Rehabilitation Therapy for Seniors: What You Need to Know
When your parent or other aging loved one is dealing with a serious health issue, nothing matters more than finding the best care available. While most are familiar with the basic concept of rehabilitation, it can be a real challenge to know what kind of care your loved one needs – and where you can find it. If someone in your life needs a safe and effective way to recover after a surgery, acute illness, stroke or other common health issue, senior rehabilitation therapy could be the solution.
It’ll be easier to help out your loved one when you understand the types and benefits of senior rehabilitation therapy – including the ways it can restore functionality and help your loved one recover from an injury or illness.
What Kinds of Care Are There?
Senior rehabilitation takes all the common elements you’d find at a regular inpatient rehabilitation facility and gears them toward older adults’ particular needs. For all of the three core types of rehabilitation therapies – physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy – the goal is to restore lost functionality, reduce the risk to long-term health, and get your loved one back to their life as fast as possible.
Physical therapy is focused on strengthening the body, improving flexibility and allowing the affected part of the body to bounce back. It’s most commonly employed after a surgery or to aid recovery after a serious injury. For seniors, you’ll often see it used to help them adapt to a hip replacement or to get moving again after a fall. Physical therapists design strength training regimens and exercise programs to restore range of motion.
Speech therapy for seniors is often employed for post-stroke rehabilitation and helps affected seniors rebuild the brain pathways that control speech – but it can be used to treat any neurodegenerative disorder affecting speech, swallowing or other related health issues.
It’s important to remember that different therapies are frequently used in combination with one another. For post-stroke or post-surgical recovery, a senior may need physical therapy, speech therapy and the last type we’ll examine today – occupational therapy. What is occupational therapy? It can mean a lot of things – but in this context, occupational therapy is all about finding ways to help seniors safely navigate their daily lives, adapt to health challenges and remain independent.
How to Choose the Right Rehabilitation Center
After you’ve become familiar with the most common therapeutic techniques you’ll find in communities around the country, you’ll want to start thinking about how you’ll evaluate a particular senior living community, rehabilitation center or skilled nursing facility. Here are a few tips and important things to think about as you explore the best options for the senior in your life:
Get your foot in the door.
Looking around for reviews and data about a particular community or skilled nursing facility on the internet prior to your visit serves a lot of useful purposes. If nothing else, you’ll have a better idea of what factors matter most when choosing the right option for your loved one. But it’s no replacement for laying your own eyes on the community, talking to the caregivers and forming your own opinion.
Find out what they focus on.
Care offerings on a pricing sheet don’t always tell the whole story. Some places are more suited to post-surgical recovery, some focus more on long-term skilled nursing, and others offer a good mix of all the options. Also consider whether the community you’re looking at is a stand-alone rehabilitation facility or part of a larger community offering multiple levels of care.
Ask yourself: would I stay here?
Think about how it would actually be to live in a room there for days or weeks. Are the surroundings comfortable? What about the amenities? Some communities offer more creature comforts and amenities designed to make your or your loved one’s stay a little easier. For example, offering consistent daily dining and a barbershop or salon allows seniors to stay on-site and focus on recovery.
Privacy may be a priority.
How do seniors in the community live? Are they in private apartments, semi-private suites or fully shared rooms? There isn’t necessarily a best option – the right one for you or your loved one depends on the particular clinical requirements and level of attention you require.
Common sense is king.
When there are so many options, your gut can be your best guide in deciding what is best for you or your loved one. After you’ve visited the care providers in your area, take the time to speak with your loved ones and reflect on your feelings. Ultimately, if it doesn’t feel right to you, trust yourself.
DeKalb Senior Care You Can Trust
We hope that our guide to senior rehabilitation has helped you in your search for the care your loved one truly needs. At Bethany Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, we know you’re sure to have more questions. Even if your loved one doesn’t receive care through our community, we want to be a resource you can rely on.
Located conveniently near you, Bethany Rehabilitation is a consistent care partner to seniors and their families. We stand ready to support you and your loved ones through any upcoming surgical procedures, injury recovery or other health concerns. To get more information, please contact us. Our team is always here to help.