Why a Therapist Can Be So Beneficial To Seniors

Aging is a natural and immutable process; something that we all have to go through. The process of aging brings about a decline in mental and physical health, in varying degrees. This is dependent upon many factors, including our lifestyle, environment, and genetics. As middle age approaches, we start noticing some telltale signs. The cracking of the knees whenever we bend over, frequent aches and pains, squinting to read fine print, misplacing things, and responding “huh” and “what” during conversations when you can’t quite make out what was just said to you. Some of us put up a valiant fight every step of the way through the years, while others decide to accept the inevitable and make the best of it. Some look forward to heading into middle age and retirement. For others, this stage of life is difficult and challenging.

A therapist can be beneficial to help seniors cope with the many changes they will experience during the transitions of aging. It may be difficult for some seniors to find meaningful activities and a sense of purpose to fill their days. Seniors that have debilitating diseases such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s may face difficulties with basic needs and just getting through the day. The elderly also feel stress and anxiety regarding personal safety, as they are sometimes targeted because of their frailty.

A therapist can also help seniors distinguish between the normal effects of aging versus an actual mental illness or physical disease such as Alzheimer’s. Some degree of mental and physical decline is to be expected during aging, but a disease like Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia, can lead to a considerable impairment in memory and mental function. Some other mental health issues affecting the elderly population include anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse. Therapy can help seniors to cope with and manage many symptoms of common illnesses that afflict the elderly.

Therapists For Seniors

There are many different types of therapists for seniors; a few of the most utilized specialize in occupational, physical, and psychotherapy. Therapists use physical therapy to retrain patients that suffer strokes; it helps them to regain mobility to do everyday tasks. This type of therapy brings back or improves strength, limberness, range of motion, stamina, and coordination. It is also useful for relieving pain from some types of cancer. For example, patients that undergo a mastectomy will need to perform the proper exercises to lessen swelling and make their range of motion better. Arthritis is one of the common illnesses treated with a variety of physical therapies, like electric stimulation and aquatic therapy. Osteoporosis is another; exercises are utilized for keeping an erect posture. Psychotherapists help seniors to deal with issues specific to aging, such as transitioning into retirement and health effects of illnesses like dementia. They also help seniors with mental illnesses that affect people of all ages, such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. Suicide rates among the elderly are very high, and keeps increasing for men the older they get. Occupational therapists use a variety of methods to treat the elderly. They develop treatment plans, recommend various gadgets to assist with daily tasks, and provide support to those with disabilities. They also give advice in various areas, such as modifying homes to make them safer and more accessible.