National Rehabilitation Awareness Week falls from September 16th to the 22nd. It’s a good time to reflect on what you know of rehabilitation services. Do you know what the different therapies involve? Here’s a quick look at rehabilitation therapies.
Occupational therapists specialize in helping seniors and other patients build or regain cognitive, physical, sensory, or visual skills. They help seniors regain skills needed to complete daily activities of living after an illness or injury. Occupational therapy is recommended after a senior citizen is diagnosed with severe arthritis, a neurological disorder, or has a stroke.
Physical therapy also helps regain skills after an illness, but it can help seniors with stamina and balance to prevent falls. People who see physical therapists may have broken a bone, fallen down, or be losing mobility due to arthritis. Physical therapists can assess joints, muscles, and endurance and create an exercise routine to improve movements and stamina.
Respiratory therapists help with breathing. You may find your elderly parent needs a respiratory therapist after a diagnosis of asthma or emphysema. Some even help patients with goals to stop smoking. Respiratory therapists can administer oxygen, help with aerosol breathing treatments, and clear airways when pneumonia is present.
Speech and language pathologists are often recommended to help rebuild language skills following a stroke or head injury. They also help with swallowing skills. After a stroke, it may be hard for a senior to swallow properly. This increases the risk of aspiration pneumonia. A speech/language pathologist can help diagnose and treat difficulties swallowing and help work on speech.
How Can You Help?
-Therapists can do so much. The amount of work they do depends on the situation. After a stroke, your parent may need to move into a nursing home to regain speech and mobility. After a stroke, some people become dependent on wheelchairs and need to learn how to safely use a wheelchair.
-Keeping up with appointments is important. It’s also important that your parent practices the assigned exercises every day. This might be breathing into a device to strengthen lungs each day or completing an exercise routine regularly.
-Some therapists will come to your parent’s home to offer services in a comforting location. It’s not always possible, but you can find out from your mom or dad’s doctor. If home rehabilitation is an option, make sure there is an elderly care specialist working with the therapist to ensure exercises and activities are completed throughout the week.
In addition to supervision while exercising or building skills, caregivers an help with meals, housekeeping, and transportation. Transportation is especially helpful if your parent must be driven to a therapist’s office. Call an elderly care service to learn more.