These Geriatric Physical Therapy Exercises Can Prevent Serious Injuries
It’s no secret that elderly people are typically more vulnerable to certain injuries than those that are younger. Numerous factors – such as limited mobility – put them at a greater risk of common accidents, like falls. However, studies show elderly people are also more likely to sustain severe or even life-threatening injuries as a result of such accidents. That’s why it’s extremely important for older adults to mitigate these risks.
Geriatric physical therapy can help. By coordinating with a Geriatric Certified Specialist (GCS) in physical therapy, older adults can learn how to maintain balance and stay safer throughout their daily life.
There are various geriatric physical therapy exercises that may help. Keep in mind that while you may be able to perform them on your own, it’s also smart to work with an expert. A Geriatric Certified Specialist in physical therapy will help you learn how to perform the following movements as safely as possible.
Basic Geriatric Physical Therapy Balance Exercises
Standing on One Leg is a Geriatric Physical Therapy Technique That Tests Balance
Balance disorders are among the leading contributors to injury in elderly people. Thus, learning how to stay balanced is key to avoiding harm.
This doesn’t necessarily involve performing difficult movements. To get started, you can hold onto a chair or other supportive fixture, and balance on one leg. The aim here is to try to maintain the center of gravity of your ankle.
After a few moments, switch to the other side. This basic physical therapy exercise for the elderly helps to provide a baseline idea of how strong your sense of balance currently is.
Wall Push-ups With the Supervision of a Geriatric Specialist in Physical Therapy Improve Balance
Wall push-ups are often effective at helping elderly people strengthen their sense of balance. This geriatric physical therapy exercise involves standing arm’s length from a wall, maintaining a firm footing, and leaning towards the wall (with feet still planted on the ground). Then, perform a basic push-up motion vertically. Repeat approximately 15 times.
You should perform this exercise under the supervision of a Geriatric Certified Specialist in physical therapy first. They can track your form to make any proper adjustments, and make sure you don’t fall when pushing yourself back to original position.
Work With a Certified Specialist in Physical Therapy on Heel to Toe Walk
This is another exercise which should be performed in the presence of someone familiar with geriatric patient centric therapy exercises at first. It involves a degree of movement that can make it challenging when you first attempt it.
Start by placing a length of tape along the floor in a straight line measuring about 10 feet. The goal is to walk across the straight line by bringing the heel of one foot in front of the other foot so it touches the toes. Repeat with the next foot until you have walked the entire length.
The Staggered Stance Geriatric Physical Therapy Exercise Prepares You for Heel to Toe
If the above exercise is too difficult at first, this modified version (also known as “staggered stance”) can help you improve your balance until you’re ready to try the heel to toe walk again.
Place a chair directly next to the length of tape from the previous exercise. Start by standing with your feet together and your hands at your side. Step forward with your right foot if the chair is to your left, or your left foot if the chair is to your right. Bring the heel of the foot to your toes. Keep yourself steady by holding onto the chair with the closest hand.
Remain in this position as long as you feel you can comfortably maintain your balance. Eventually, you’ll reach the point where you’re able to attempt the full heel to toe walk again.
Remember that although these balance exercises help prevent injury, the safest way to learn them is to work with a Geriatric Certified Specialist in physical therapy at first. Studies confirm that elderly people who work with physical therapists to strengthen their balance are less likely to experience such common accidents as falls.
To find a physical therapist that can assist with your or an elderly loved one’s treatment, use the BetterPT website or download the app. By coordinating with a professional Geriatric Certified specialist in physical therapy, you can learn how to keep yourself safe and injury-free for years.