Physical and occupational therapy can be valuable tools to help older adults stay active and maintain independence. These therapeutic modalities focus on improving mobility, strength and functionality, and they can have a positive impact on a senior’s overall quality of life.
During physical and occupational therapies, professionals use a variety of therapeutic modalities to promote healing. Therapeutic modalities refer to the use of therapies such as heat, traction and massage to provide pain relief and enhanced mobility. Common therapeutic modalities include ultrasound, electrical stimulation or TENS, laser and light therapy and kinesiology tape.
Country Meadows Retirement Communities provides in-house physical, occupational and speech therapies, as well as therapeutic modalities, through our partners Powerback Rehabilitation and NovaCare. (NovaCare serves our South Hills campus.) Here’s how therapies can help:
Physical therapists can design exercise programs that target specific areas of weakness or discomfort such as joint pain, muscle weakness or balance problems. These exercises, paired with therapeutic modalities, can help enhance flexibility and range of motion, making it easier for older adults to perform daily activities and regain and maintain their mobility.
Physical therapists develop strength training programs tailored to an individual’s needs and limitations. Strengthening exercises can help prevent muscle loss, improve endurance and make tasks like climbing stairs, getting out of a chair or walking more manageable.
Falls are a significant concern for older adults as they can lead to serious injuries or long-lasting challenges. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one and four older adults fall every year resulting in broken bones, head injuries and other problems.
A physical therapy program helps seniors work on balance and gait training to help improve stability and reduce the risk of falling. Therapeutic modalities help the process by providing healing measures which allow seniors to fully participate in therapy exercises.
Occupational therapy also plays an important role in preventing falls by focusing on enhancing the senior’s mobility and balance by teaching techniques to get in and out of a chair or bed safely and walking on different surfaces.
Therapists educate older adults and their families about how to manage health conditions, prevent injuries and promote overall wellness. This knowledge empowers individuals to take control of their health and maintain an active lifestyle, such as participating in fitness programs designed for older adults.
Country Meadows developed a custom exercise program, Think, Move and Improve, to help seniors maintain strength and endurance to keep moving despite illnesses such as Parkinson’s disease and other challenges of aging. Modifications are offered for all ability levels so everyone can participate in the program that provides benefits for all participants.
Many older adults deal with chronic pain, often related to conditions such as arthritis or injuries. Physical therapists may use therapeutic modalities to reduce discomfort and increase an individual’s willingness to participate in physical therapy exercises.
Occupational therapy focuses on maintaining an older adult’s ability to perform everyday tasks, known as activities of daily living, such as dressing and bathing. Therapeutic modalities help individuals adapt to physical or cognitive changes, providing aids, adaptive devices and teaching techniques to accomplish daily activities more easily.
The benefits of physical and occupational therapy are not short-lived. When followed, therapy can help older adults build strength and resilience over time which can support an active lifestyle.
Country Meadows Retirement Communities offers short- and long-term assistance with therapies in restorative care at our nine campuses in Pennsylvania and one in Frederick, Md. For information about any of our locations, or to ask a question, please reach out to our expert advisors. We’re here to help!