Senior Therapy is a growing field of therapy concentrating on both the physical and mental health of elderly individuals. As we grow older, our bodies and minds tend to fail us in a number of ways. From decreased memory to debilitating pain, there are very few senior citizens lucky enough to forego the effects of old age.
Senior therapy seeks to improve our lives, and the lives of our aged friends and family through physical and psychological treatment. Are you considering senior therapy for yourself or a loved one? Keep reading to discover why this cutting-edge form of therapy is so important, what types of senior therapy are available, and where you can find senior therapy near you.
To reinforce the need for senior therapy, let’s look at some staggering statistics regarding age-related injury and illness:
- According to the NCOA (National Council on Aging), one in four American seniors aged 65+ fall each year.
- Falls are the leading cause of injury resulting in hospital admission in older adults.
- There is a 5%-7% chance of developing dementia after age 60, that jumps to 25%-50% after age 85 (alz.co.uk).
- Several conditions known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease also increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. As many as 80 percent of individuals with Alzheimer’s also have cardiovascular disease (Alzheimer’s Association, alz.org).
- Keeping consistent and strong social connections and maintaining a mentally active lifestyle while aging can lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.
As you can see, these statistics represent just the tip of the iceberg when highlighting senior injury and illness. That’s where the importance of senior therapy comes into play! Through therapy seniors can reduce the risk of injury, re-injury or illness. Senior therapy also plays an integral role in alleviating the symptoms of age-related ailments including chronic pain, cardiovascular disease, dementia, Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis (MS), and depression.
Different Types of Senior Therapy
There are several different types of therapy available specifically to seniors. The term “therapy” is broad and involves anything from major physical rehabilitation (like what someone would need after a stroke), to group counseling to help treat depression.
photo of elderly man resting after a walk (seniorguidance.org)
Here are the most utilized types of therapy for the elderly:
Occupational is a varied therapy practice focused on helping seniors independently perform everyday tasks as a result of stroke, injury, arthritis, or dementia. This includes fine-motor tasks like eating, drinking, and hygiene practices that demand small and precise movements.
Physical therapy for seniors is generally broken up into several specialties: Geriatric, orthopedic, cardiopulmonary, and neurological. Combined, these assist in the recovery of illnesses including Alzheimer’s, heart attack, and broken bones. The goal is to strengthen/restore muscles and bones, increase fitness/mobility, and reduce pain (asccare.com/4-types-physical-therapy-seniors/).
This senior therapy is lesser known, but crucial to those stricken with breathing complications. Respiration therapy addresses breathing problems due to illness of the chest and lungs. Massage and other gentle techniques, along with breathing exercises, are how respiration therapists treat patients.
Those afflicted with dementia, Alzheimer’s, stroke, or other brain-damaging sicknesses are sometimes left with diminished speaking ability. Many elderly individuals are unable to form words, speak coherently, or even eat or drink without the assistance of speech therapy.
In recent years, psychotherapy has been found just as effective for the elderly as it is for the young. Feelings of dependency, loss of loved ones, fear of isolation and death, and more age-related scenarios are examined and addressed by a trusted medical professional (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).
Group therapy is a proven tactic for easing loneliness, fear, and uncertainty associated with aging. Typically led by a medical professional or experienced speaker, group therapy for seniors provides an outlet to not only express deep set feelings and seek advice, but to connect with others in a social setting.
Where can I find Senior Therapy near me?
Now that you know the different types and benefits of senior therapy, it’s time to seek out a therapist near you. The following centers and facilities provide multiple forms of geriatric therapy…
Assisted Living/Memory Care Centers
Assisted Living centers like Sandyside Senior Living in White Lake, MI house full-time residents that require an extra level of care compared to a standard nursing home. The staff will likely include highly trained nurses, MD’s, and nutritionists, as well as several senior therapists. Memory care facilities are specialized assisted living centers focusing on memory-related illness like dementia/Alzheimer’s. Learn about benefits of memory care at: sandysideseniorliving.com/top-5-reasons-to-choose-memory-care-for-dementia-patients/
Facilities like Sandyside that offer memory care are likely to include the option for occupational or speech therapy. These forms of therapy utilize fine-motor and cognitive exercises to enhance the lives of residents. This helps them achieve more independence and control. Image from MyFuture.com
Physical Therapy & Rehab Centers
Improving mobility becomes a daily struggle for those approaching elder years. Physical therapy and rehabilitation centers have long been a trusted destination for improving physical strength, movement, endurance and more. At physical therapy centers, highly educated and trained professionals help seniors by utilizing custom treatment plans including exercises, stretches, and medicine.
This not only helps seniors heal post-injury or illness, but strengthens their bodies for a higher standard of living throughout their golden years. These facilities mainly offer physical therapy, but sometimes offer a variety of senior therapies including speech, respiratory, and occupational. image by Robert T. Shields
Psychotherapists & Support Groups
Mental health is as important for seniors as any other age group. For this reason, many therapists concentrate on geriatric psychotherapy. Not all psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to work with the issues facing elderly individuals including disability, death, family issues, and isolation. Make sure when seeking out a geriatric therapist that they have experience treating seniors. Image above from 59mdw.af.mil
Another emerging form of senior therapy is senior support groups. Support groups tackle key issues facing the elderly and their loved ones. Topic matter may include dementia, finances, loss of mobility, and death. These support groups are typically led by a clinical psychologist and expert in the field of social work. Support groups are commonly organized by nursing homes, assisted living facilities, community centers, and churches, and are open to the public free of charge.
LEARN MORE ABOUT SENIOR THERAPY AT SANDYSIDE IN SOUTHEAST MICHIGAN:
VISIT SANDYSIDE SENIOR LIVING TODAY
PHONE: (248) 698-3700