Benjamin Franklin said it best – An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!
We are advocates for all forms of preventative healthcare and huge believers in the value of exercises for the elderly to prevent falls and other injuries. Our allied health professionals MUCH prefer to help you with staying well and prevent avoidable chronic disease and injuries than treating you when you are unwell. We would much rather help you know how to prevent dementia, how to prevent stroke and how to prevent osteoporosis.
Clients who are inactive or suffer from high blood pressure, arthritis, osteoporosis, overweight, diabetics, asthma or emphysema all benefit from our health professional’s advice on how to get moving safely and in sustainable-habit-forming ways.
Osteoporosis and osteopenia are estimated to affect over 924,000 Australians (1). A lot of people do not realise they have osteoporosis until they have a fall/injury and fracture.
Osteoporotic fractures are very common and one of the leading causes of hospitalisation in elderly clients especially. A lot of fractures cause ongoing pain, disability and even loss of life in the elderly.
Weight bearing exercise is one of the key strategies to improve bone density and your physiotherapist will give you advice on the best way to do this within your limits.
Our occupational therapists can help you with equipment and advice on modifying your home to reduce the risk of falls and fracture.
Interestingly a lot of people (and some health professionals) think that hydrotherapy isn’t effective for osteoporosis. A lot of clients with osteoporosis have seen great improvements in bone density from exercise in pools as you can vary your weight bearing from 10% to 90% depending on what you can tolerate. It is often easier to exercise in pools with less strain on injured/sore joints.
Hydrotherapy can be extremely effective for falls prevention and pain management also.
Dementia has no cure. However, research has shown that reducing risk factors by a change in lifestyle can be an effective prevention.
One of the keyways to reduce your risk of developing dementia is to stay mentally and physically active. This can be difficult as we age/have disabilities/injuries. Our therapists can help advise you on ways to move your body and mind effectively.
Dementia is progressive, meaning it will get worse over time. Dementia has a physical effect on the body as well, leading to contracted joints and muscles, injuries and falls. Preventative therapy including pain management, stretching, falls prevention, mental and physical stimulation is important to help those with dementia have the best possible quality of life.
Exercise also reduces the risk of stroke, particularly regular cardiovascular exercise. A lot of people with disabilities, pain or when getting older find it harder to exercise. Our therapists can help you to exercise within your limits and adjust exercises according to different pre-existing medical conditions.
Often, clients have “mini-strokes” such as Transient Ischaemic Attacks. Even though clients often get their full strength and movement back after a TIA, these are warning signs a more severe stroke could be coming down the track.
Arthritis is particularly common in older people but can affect people of any age. Some types of arthritis have genetic components that can’t be prevented but others, like osteoarthritis, are worsened by inactivity, overweight and other lifestyle factors.
From the National Strategic Action Plan For Arthritis (2019):
“Arthritis is one of the most common, costly, and disabling of all chronic conditions. In its many forms it affects nearly four million Australians of all ages, including children and young people. Yet the personal, social, and economic impact of arthritis is poorly recognised and often wrongly trivialised. Misconceptions persist that arthritis is just a single condition, that it only affects old people and is an inevitable part of ageing about which nothing can be done.” (2)
A lot of arthritis is linked to injury. For example, a knee joint that is damaged is more likely to develop arthritis. Programs to stretch overactive/tight muscles, strengthen core stabilising muscles, and maintaining your fitness can be effective in helping to prevent arthritis.
Arthritis is also progressive (gets worse over time), so slowing down the progression, especially in elderly clients, is important to maintain quality of life.
Preventative treatment can be effective in reducing your risk of developing or worsening chronic illness and disease. Please contact us to learn more about how we can help you stay well and move well.