Physiotherapy and Aged Care
What is the first thing you think of when you think of “physiotherapy”? Some may think of a clinic treating injuries or a hospital, whilst others may think of disabilities. These are all valid, and areas where physiotherapists are plenty. But what about physiotherapy and aged care?
Australians are becoming older, retiring later, and living at home for longer. As we get older, we tend to experience some effects from the aging process. These include:
- Reduced bone density
- Reduced muscle mass
- Decreased cardiovascular fitness
- Increased risk for chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis and diabetes.
- Increased risk of falls.
Aged care services are therefore becoming increasingly important to assist older adults in maintaining their independence and autonomy to support a joyful and active lifestyle. Regardless of your goals, big or small, there is always someone who can help you achieve them!
When working with a community physiotherapist, flexibility is the name of the game! Therapy can take place at home, at an aged care residence, at a local park, at the pools or even at the gym. Once your goals are outlined, together, you and the physiotherapist will organize the best plan to tick them off, one by one.
A physiotherapist can support you by providing you with an individualized and targeted approach that empowers you to live life on your own terms. Whether it be through an exercise program, education, or something in between, physiotherapy will help you move better to do the activities you most enjoy. And don’t worry, exercises will always be adapted to suit your needs!
If you find that you need a little extra help to move the way you want to move, a physiotherapist can also help organize appropriate assistive technology that is most suitable for you!
Let’s go through some examples of how a physiotherapist can help you:
Example 1: Marie loves to garden, however, has not been able to garden as much as she would like, as she found that she has been falling over in her backyard.
Firstly, the Physiotherapist would conduct a full assessment including a medical history to identify why Marie has been falling. Physiotherapists are very equipped to provide a falls prevention program to help older adults more safely navigate their environment. Following a thorough assessment, the physio can target the reasons why Marie is falling, provide education on how to garden safely and exercises that improve balance.
Example 2: John is currently living in an aged care retirement village and enjoys weekly outings with his granddaughter to the shopping centre. Recently, he has found that he is taking more frequent breaks, is more out of breath than he used to be and needs to hold onto his granddaughter to feel safe.
The Physiotherapist will complete a thorough assessment including medical details and liaising with John’s GP if necessary. The Physiotherapist will do a physical assessment with John to find out what is affecting his walking. They can provide a strengthening and balance exercise program to help John feel stronger and steadier as well as a walking program to improve his fitness. If the physio finds that a little more support is needed to be safe, they may prescribe assistive technology such as a walking stick or walker.
Example 3: Adam has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his knees and finds it difficult to move around his home and community. He has tried exercises at home before but finds the pain in his knees just keeps increasing.
If land-based exercises are difficult, a Physiotherapist can assess Adam to find out if hydrotherapy is appropriate. After completing an assessment to gain a good understanding of Adam’s function and pain levels, they can organize hydrotherapy sessions at his local pool where exercises in the water will be completed together. The buoyancy and temperature of a hydrotherapy pool makes it easier to complete exercises as pressure in the joints is reduced.
Physiotherapy and Aged Care at National 360
Our physiotherapists at National 360 are a group of passionate individuals who bring a range of knowledge to the aged care space. We provide specialist support to aged care and aged clients, including Home Care packages, falls prevention, & physiotherapy and aged care services.
Alternatively you can contact our friendly team today to find out more about our physiotherapy services on 1300 340 440, or complete an online aged care referral form by clicking here.