An Overview of Physical Therapy and How It Can Help Those with Alzheimer's

March 31, 2023
Physical therapy is a powerful tool for those suffering from Alzheimer's and other age-related ailments. Unfortunately, many seniors do not realize how beneficial physical therapy can be to their physical health and mental well-being in treating this condition. Now that there are a variety of resources available, patients and family members can gain a better understanding of how physical therapy can benefit individuals living with Alzheimer's disease. This post discusses how physical therapists can improve the quality of life for people with dementia or memory loss. In addition, we will explore some of the treatments used by specialized care teams that include physical therapy in their treatment plans for loved ones at all stages of illness.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Especially for those with Alzheimer's disease, physical therapy is an important tool. It helps seniors improve their balance and mobility, reduce their risk of falling, build strength and endurance, and increase their flexibility. 
Exercises used in physical therapy may include: 
  • Coordination and balance
  • Gait training to improve walking ability 
  • Functional activities to maintain daily living skills
  • Posture control exercises to improve body alignment
  •  Joint range-of-motion activities to keep joints flexible and reduce pain
  • Aquatic exercise that improves cardiovascular health 
Physical therapists also help patients manage chronic diseases such as heart failure and diabetes. As a result of Alzheimer's disease, patients may notice changes in their behavior. Physical therapy might help them cope with these changes. In difficult situations, it can provide emotional support and stress relief techniques that can keep the patient comfortable and calm. Physical therapy tailored to the individual's needs and abilities can greatly improve mobility and quality of life for seniors with Alzheimer's disease.

What is Physical Therapy?

Through therapeutic exercise and activities, physical therapy, also known as physiotherapy, helps individuals improve their mobility and quality of life. Patients' needs and goals are taken into account when physical therapists develop treatment plans. 
From restoring basic mobility to helping patients recover after an accident or surgery, physical therapy can achieve some goals. A physical therapist may use a variety of treatments, such as massage, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, stretching, and strengthening exercises, to assist patients in recovering from injury or illness. 
As well as providing tips on maintaining an active lifestyle, they also teach proper body mechanics and posture. Moreover, they can monitor patients' progress throughout treatment to ensure that they are getting the most from physical therapy.

What does a Physical Therapist do?

Physical Therapists (PTs) diagnose and treat physical injuries and certain chronic conditions. PTs use physical techniques such as stretching, exercises, massage, joint mobilization, and postural re-education to treat injuries, diseases, and disabilities. As a result of these treatments, pain is reduced, range of motion is improved, function and mobility are improved, and health is restored. 

A physical therapist's goal is to help patients return to their daily lives with a better quality of life. A physical therapist can work in a wide variety of settings, including hospitals, clinics, rehabilitation centers, long-term care facilities, private practices, schools, and home health agencies. Each patient's treatment plan includes specific goals for recovery and the best approach to achieving them. Moreover, they educate patients on preventive care measures that can prevent future injuries.

Benefits of Physical Therapy for seniors with Alzheimer's

The use of physical therapy has long been used to improve the quality of life of seniors suffering from Alzheimer's. Seniors with Alzheimer's can benefit from physical therapy by increasing their range of motion, flexibility, and strength. Additionally, it can reduce the risk of falls by improving balance and coordination. In addition, physical therapy can support seniors with health issues associated with Alzheimer's such as poor posture, poor circulation, or limited mobility.

Each individual's needs are addressed with a variety of techniques in physical therapy. Performing therapeutic exercises such as stretching and strengthening can help improve mobility and flexibility while providing valuable exercise that may reduce limitations caused by Alzheimer's disease. A major component of physical therapy for those with Alzheimer's is balance exercises that concentrate on alignment, coordination, and strength. In addition to improving memory and concentration, arm-and-leg exercises can also challenge cognitive skills.

Among the many activities seniors with Alzheimer's disease can participate in, aquatic therapy has been shown to provide both physical and psychological benefits. As water is naturally calming, it is ideal for reducing stress, which is especially important for those living with Alzheimer's, as they often experience anxiety due to confusion or changes in routine. As well as providing muscle tension without adding strain to joints, aquatic therapy also provides a gentle means of resistance that facilitates the performance of exercises that may otherwise be difficult for older adults.

People living with Alzheimer's disease may benefit from a wide range of physical therapy solutions that might improve their overall well-being safely and effectively, allowing them to remain independent for a longer period than if left untreated.
Physical therapy can also help them sleep better, have less pain, and even improve their mood. If you are a caregiver for someone with Alzheimer's, there is help and hope available. BrightStar Care has a team of professional caregivers ready to discuss your loved one's care needs and develop a plan tailored to their needs. Call us today to get started!

Contact BrightStar Care of Kissimmee Today! 

BrightStar Care of Kissimmee Osceola provides a team of professionals ready to care for you and your loved ones. We understand the challenges faced by caregivers and are committed to providing compassionate care that meets the needs of those we serve. If you would like more information about our services, please visit our website or call us today at 407-572-0070. It will be a pleasure to meet you and your family, and we look forward to providing you with the care and support you need.

Our office proudly serves the greater Kissimmee area in Osceola County, just outside of Orlando, Florida at 3383 W. Vine St., Suite 307 Kissimmee, FL 34741. We look forward to hearing from you!