The Benefits of Rehab for the Elderly

For an older adult, an accident or medical incident is just the beginning of a long road to recovery. Once the initial injury has healed (and sometimes while the healing takes place), doctors will often recommend a course of rehabilitation treatment. This rehab therapy can make a world of difference in both the speed and success of an elderly patient’s recovery.

Believe it or not, in many cases, rehabilitation can bring the patient back to the very same levels of cognitive and physical performance they had before their injury. In other cases, it greatly mitigates the injury’s effects and helps prevent future injury.

Rehab for the elderly can take many forms; we’ll explore how it can help a patient after various common incidents.

Fall or Fracture

Falls are common among older adults, often resulting in hip fractures or knee injuries. Without rehabilitation, these injuries could all but reduce the patient to a wheelchair for the rest of his or her life. Thanks to rehab therapy, however, many patients fully regain their mobility or come close to it after a fall.

Aside from helping patients regain their physical abilities, rehab also has a large psychological component, helping the patient regain confidence in completing everyday tasks. Many older people struggle with coming to terms that they can no longer do some of the things they used to do with ease. Rehab helps confront these feelings head on, providing a welcome outlet for the patient to talk about his fears and concerns with a qualified professional.

Studies have shown that rehab is often the first step for doctors in identifying new or existing psychosocial issues, as well as helping deal with geriatric depression.

Stroke

After a stroke, proper rehabilitation plays a critical role in helping the patient regain a semblance of a normal life. In fact, thanks to modern medicine and rehab practices, the large majority of people who suffer from a stroke continue to live happy, healthy lives for a decade or more.

A stroke can have serious effects on a patient’s physical and mental capabilities; physical, occupational and speech therapists help the patient re-learn to talk, walk communicate and perform ordinary tasks once again. What’s more, rehab therapy after a stroke reduces the patient’s future risk for falls and other injuries related to balance and coordination.

Finally, rehab is often a welcome resource for family members struggling to adapt to their loved one’s changing medical needs. A therapist can talk family members through their confusion, answer questions and help map out the best course of action for the patient’s wellbeing and overall quality of life.

People are living well into their 80’s and 90’s while maintaining a high level of physical and mental ability, and it’s thanks largely in part to the advanced rehabilitation techniques we have at our disposal.