Physical Therapy Helps over Long Term

Physical therapyQuestion: My mother is now 86 and I can tell she is not so steady on her feet and is scared she will fall and hurt herself. Can she get more Physical Therapy or is it only after a hospital/rehab stay?

Rory, B.  Rockaway Beach

Reply: Thank you for your question Rory and you have cause to be concerned about falling. Half of seniors in their eighties will likely fall and no one wants to see an injury or fracture.

Physical Therapy is a great way to help your mother gain strength in her legs, improve balance and gait. They will also show her exercises she can continue one it ends. Also, she will be evaluated to see whether she could benefit from using a cane or walker. If she currently uses either device, they will check that it is the right type and fits her correctly.

She or anyone on Medicare, doesn’t need to be in the hospital or rehab in order to have Physical Therapy, it only requires a Doctor’s order.  Medicare A will cover at 100% for PT at home if your mother is homebound or it is difficult for her to get out. She can also go to outpatient Physical Therapy at a Center under Medicare B and her supplemental.

Gaining Strength and Meeting People

Another big plus of going to an outpatient Physical Therapy center is the social aspect of it. Not only are you in a room full of people who are also working to regain their strength and balance or relearn things lost to a stroke or other illness, you are there with others who understand what you are going through. There are usually young or youngish therapists wither physical or occupational who are working with other people so the atmosphere is one of positive energy and comradery. These things ought not to be underestimated as positives in the healing process.

Periodical Physical Therapy “tune-ups” are a very good idea to help seniors stay steady on their feet.