By Yan Pin Lim
The word “old” has a negative connotation and old age is often portrayed with stereotypical image of lonely, poor, weak, and boring. When it comes to health and physical fitness, the common perceptions are “it is normal for old people to have poor health and disability”, or “they are not going to get better, so just let it be.” These perceptions however, are just stereotypes.
Each elderly person is an individual, just like anybody. When they become unwell, they should be assessed as an individual, and the appropriate treatment should be performed.
As we age each day, the lack of physical activity can contribute to the decrease in physical ability. Exercises targeted for an individuals’ needs completed on a regular basis can help an older person stay on their feet for as long as possible and also help those who have fallen ill, get better.
Research has shown that older people can maintain their physical fitness by doing enough exercises to stimulate the body to stay fit, much like the saying “use it or lose it.” The risk of falling can be reduced with specific exercises. Assessments can be completed and something can be done to reduce the risks. So don’t wait till a fall or an injury to do something about it! Call one of the Life Ready clinics or get the Mobile service to come to you!
In my experience, I am fortunate enough to work with some amazing mature people and here is one of my favourites:
“An 86 year-old lady admitted to a nursing home, rapidly declined in function. When we first met her, she could not walk and was lifted into and out of bed. Her family was concerned with that and thought that she would be able to do more for herself if she was offered physiotherapy. Life Ready Mobile went out to see her and within three months, she is able to stand and side step from her chair to the bed and walk using the rail on the wall and one person by her side”.
If you still have the stereotypical image of an elderly person in your mind, watch this and I’m sure you will be truly inspired by the 71 year old gentleman!
Editor’s Note: Yan Pin is one of Life Ready Physio’s home visit physiotherapists. Yan Pin is committed to helping people achieve a better quality of life and personal goals after injury. Since completing her degree in Physiotherapy with Honours, she has worked in hospital, private and community settings, with a range of experience in orthopaedic, hand therapy, aged care and neurological rehabilitation. She has recently completed her post-graduate training in neurological rehabilitation at the University of Western Australia.