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physiotherapy for the elderly

Types of Physiotherapy for the Elderly

As people age, their bodies inevitably go through various physical changes. These natural, age-related changes may include reduced muscle strength, reduced bone density, increased fat, and more. These changes are expected among the elderly and can affect their mobility and balance, making them susceptible to falls and injuries.

Older adults are also prone to health conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart diseases, lung diseases, and arthritis. All these can have a significant impact on their daily lives and reduce their independence.

However, many do not accept this inevitable part of aging. While physiotherapists cannot prevent aging, they can help you reduce the impact it has on your aging body and your life in general. They are trained to identify any physical and any other factors that can prevent the elderly from being active and independent and find ways to overcome them.

This can make them ideally placed to help seniors stay as active as possible. In fact, physical therapy services have also been shown to improve numerous factors associated with elders, including strength, balance, coordination, and pain levels. Ultimately, research shows that physical therapy helps seniors to maintain their well-being, resilience, independence, and functional ability.

Importance of physical therapy

Physiotherapy rehabilitation can help older adults to regain their independence, whether it is meant to manage their long-term conditions or they want to improve their general well-being and mobility.

Physiotherapy aims to assist in the restoration and improved functionality, reduced pain, and increased mobility for better balance and strength. Slips and falls are a significant reason why elders may need physiotherapy.

As the people age, they lose the strength, flexibility, and, mostly, their balance. Therefore, it becomes challenging for them to maintain the desired level of fitness. Loss of these functionalities can lead to falls, which in turn can cause severe injuries. Physiotherapy rehabilitation can improve such functions.

Osteoporosis, a progressive bone condition that is characterized by a tremendous decrease in bone mass and density, can cause an increase in fractures. This condition is often the cause of numerous falls. Regular exercise and physical therapy can help to control the effects of this bone condition.

The exercise and strength training offered in the physiotherapy programs can assist in alleviating the severe symptoms of arthritis. Patients with arthritis can benefit from physiotherapy since it provides exercise and training to help preserve the strength and use of body joints. Physical therapy can also teach therapeutic methods used to reduce discomfort by both physical techniques and the modification of activities.

Physiotherapy can be prescribed in many circumstances following a hospital stay. Skipping the post-hospitalization physical therapy can lead to severe consequences.

Types of physiotherapy for elderly

Orthopedic physiotherapy

This type of physical therapy addresses the musculoskeletal injuries that are common in the elderly secondary to falls. The sessions are also designed for seniors who are recovering from orthopedic surgery.

These physiotherapy techniques in the elderly are not rigorous, like those used in conventional therapy centers. These ones are geared to fit in the weaker musculoskeletal systems of the patients. The objective of this physiotherapy is to restore the tendon, ligaments, bone, and joint functioning.

Geriatric physiotherapy

This form of elderly physiotherapy rehabilitation focuses majorly on the needs of the elders. In the elders, the standard conditions for which the physiotherapy is intended to boost the chances of optimal results, which include balancing disorders, joint surgery, osteoporosis, and arthritis.

The geriatric physical therapy is designed in such a way that it increases the patient’s fitness level, restoration of their mobility, and reduction of the overall body aches.

Cardiopulmonary physical therapy

Cardiopulmonary physiotherapy is meant for those suffering from a heart attack. It can also apply to elders with cardiopulmonary problems such as lung cancer, pulmonary fibrosis, and COPD.

This type of physical therapy can boost heart endurance and assist patients in maintaining much functional independence.

Neurological physiotherapy

This type of physical therapy aims at the brain and the seniors’ bodies, making it different from other physiotherapy types.  When the seniors suffer from conditions such as Parkison’s disease, Alzheimer’s infections, or have suffered from severe brain injury, the therapist focuses mainly on teaching the elders to adapt to the visual, balance, mobility, and muscle loss impairment to complete the daily living activities efficiently.

The therapist works on the mind-body relationship, hence assisting the individuals with impairments to move better in their environment. The physiotherapy techniques have shown significant impact in working with brain injuries and other neurological conditions.

Potential repercussions for elders who skip physical therapy


Lack of enough movements due to weakness that could have been improved with physiotherapy can lead to an increased risk of pneumonia infections. Also, there is an increased risk of suffering from skin conditions, which may develop due to inadequate movement.

Reduced education

Education via physiotherapy shows numerous ways to complete daily activities in a more efficient way to help enhance mental and physical well-being and the senior’s quality of life.

Reduced endurance and strength

During recovery after hospitalization, physiotherapy can influence your body strength and endurance that you will have after you finish your sessions. Consequently, this can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure. This leads to decreased oxygen saturation levels, which can cause stroke, heart attacks, and blood clots.

Increased pains

Suppose you are moving because you didn’t take physiotherapy, joints tend to get stiff. A decrease in mobility tends to cause much more pain.


In most cases, after being hospitalized, many people, especially the seniors, tend to be weaker and prone to falls. Failing to go for therapy, especially after hospitalization, can probably lead to falls, which can make you re-hospitalized due to the sustained injuries.

Physical therapies for elders have a wide range of benefits, which can include the balance and overall strength but also offering a renewed sense of confidence. Working with a professional physiotherapist will not only reduce the pain, but it can also help improve the overall strength and the ability to reduce the injury risk. This allows you to maintain a high quality of life.

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