As seniors age, remaining active becomes increasingly important. Senior living communities and caregivers should consider looking beyond traditional physical therapy options to keep seniors engaged and active.
Seniors are most receptive to physical therapy when caregivers and their therapists develop individualized plans that fit both their lifestyle and interests. Research shows that it is difficult to motivate seniors to begin to exercise if it hasn’t previously been a priority. Integrating modified, low-impact activities, like gardening or yoga, into seniors’ exercise plans increases the likelihood that they will commit to a new, healthy lifestyle and keep it up.
While traditional physical therapy programs usually focus on stretching, weight training, balance exercises and aquatic therapy, more progressive programs, like those provided at Plantation South Duluth, incorporate non-traditional exercise elements. One of our residents recently began a physical therapy regimen focused on gardening, one of her favorite pastimes. The physical therapy team worked with her to demonstrate what exercises she can incorporate into her daily gardening and pointed out others that she can accomplish simply by engaging in the activity.
It’s important for every caregiver to understand that physical therapy isn’t and shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all program. In order for seniors to commit to live healthy, active lifestyles, their caregivers must both encourage and assist in developing a physical therapy and exercise regimen that works for them.