physiotherapy benefits for elderly

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why do the elderly need physiotherapy?

Older adults are more vulnerable to issues related to psychiatric, cognitive, and physical aspects. Their needs and challenges are complex and unique that need to be handled with utmost care. 

In people above the age of 60 years, cardiovascular, neurological, and musculoskeletal problems are commonly found. Some of the most common health issues found in the elderly, also known as geriatric syndromes, include:

  • Urinary incontinence : Refers to the involuntary loss of urine, commonly known as the inability to control one’s bladder.
  • Frailty : It is a state characterized by reduced strength, endurance, and overall physical resilience, often associated with aging or chronic illness.
  • Hearing loss :  It is the reduced ability to hear sounds, speech, or specific frequencies, which may be partial or complete and can occur gradually or suddenly.
  • Cataract : Refers to a clouding of the eye’s lens, causing blurred vision, glare, or

          decreased visual clarity, often leading to vision impairment if left untreated.

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease : It is a long-term respiratory condition   characterized by breathing difficulties, coughing, wheezing, and chest tightness due to obstructed airflow in the lungs. It typically includes conditions such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis : It is an autoimmune disorder causing joint inflammation, stiffness, pain, and swelling, often leading to joint damage and disability if untreated.
  • Diabetes : It is a chronic metabolic disorder characterized by high blood sugar levels due to either insufficient insulin production or the body’s ineffective use of insulin, leading to various health complications if unmanaged.
  • Depression : It is a mental health condition marked by persistent feelings of sadness, loss of interest or pleasure, changes in sleep or appetite, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, often affecting daily life and functioning.
  • Dementia : It refers to a range of cognitive impairments affecting memory, thinking, behavior, and the ability to perform everyday tasks, often associated with aging or certain neurological conditions.
  • Ulcers : It refer to open sores or lesions that develop on the skin, mucous membranes, or lining of the gastrointestinal tract, typically caused by infection, inflammation, or digestive disturbances.

Injuries related to falls and accidents

  • Delirium : It is a sudden and severe state of confusion characterized by changes in awareness, attention, cognition, and perception, often caused by illness, medications, or other medical conditions.

What’s more worrying is that a large part of the senior population suffers from several of these issues at the same time making the treatment more complicated. 

how does physiotherapy work for the elderly?

Several elders wonder about how physiotherapy works for their specific problems. Not only does physiotherapy play a critical role in the management of their problems but physiotherapy for senior citizens has already become a a speciality study. 

Besides suffering from cardiovascular and skeletal problems, many issues in the aged population occur because the patient does not simply use their limbs. The level of physical activity and daily exercise is extremely low. 

Whether an older person turns to physiotherapy as a treatment after suffering an injury or a disease, others may be referred to it by their doctors for specific problems, this is how you need to approach physiotherapy:

  • Once you discuss your symptoms with your doctor, she/he will refer you to a physiotherapist. 
  • The first visit to the physiotherapist is usually about an assessment of your medical history, a detailed discussion about the symptoms, and the range of physical abilities that you have. 
  • The therapist will then examine the concerned area, detail your condition to you, and develop a treatment plan for you. 

what are the benefits of physiotherapy for seniors?

The benefits of geriatric physiotherapy are well-established in solving, preventing, treating, and managing a range of issues. Elderly physiotherapy is especially important in:

  • Treatment of pains: Physiotherapy is effective in alleviating pains in the neck, back, and joints that occur commonly in seniors. It helps in increasing blood flow, flexibility, mobility, and core strength. 
  • Improved bone strength: Since several seniors suffer from reduced bone density diseases like arthritis and osteoporosis and an increase in the risk of fractures and fall, strength training can greatly help them. It helps in training them on not only how to strengthen their joints but also how and where to use this strength. It also improves the range of motion in the joints and muscles.
  • Building strength: Seniors are a risk of fall-related injuries and physiotherapy helps in building strength to maintain core balance and independence to avoid falls.
  • Better heart health: Exercising has proved to have a great impact on not only preventing cardiac diseases but also in their management and treatment. Engaging in physiotherapy daily can help reduce the possibility of strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, arrhythmia, coronary artery disease, etc.
  • Mental health benefits: One of the most important physiotherapy benefits is the alleviation of pain, reduction in joint stiffness, and treatment of other problems. This has a direct impact on reducing pain-related anxiety and depression. 
  • Getting independent: Since physiotherapy helps in building strength, makes you more mobile, it has a great impact on the level of independence and the quality of life without having to depend too much on others. This has a huge impact on the positive and long-term rehabilitation of elderly patients.

what are the types of exercises that help the elderly?

