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5 Ways In-Home Care Can Help Seniors Stick to Physical Therapy Programs

Many older adults participate in short-term physical therapy to help them regain strength, balance, and mobility after a fall, injury, surgery, or illness. Some seniors may participate in long-term physical therapy to help them manage a chronic condition, prevent falls, or reduce the risk of hospital readmission.

Whether it’s on a short- or long-term basis, sticking to a physical therapy program is an integral part of achieving optimal results. Here are a few ways in-home caregivers can help seniors follow their physical therapy program.

  1. Provide reminders
    If your older loved one is going to in-person physical therapy, he or she may have appointments several days a week. Your loved one’s caregiver can assist in this process by providing appointment reminders and arranging for transportation, making sure no appointments are forgotten or missed.

    A caregiver can make sure your senior is prepared for appointments by gathering necessary equipment and ensuring a safe place to complete the session.

    If the physical therapy program involves “homework,” such as performing specific exercises at home, a caregiver can remind them to exercise. Caregivers can also assist with following through on other recommendations, such as applying ice or heat on a particular area or elevating a limb while resting.

  1. Monitor recovery
    Physical therapy can be tiring for seniors — especially when they are already recovering from an illness, surgery, or injury. An in-home caregiver can help your loved one find a balance between getting rest between physical therapy sessions and performing exercises as directed.

    An in-home caregiver can also make sure your loved one eats, stays hydrated, and follows other recommendations made by a physical therapist.

    A caregiver can also monitor physical therapy progress as well as look for physical or mental health changes that could signal a problem. including a significant increase in pain.

  1. Prevent falls
    Many older adults participate in physical therapy to recover after a fall and to reduce the risk of future falls. As your loved one builds strength and endurance through physical therapy, a Visiting Angels caregiver can help prevent a fall in the home that could derail their progress.

    Each Visiting Angels care plan includes a comprehensive fall prevention assessment, which analyzes your loved one’s risk of falling at home. Our caregivers are committed to fall prevention and are trained to identify risk factors for falls. For example, if your loved one is learning to use a cane or walker, a Visiting Angels caregiver can remove tripping hazards and provide physical support as your loved one gains confidence navigating their surroundings.

  1. Reduce the risk of hospital readmission
    Hospital readmission — particularly within 30 days of discharge — is a common concern. If your loved one is receiving physical therapy after being discharged from the hospital, readmission could set them back in their recovery. Visiting Angels offers a specialized program called Ready-Set-Go Home, which is designed to help seniors make a successful transition to home after hospitalization.

    Our caregivers will learn your loved one’s specific needs and start making discharge plans. When it’s time for your loved one to leave the hospital, our caregivers will provide home care services designed to support your loved one’s physical, emotional, and cognitive health.

    Our caregivers provide additional support by identifying risk factors for re-hospitalization, providing medication reminders, accompanying your loved one to appointments, and coordinating deliveries of medical equipment and supplies.

  1. Offer encouragement
    Although physical therapy can provide many benefits, completing the program may feel challenging at times. When the going gets tough, your loved one’s caregiver can be there to provide encouragement and motivation. Having a trusted companion cheering on your loved one may be just what they need to help them move toward the next phase of recovery.

Our Visiting Angels care coordinators are available to discuss your loved one’s needs during a free in-home care consultation.

If you're interested in more information about how in-home care can help your senior loved ones, contact your nearest Visiting Angels office today or call 800-365-4189.
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