All You Need to Know About Physical Therapy for Seniors
Are you an elderly adult looking for “geriatric physical therapy near me”?
Or, perhaps you’re an adult child with aging parents who could benefit from in-home physical therapy for seniors.
As we age, it’s not uncommon to need physical therapy after an injury or surgery. It’s also a great way to regain strength, restore flexibility, or manage chronic pain. But for elderly adults, getting to and from a PT appointment can be challenging.
Fortunately, there are geriatric therapists that will perform physical therapy in the comfort of an aging senior’s home.
In-home geriatric physical therapy (physical therapy for older adults) provides a host of benefits for older people, ranging from:
- Maintaining fitness
- Preventing falls
- Reducing symptoms of arthritis
- Assisting with recovery from a stroke
Are you interested in learning more about physical therapists that come to your home?
In this article, we’ll explore the field of geriatric physical therapy and answer questions such as:
- Are there different types of physical therapy for elderly adults?
- What is geriatric physical therapy?
- How does physical therapy for elderly patients benefit seniors?
- Is physical therapy for seniors covered by insurance?
Keep scrolling to learn all about in-home geriatric physical therapy.
The Different Types of Therapy for the Elderly
The field of physical therapy (PT) is broad and can focus on particular therapeutic needs. Some examples of physical therapy subtypes include:
- Occupational Physical Therapy: Occupational therapy promotes recovery from work-related injuries, restoring mobility necessary to perform occupational tasks.
- Hand Physical Therapy: This kind of therapy includes everything from the hand to the upper arm. Anytime someone has an injury to their hand or arm, hand physical therapy can help regain full use and range of motion.
- Rehabilitative Physical Therapy: Rehabilitation focuses on recovery after a surgery or injury to help regain muscle strength and range of motion.
- Neurological Physical Therapy: This kind of physical therapy helps those with dementia or other neurological conditions improve their mobility, coordination, and balance as their brain changes.
However, in our article, we’re focussing specifically on geriatric physical therapy—physical therapy for older adults. PT for elderly adults often includes aspects of each type of PT talked about above.
What is Geriatric Physical Therapy?
The goal of physical therapy for older adults is to keep elderly seniors healthy, active, and strong as they age. Geriatric physical therapists assist elderly people in exercises, stretches, and activities that help retain or restore mobility and strength.
First, these eldercare physical therapists assess their patients and create a personalized care plan specific to the clients’ needs. Then, they introduce a series of exercises to help the client reach their goals.
Geriatric physical therapists make it easy and safe for aging seniors to perform exercises by:
- Providing special equipment
- Spotting during exercises
- Guiding the pace appropriately
Though physical therapy is usually performed in an onsite clinic, some PT practices offer the convenience of in-home physical therapy for seniors.
What is In-Home Physical Therapy for Seniors?
In-home physical therapy for seniors is a form of PT in which a physical therapist goes to a client’s home instead of the client going to an office. It allows the aging adult to get hands-on help and assistance in the comfort of their home—the place they spend the most time.
PT at home is convenient for aging adults, especially those who:
- Can’t drive themselves to physical therapy
- Find it difficult to leave the house
- Need exercises that translate well to their home environment
The ease and convenience of in-home physical therapy make it a valuable service for elderly adults.
The Top 5 Benefits of In-home Physical Therapy for Seniors
Geriatric physical therapy addresses elderly physical therapy needs. Sometimes these needs are brought about by an accident, injury, or illness. Other times, it’s simply age-related.
Regardless of why an elderly adult requires PT, there are many benefits of physical therapy for older adults.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the primary benefits of physical therapy for seniors.
1. Maintaining Mobility
As adults age, it’s common to grow stiff and start to lose coordination, strength, and agility. Additionally, if an individual’s lifestyle becomes more sedentary, it’s easy to lose muscle tone, bone density, and flexibility.
Elderly physical therapy helps aging adults maintain:
- Muscle strength
- Range of motion
- Bone density
Staying fit goes a long way in maintaining health and independence—allowing seniors to age in place more comfortably.
2. Compensating for Age-related Conditions
The second benefit of geriatric physical therapy is to help with certain health conditions common in older adults.
For example, physical therapy for seniors can help reduce the symptoms of:
- Some cancers
When a senior engages in elderly physical therapy, they’re taking both preventative and proactive measures against these common conditions.
3. Managing Pain
Another benefit of physical therapy for older adults is pain management.
Many older adults endure chronic pain as a result of various health conditions. Physical therapy can reduce pain symptoms, which in turn, can reduce dependence on medications. Some doctors even prescribe physical therapy for elderly patients instead of pain meds.
Utilizing physical therapy for pain management means fewer pills to keep track of and fewer prescriptions to pay for.
4. Preventing Falls
Falling is one of the greatest dangers aging adults face, as:
- 1 out of 5 times a person falls, it causes a serious injury (e.g., broken bones or head trauma)
- Injuries from falling send 3 million older adults to the emergency room each year
- It causes more than 95% of hip fractures
The best way to avoid falling is to prevent it before it happens.
So, how can elderly adults go about taking proactive measures against falls?
One great way to prevent falls is through geriatric physical therapy. Physical therapy for seniors helps them stay strong, keep their balance, and maintain their fitness.
In addition, a physical therapist that comes to your home can teach an elderly adult how to walk with a cane or other assistive device properly.
5. Recovering After an Injury or Surgery
When a senior does break a bone or need surgery, the affected limb is often immobilized for some time. This extended immobilization can often lead to:
- Loss of muscle strength
- Reduced bone density
- Stiffened joint
- Decreased endurance
Physical therapy for seniors helps is an excellent way to restore and rebuild strength and mobility, as it can help an elderly adult regain full use of their limb after a surgical procedure.
Is Physical Therapy Covered by Insurance?
Geriatric physical therapy provides many benefits to seniors, but the cost may be an issue for some older adults.
So, is physical therapy for older adults covered by insurance?
The good news is that outpatient physical therapy is covered by Medicaid and most other insurance providers in Virginia. As long as a doctor prescribes PT, most providers cover:
- Short- and long-term therapy
- Physical therapy in a medical setting
- Physical therapy in a home setting
However, it’s always best to check with your own insurance provider to confirm what is or isn’t covered.
Get In-Home “Geriatric Physical Therapy Near Me” Today
Physical therapy is a way for individuals to get professional assistance with mobility, strength, and endurance exercises, and geriatric physical therapy is PT specifically geared towards aging adults.
In addition, in-home therapy for seniors makes physical therapy more convenient and accessible for adults as they age. It allows them to get valuable hands-on help as they recover from surgery or learn to walk with a cane.
With geriatric physical therapy at home, elderly adults receive expert assistance:
- Maintaining mobility
- Compensating for age-related conditions
- Managing pain
- Preventing falls
- Recovering after an injury or surgery
If you’re looking for the best “in-home physical therapy for seniors near me” in the Richmond or Charlottesville areas, Commonwise Home Care is here for you.
Commonwise Home Care offers exceptional in-home physical therapy for seniors. We have a team of licensed geriatric physical therapists that come to your house and create a personalized care plan for you. Whether you’re recovering from an injury or simply want to be more confident moving around, our PT clinic is fully licensed and offers a broad range of therapies.
Stop searching for “geriatric physical therapy near me” and contact our Richmond or Charlottesville branches to get the best in-home PT for elderly adults in the area.