May 8, 2018
A senior rehabilitation program is generally comprised of three components: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech/language therapy. A team of licensed health care professionals helps seniors recover in a comfortable, healing environment to ensure they can return to the highest level of independence possible.
After a senior has been impaired in some way, whether as the result of an injury, illness or from chronic pain that comes along with aging, physical therapists design an individualized treatment plan to make daily tasks easier and improve quality of life. The main goal of physical therapy is to help reduce pain, increase mobility and restore overall functionality and independence.
For seniors, physical therapy can also treat problems that are part of the aging process, like pain and balance issues or poor muscle strength and endurance. Whether seniors are managing a long-term illness, need assistance with fall recovery or just want to improve their general health and mobility, physical therapy will allow them to retain their independence as much as possible.
Rather than focusing on what they cannot do, occupational therapy for seniors focuses on what the individuals are still capable of doing, and helps them overcome their limitations or challenges. In fact, over one-third of occupational therapists work with older adults who have been affected by illness, injury, disability or a mental health condition.
Through the use of adaptive tools, education, rehabilitation techniques and exercise, occupational therapists encourage the re-learning and improvement of fine motor skills, strength and dexterity to improve life skills and promote participation in everyday life.
When a senior has had a stroke, suffers from dementia, or perhaps is recovering from a head injury after a fall or accident, difficulty with communication is common. Of course, the ability to effectively communicate is vital at any age, but for seniors, it can be absolutely vital. Emergency situations can easily arise when seniors cannot describe what they need, where they are hurt, or what is wrong in general.
The need for speech therapy does not always arise from a disease or accident. Sometimes, the elderly have issues with communication or speech simply due to the aging process; as one grows older, the vocal cords can become less elastic and the larynx muscles can weaken, making it difficult to speak. After a comprehensive speech therapy evaluation is completed, the speech-language pathologist will determine the root of the problem and how to best address it through treatment.
A stay in a rehabilitation facility can last anywhere from a few days to several months. Short-term rehabilitation generally lasts a few days up to one month, and long-term rehabilitation can go for one to three months or even longer. Before leaving the facility, the staff or a social worker will make arrangements for the individual to return home, with the goal being that he or she is able to live as independently as possible.
In the rehabilitation facility, seniors are taught how to manage medications, including how much and how long to take them. They’ll also be instructed on how to continue doing their physical therapy exercises at home, ensuring that strength and mobility will be restored and they’ll be healthier than they were before entering the rehabilitation facility. If necessary, an in-home health aide may be scheduled to stop by and help with post-care.
Franciscan Ministries offers short-term rehabilitative services throughout our communities that are customized to you or your loved one’s needs. Our goal is to restore you to your highest potential and get you back to where you most want to be—home. Contact us today to learn more about how we can improve the quality of life and assist in a healthy aging plan.
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