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Apr
24

How Important Is Physical Therapy For Alzheimer’s Patients?

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I am often asked how important it is for someone who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s really is. The answer is always the same. Physical therapy for Alzheimer’s patients is extremely important for one reason in particular, quality of life. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s they can be in one of many stages from “early onset” to mid onset and some aren’t ever diagnosed until full blown Alzheimer’s has taken over.

No matter what stage of Alzheimer’s a patient is in, it is very important for them to have physical therapy in order to help keep the patient strong and as healthy as possible for as long as possible. The stimulation of physical therapy not only helps strengthen the body but also the mind. Creating endorphins and stimulation of the brain by having the patient following simple instruction enhances the patient’s overall well-being.

couple2Unfortunately we understand that Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease that progresses at different rates, depending upon the patient. We cannot estimate how quickly a patient will digress; however we can help to slow that digression with continuous physical therapy. Strengthening the body, working on stability, and giving simple directions can help the patient maintain and even increase their physical strength while stimulating their mind to think. These digressions can not only create issues with the patient’s physical well being but can begin to interfere with their everyday daily tasks. If they seek physical therapy as soon as a diagnosis is made it can often help to slow down the progression of the disease and help to keep their life as normal as possible for as long as possible.

In the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s we will work on keeping the patient healthy and strong. This allows them to continue to move around their home and perform everyday tasks with minimal problems. Keeping their body strong gives them purpose. As long as the patient can safely move about the home and outdoors with assistance of a loved one or caregiver they can continue to do small chores. These small chores are actually huge strides for Alzheimer’s patients. Someone who is in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s often realizes that they are going to deteriorate and may still comprehend when they can or cannot perform daily tasks such as folding laundry, washing dishes, or running a sweeper. Simple things such as sitting with family outdoors and getting up an down steps can mean a lot.

GO Physical Therapy will come to your NY home and create an exercise and therapy plan specifically geared towards the needs of your loved one. If they are in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s our probable target will be to keep them moving safely so they don’t begin to lead a sedentary lifestyle. We aren’t going to train them to run a marathon; but we will focus on simple basics such as having and maintaining the strength to get up and down from a sitting position, maintaining stability, walking, and being able to conquer steps. Every patient is different; which is one of the best reasons to have at home physical therapy, because we come to the patient’s home and see what obstacles they face.

Because we specialize in seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia we understand and relate to the problems you and your loved one may face. There are often other health factors that can be an issue with Alzheimer’s patients; often creating weaknesses and other physical problems that are common. We will work to help target any specific issues we are seeing as we work with the patient. It’s not unusual for Alzheimer’s patients to have other age related symptoms and diseases also. Arthritis is common for many who are aging; however, adding arthritis onto the many other problems that Alzheimer’s patients face begins building a pyramid of excuses for them not to move. Yet, we are trained to work with these symptoms and instead of letting the patient simply sit and become worse they will begin to move and keep their joints functioning as well as possible, with as little pain as possible. This is just one of the benefits of having a physical therapist come to work with an Alzheimer’s patient. We can see and work with any problems that begin to surface as the Alzheimer’s progresses.

Not only do we work with the Alzheimer’s patient but we involve their caregivers and family so that they understand what we are doing and why we are doing it. We will help you create an atmosphere that will help you keep your loved one safe and hopefully make your life easier. We can guide you to resources that can help you understand Alzheimer’s and even recommend some caregiving services that we are familiar with. Basically, when we come to your home for physical therapy for your loved one with Alzheimer’s we come with the intention to not only keep them safe and strong for as long as possible; but, we focus on the household as a unit.

liafIf you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s we would love to have the chance to work with you, no matter what stage the Alzheimer’s is at. We are endorsed by the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) and we specialize in creating a therapy regimen that is geared specifically to you and your needs. There is no shame in Alzheimer’s and we do understand what you and your entire family is going through. Let us be a part of your solution to adjusting life as it needs to be in order to give you or  your loved one quality of life for as long as possible. The best part is that we bring the physical therapy to you and work with you directly in your New York home.

 

Dedicated To Your Health & Well-being (and safety),

Mike

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