How many medical therapeutics can you think of that really have no “down side”? If you are prescribed a medication or undergo surgery, there are always risks. If you read the accompanying literature for any medication, the list of possible side effects and risks of interactions with other drugs is very lengthy. If you undergo a medical procedure or surgery, reading the consent form is frightening!
I guess there isn’t anything completely without risk, but in my many years of working with elders, I have yet to observe any adverse effects from receiving Physical Therapy.
I was working with a client recently, a very active 75 year old woman who has had two minor falls. She exercises several days a week by playing tennis and walking and is in good health other than her osteoporosis. Worried about her recent falls, she asked me to put together a program to minimize her risk of falls and injury.
The first thing I recommended was getting a prescription from her doctor for PT. “I wouldn’t qualify for any therapy,” she said, “I didn’t have any injury from my falls”. This is a common misconception that you only qualify for PT if you’re recovering from an injury or surgery. Not true! Medicare will cover a PT evaluation for gait and balance after a fall and probably some ongoing therapy.
A physical therapist can assess your current situation and will set individualized goals to improve balance, gait and restore functional mobility.
Many studies show the value of keeping people affected by dementia up and active. If you observe balance or gait changes, or even minor falls, talk to your health care provider to get some Physical Therapy. The benefits are great, the risks minimal!
If you work in Assisted Living and want
To make your dementia care program even better,
Or if you need assistance in
Planning care for a loved one,
E-mail or call me for a free consultation
Have a great day!
Anne Ellett, N.P., M.S.N.