According to the CDC, more than one-third of adults 65 and older fall each year in the United States and 20% to 30% of people who fall suffer moderate to severe injuries. But there is help out there from Physical therapists who can assist older adults through education and exercise that will help seniors to understand that there are some simple things you can do to help reduce falls and prevention injuries.
Over the years, physical therapy was perceived as a healthcare service most people believed you utilized only after you were injured. But Physical therapists offer much more value than most people even realize, especially to the older adult community to keep them safe and independent. PT's are working hard to change this misconception and their profession by including preventive strategies that help to reduce injuries altogether.
Physical therapists are highly trained health care professionals and have expertise in movement and exercise. Their skillset and knowledge base are essential when dealing with the complexities of aging. Physical therapy training includes assessment, exercise prescription, and progression, all with appropriate monitoring. All these skills can be used for older adults before an injury occurs. By working with physical therapists as you age, they can play a key role in the prevention of injury, functional decline, and disability for many older adults.
Physical therapists know that fitness at any age is made up of five key concepts:
Extensive studies have provided norms for each of these categories. By using these guidelines to determine what is normal for older adults of similar age and gender physical therapists can explain how a patient’s circumstances compare with their peers’. More importantly, a physical therapist can assess results against important thresholds related to falls, disability, and even mortality. When areas of concern are identified, a PT can prescribe individualized exercises to strengthen key muscles, improve balance and flexibility, and increase your overall wellbeing.
You will definitely want to include PTs in your list of options and resources for aging well. The knowledge and expertise they provide can prevent or reduce issues before they arise, and make it easier for you to stay healthy and independent.
For more information on “Healthy Aging” contact Advanced Practice Physical Therapy at 406-770-3171 or go online at www.advancedpracticept.com