Most people, as they get older, like to stay living in their own home for as long as possible. We get that at The Physio Co (TPC). We how have Physiotherapists and Occupational Therapists doing home visits to help people stay home – and happy – for longer.
Life at home, especially if you live on your own can be busy. There’s heaps to do including cooking, cleaning, washing and tidying to be done. But what we often forget – people of all ages – is to prioritise preventative health.
Mahatma Gandhi once said:
“Your health is your real wealth.”
And he was right; without it, we are nothing.
In order to stay healthier at home for longer, engaging in life is essential. At TPC, we take a holistic approach to staying safe, mobile and happy – there is so much more that we do than the technical parts of exercise and massage.
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Find a challenge
Working with a health professional to assess your exercise & fitness levels, to set goals and to manage risk / keep you on your feet is all part of what physios do with older people. It is possible to set challenges too.
Depending on the goal or challenge, the rate of improvement while working with your physio can be fast or slow. Sticking to a process and not doing too much – or exercising unsafely – are the keys to making progress.
Exercise aids such as a Fitbit, an app on a phone or iPad – or simply a watch to measure time – are excellent ways to carefully monitor and challenge progress.
Group exercise at a local community centre or gym is also brilliant to socialise and get fit at the same time. It is much easier to work within the recommended guidelines in a group environment.
Putting the ego to one side for a moment, it is essential to consider how help at home could significantly improve life.
Would a gardener mean more time and energy could be spent with family and friends?
Would working with a physiotherapist help you move better and enable a better quality of life?
These are difficult questions to ask yourself and often the truthful answer is hard to accept. But if the ultimate goal is to stay healthier at home for longer, then support and getting the right help is going to be vital.
Energy, just like money, is finite – we have to manage both throughout our days and lives.
It is so important to understand and then accept your current health and capability – but also acknowledge there may be an opportunity to live a better life.
At TPC, we once worked with a guy called Warren who finally accepted that in order to get fitter, stronger and more mobile, he would have to get out of bed, walk across his house and get a drink out of the fridge for himself!
It is possible to use physiotherapy to become more mobile and live a longer, happier life, wherever home may be.
Health professional home assessments can make some simple suggestions that can make for an easier life with more energy. Stairs are great exercise if the body is conditioned to tackle them – otherwise they can create risk and lead to falls and fears.
One particular person we worked with loved to play pool, so we adapted all of his exercises to be done around the pool table between shots.
A health professional may recommend the use of a walking aid, a set ot make you safer in the shower, some furniture to be rearranged to make walking safer or possibly a respite stay with others for a breather that will improve life in the long run.
None of these changes signifies defeat; quite the opposite – they portray a picture of somebody who is up for the fight!