Depending on the conditions that you suffer from and the severity of its symptoms, your physiotherapy sessions will combine an assortment of therapies. Some of the most common types of rehabilitation exercises for elderly include: 

  • Manual therapies: These include massaging the muscles and the body’s tissues to help the patient in relaxing, improving the blood circulation, improving flexibility, and relieving pain and discomfort. This also includes mobilization or the use of slow movements to twist & pull joint and manipulation that uses fast movements. 
  • Heat therapy: This is a great way to relax stiff muscles and improve blood circulation. This is very beneficial for people suffering from osteoarthritis and conditions that immobilize seniors. 
  • Cold therapy: This is beneficial for people suffering from bone diseases like arthritis, etc. and helps in relieving pain, swelling, and inflammation. 
  • Electrotherapy: Beneficial for stroke and arthritis patients, electrical stimulation is a great way to reduce pain quickly.
  • Hydrotherapy: Water aerobics is a great way to heal soft tissues, improve the flow of blood, and relaxing the body. 

where can seniors get physiotherapy?

There are several settings where the elderly can avail of physiotherapy. These include:

  • Hospitals.
  • Outpatient clinics.
  • Pulmonary rehabilitation centres.

However, for the elderly, home visits by therapists work the best since they are more convenient and do away with the hassles of travelling. This not only reduces the chances of falls but is also cost-effective. Since the elderly are treated in the comfort of their house, there is low stress and chances of healing faster. 

what is the role of a physiotherapist?

When it comes to geriatric rehabilitation, the role of the therapist becomes extremely critical. This is due to the delicate and complex nature of health conditions in this age group. The benefits of having a physio at home for elderly include:

  • She/he will take a wide range view of the patient, their medical history, activities, and environment to create a customised treatment plan specific to the needs of the patient. 
  • The therapist will include a wide range of complementary approaches to alleviate the health issues effectively instead of having a single approach. This helps the patient in healing faster. 
  • She/he will keep the therapy programme dynamic to adapt it to the ability of the patient. 
  • She/he will educate about the risks associated with certain sets of exercises that can prove detrimental or dangerous. 
  • Besides exercises, the therapist will also guide the patient on managing a good lifestyle, planning their diet, and provide postural education. All these have a great impact on improving the outlook of the patient and enhancing her/his wellness.

how can we help?

Our skilled physiotherapists, specializing in elderly care, not only show the right exercises but also provide close monitoring and assistance during their performance, guaranteeing effective treatment and support. These experts excel in demonstrating and leading patients through targeted physiotherapy exercises designed specifically for the elderly.

Choosing Portea means more than accessing  service such as physiotherapy for elderly; it’s finding a partner committed to your recovery and overall well-being. Our comprehensive array of high-quality healthcare services includes doctor consultations, medical equipment, nursing home care, and dedicated caretakers. Depend on us for elite healthcare solutions, personalized to meet your specific needs.


What are common conditions in elderly physiotherapy? 

Common conditions in elderly physiotherapy include arthritis, osteoporosis, balance disorders, joint replacements, stroke recovery, Parkinson’s disease, and decreased mobility due to aging. Physiotherapy for seniors often focuses on pain relief, strength training, flexibility, balance improvement, and maintaining functional independence.

Are there tailored exercises or routines designed specifically for seniors in physiotherapy sessions?

Yes, physiotherapy sessions for seniors often involve tailored exercises and routines specifically designed to address their needs and abilities. These exercises are customized to enhance strength, flexibility, balance, and mobility while considering any existing health conditions or limitations the seniors may have. The physiotherapist creates these routines to improve overall functionality and independence in daily activities for older individuals.

What muscle issues frequently affect the elderly?

Muscle conditions in older adults encompass various ailments. The prevalent one is sarcopenia, involving a decline in muscle mass and strength. Less frequent are muscle disorders attributed to inflammation, infections, toxins, or genetic elements.

What leads to the decline in leg strength among the elderly?

The primary cause is age-linked sarcopenia or muscle loss associated with aging. Inactive individuals may experience up to a 3% to 5% reduction in muscle mass every decade past 30. Despite being physically active, some muscle loss is inevitable.

What cognitive and mental health advantages might older adults gain from physiotherapy sessions?

Physiotherapy for older adults can offer various cognitive and mental health benefits. Engaging in physical activity through tailored exercises can enhance cognitive function, including memory, attention, and processing speed. Regular physical activity also contributes to improved mood, reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety, and enhanced overall mental well-being.

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