perform these aerobic and anaerobic exercises. The senior might feel depressed some days because of slow progress or may be due to pain from the last day’s training. But the caregiver can motivate the senior to push it a little hard each day and act as a cheerleader in the treatment journey.
- Pain Relief
A caregiver can help the senior using heat or ice packs if required for pain relief. The patient might not be able to do it properly on their own. Exercise is troublesome in cases of serious surgeries like knee or hip replacement, and caregivers can help them during this period.
- A little celebration, now and then
The seniors might be experiencing stress and anxiety while going through physical therapy, and caregivers are trained to uplift the gloomy mood of a patient. They reward them for small accomplishments, which could be just taking them out for a casual walk or lunch.
- Avoid further injury
A caregiver’s support can mean a lot for the senior in the process of recovery. The caregiver’s help will prevent any further injury and will speed up the recovery process. Seniors with major surgeries are prone to falling. In such a scenario, a helping hand can assist in making the work easy because a single fall post-surgery can make the case even more complicated.
A caregiver plays a major role in the physical therapy exercises. The care and love given by a caregiver can play a critical role in the treatment and exercise cycle. A senior patient requires a lot of patience and kindness when ill, and a professional caregiver knows it all.
What are the benefits of physical therapy?
Physical therapy is beneficial because it:
- Improves mobility
- Serves as an alternative to surgery
- Eliminates or reduces pain
- Aids in recovery
- Improves balance
- Prevents fall
- Provides strength
Name some exercises that are suggested for seniors
Some of the best exercises administered to seniors are chair yoga, pilates, walking, water aerobics, and dumbbell strength training.
What exercise types should the seniors do regularly to stay fit (without any medical condition)?
Research suggests that seniors should include four types of exercises: exercises for strength, endurance, flexibility, and balance to stay fit.
What kinds of exercises are included in physical therapy?
Physical therapy includes therapeutic exercises. These exercises are designed to restore flexibility and function, decrease pain, and improve strength.
How to judge whether the physical therapy works in your case or not?
There are two things you need to judge while checking out if physical therapy is working for you or not. These are your progress in your condition and your movement. But above all, you should judiciously follow your therapist’s instructions. If you are committed to doing everything prescribed, you should check your range of motion. If it has not improved, you should talk to your therapist. And if you are not happy with the treatment plan, there is no harm in taking a second opinion.
Is physical therapy painful?
Yes, of course. Any exercise that is new to your body is painful for a bit. And if you have gone through some major surgery, then it is even more painful. But, trust your therapist. Physical therapy will cause discomfort and soreness. But in the end, it is good for your recovery, and it will train your body to be normal again.
How do we encourage seniors to do their therapy exercises?
Over time, life makes seniors a little adamant. They don’t listen to anything that questions their thoughts and beliefs. But we must encourage them to exercise regularly. Explain the advantages of exercising, like it builds endurance, balance, flexibility, and strengthens muscles. Set goals for seniors, and take them to senior citizen groups in your society that are into exercising.
What is the effect of therapeutic exercises on seniors?
Exercises of any sort are essential and great for you. It should be a part of your daily routine. Once you start ageing, it becomes even more important. There are five notable benefits of therapeutic exercises for seniors. These are:
- Exercises help in preventing diseases.
- Exercises are known to improve your mental health.
- Seniors are prone to accidents like falling. Exercising reduces such issues.
- You can build a good social circle while you engage in such activities.
- It improves the declining cognitive abilities of seniors.