October is National Physical Therapy Month and Kansas City Home Care, Inc. recognizes the importance that physical therapy plays in the lives of older adults. The proportion of older Americans (age 65 and older) will likely reach 20.6 percent in 2050, compared with 8.3 percent in 1950. As America ages, the need for physical therapy will become increasingly important.
According to the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), physical therapy can restore or increase strength, range of motion, flexibility, coordination, and endurance –as well as reduce pain. Another important role is to retrain the patient to do everyday tasks.
Physical therapists receive specialized training in physics, human anatomy and kinesiology (human movement) and are trained in managing all four of the body’s major systems – musculoskeletal, neuromuscular, cardiovascular / pulmonary, and integumentary (skin). They utilize their training and knowledge of human anatomy to restore and maximize mobility.
Physical therapists can work with you on your exact condition and develop an effective and personalized plan of care. The benefits of physical therapy are many and here are areas in which they can improve your mobility:
· Reduce the Risk of Injury
Everyday activities can result in an injury due to abnormal movement, stress on joints and stain on muscles. Because physical therapists are experts in knowing how the body works, they can design personalized plans to reduce the risk of injury in everyday activities or sports.
· Improve Balance and Prevent Falls
Falls are among the most prevalent and dangerous injury affecting the elderly. According to the National Aging Council, about one in three seniors above age 65, and nearly one in two seniors over the age of 80, will fall at least once a year, many times with disastrous consequences. Physical therapists can help seniors prevent falls by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait.
· Recover from Stroke
According to the American Heart Association, stroke is the number three cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of serious long-term disability. Rehabilitation from stroke begins as soon as the stroke survivor is stable, and the physical therapist will develop a customized plan incorporating activities to improve movement, facilitate independence, and help with overall quality of life.
· Live with Diabetes
Statistics from the American Diabetes Association show that diabetes affects approximately 24 million adults and children in the United States. Physical therapists can work with diabetics to design a program that controls glucose and fights complications of the disease such as loss of movement. Aerobic exercise combined with strength training is recommended for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. People with diabetes have reduced muscle mass and, as a result, mobility. Adding resistance training to a diabetes treatment program, leads to improved lean tissue which could aid in overall mobility, resting metabolic rate, protein reserve and overall exercise tolerance.
Kansas City Home Care is pleased to recognize October as National Physical Therapy Month. While we don’t have physical therapists on staff, our caregivers are able to help our clients fulfill the exercise regimes and personalized therapy plans recommended by their physical therapists.
Sources: Centers for Disease Control (CDC), National Aging Council, American Heart Association, American Diabetes Association and American Physical Therapy Association.