rehabilitation specialist talking with patient about his plan

When Do Seniors Need Rehabilitation Therapy?

Your loved one’s long-term health and quality of life matter a lot to you. As your steadfast senior care partner, it matters a lot to us, too. But it can be a challenge to know what kind of care your loved one needs – and where you can find it. If someone in your life needs the right place 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.

Senior Living Residents in group exercise class stretching exercise bands with hands.

What Is Rehabilitation Therapy?

Rehabilitation for seniors is similar in most ways to rehabilitation for people of any age – just targeted to the specific needs and capabilities of older adults. 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, like the name implies, is focused on strengthening the body. 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 these therapies are often used in tandem. 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? A lot of things – but at its core, occupational therapy is all about finding ways to help seniors safely adapt to health challenges and remain independent.

Physical Therapist Helping Senior Patient With Weight Lifting

Choosing the Right Rehabilitation Facility

Once you’re sure you understand the kinds of rehabilitative therapies that different communities offer, you’ll want to learn how you can 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:

  • Research is important – but it’s not everything.

    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.

  • Ask yourself – what’s their specialty?

    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.

  • Consider the day-to-day experience.

    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 matters.

    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.

  • In all things, use your common sense.

    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.

We’re Here to Help

Now you know a little bit more about the types of senior rehabilitative therapies available to you or your loved one – along with a few tips and strategies to choosing the right option for your family. At Carnegie Village, we know you’re sure to have more questions. Even if you don’t choose care through our community, we want to be a resource you can rely on.

Located conveniently near you, Carnegie Village is a consistent care partner to seniors and their families in Belton. 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. We can’t wait to hear from you.