Recovery after any form of injury, illness or surgical procedure can take time and a successful recovery depends on a willingness to help yourself by following the instructions given to you by medical professionals. More often than not physiotherapy will play a large part in recovering from injury as it helps to keep muscles flexible and enables a faster return to full mobility. Elderly people especially benefit from physiotherapy according to research by the Live-in Care Hub. (www.liveincarehub.co.uk).
Physiotherapy at Home
When devising an exercise programme for older people, a professional physiotherapist will always take into account their confidence levels as well as their physical limitations. A recent Better At Home report recommends that by following NHS guidelines which states that older people benefit from moderate strength and aerobic exercises and an injured older person can achieve good results in the comfort of their own home.
After a fall, a stroke or where the elderly person is experiencing dizzy spells it is recommended that they start their rehabilitation through simple chair exercises. These could include lifting the arms into the air and down again, then out to the side and down again. Ankle rotations and gentle leg lifts all help blood circulation and muscle strength. Twisting from side to side whilst sitting, shoulder shrugs and head turns all help flexibility. To improve posture and open up the chest they may find that shoulder blade squeezes are an easy exercise to try. Resistance bands and light hand weights also help to strengthen muscles.
These can only be carried out with the help of one or more people standing by either side of the elderly person. When there is a loss of confidence either because of dizzy spells or because of a previous fall it’s vital that they be encouraged to stand and take a few steps where possible. Helpers at either side who can provide gentle support are essential so that the person doesn’t feel that they are going to fall again. If they are able to bear weight on their legs for any length of time tai chi movements can help to improve balance and flexibility without straining any muscles.
Seek Professional Advice
If your elderly relative has received care and follow up physiotherapy in hospital, they will no doubt be given an instruction sheet showing how to continue their rehabilitation at home. They must be encouraged to do this and if necessary a series of home visits by a physiotherapist who specialises in devising and implementing physiotherapy programmes for the elderly could be arranged. This will give your elderly relative the best chance of a long lasting recovery.
Finding a Physiotherapist
If the elderly person has been in hospital, follow up physiotherapy will be arranged for them. Otherwise you can contact your local GP or health centre who can recommend a private physiotherapist. Getting the right help when it is required can save problems becoming worse over time, and your elderly relative may well thank you for getting them some physio if they see a marked improvement in mobility.