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Seniors – stay fit with rehab

by Josephine Andrews
Published: Last Updated on 149 views

Not a one-way street

Even in old age , things don’t always have to go downhill. If you move as much as possible within your means, you can achieve noticeable improvements.

Strokes or falls with broken bones rob many older people of their mobility, at least temporarily. Especially in old age, even a short phase of inactivity has a negative effect on the body and mind. The elderly are at risk of becoming dependent on support and care .

However, a sudden, serious illness does not have to mean the end of an independent life at home. Rehabilitation can help to find the way out of the dreaded one-way street from the hospital to the nursing home . The aim is to live independently, possibly with the support of home care services .

obtain independence

For people who are still working, rehabilitation should primarily enable them to return to their original job. But as you get older, your goals change. Now it’s about regaining, improving or maintaining independent living within your own four walls (everyday skills). The need for long- term care should be reduced or prevented.

opportunities for rehabilitation

Inpatient rehabilitation in a geriatric rehabilitation clinic often lasts three to four weeks. However, geriatric rehabilitation is also possible on a part-time basis in a day clinic. One requirement, however, is that home care is guaranteed at night and at weekends.

In addition, the seniors must be able to reach the day clinic or an outpatient rehabilitation center near their place of residence themselves, with the help of relatives or an organized pick-up and delivery service. Outpatient rehabilitation is usually limited to 20 treatment days. If the defined treatment goal is not achieved within this period, you can submit an application for an extension to the insurance company during the rehabilitation period.

The road to rehab

The earlier rehabilitation begins, for example after a stroke, the more success it promises. Before you choose a rehab facility, you need to get your health insurance company’s cost approval. Normally, the doctor treating you in the hospital made an application.

Applications for rehabilitation from resident doctors or after an assessment by the medical service of the health insurance companies ( MDK ) are also possible. Medicproof takes care of this for private long-term care insurance. The hospital’s social services, health insurance or special internet portals will help you to choose a suitable rehabilitation facility.

Rehabilitation is worth it:

  • Eight weeks of training on fitness equipment can measurably increase muscle strength even in 65 to 95 year olds.*
  • Trained study participants also reacted less anxiously to new challenges.
  • A year later, the seniors with fitness training showed better memory retention.

therapy team

The average age of patients in geriatric rehabilitation is around 80 years. In addition to the main disease, patients almost always have additional conditions that also require treatment. This colorful hodgepodge of a wide variety of health disorders is faced with an equally colorful treatment team: Doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, social workers, psychologists and nutritionists work hand in hand.

After the first few days of rehabilitation treatment, the specific goals are set for each individual rehabilitation patient (geriatric assessment): This means that the therapists are less guided by the diagnosis than by the existing impairments. All members of the treatment team report what disabilities and problems they have discovered in their area. The rehabilitation potential is determined together and checked in weekly meetings to see whether the goals can also be achieved.

Motivation – the be-all and end-all

Sometimes the rehabilitation goals need to be corrected. The symptoms do not always improve as previously hoped. But even small successes need to be celebrated! In the case of slow healing processes in particular, the will to recover and a positive future perspective are crucial for the patient. This can mean: “I won’t get well anymore, but I have a chance to live in my own four walls again.” One goal of therapy is therefore to learn to live with existing disabilities. This is called self-help training in nursing jargon.

preparation for home

During the therapy, physiotherapists and ergotherapists provide the patients with individually adapted aids as far as necessary . The therapists also familiarize the relatives with the disabilities and aids such as a wheelchair or walker.

Occupational therapists or social pedagogues accompany the patient once to his home. They check whether certain aids could make life in the apartment easier or whether conversion work is necessary ( apartment adaptation ). However, this local appointment can also show that a return to the current home environment entails too high security risks.

An outpatient safety net is knitted in good time before discharge to ensure adequate medical, nursing and household care at home.

Don’t let up

Relatives play a very important role. Recognition and encouragement strengthen motivation and self-confidence beyond the rehabilitation stay. In order for the achieved rehabilitation goals to last in the long term, the exercises learned must also become a fixed part of the daily routine afterwards.

Physiotherapists, for example, should check this independent follow-up therapy at longer intervals.

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