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Getting the Elderly Back on Their Feet

August 14, 2011
Karen Johnson, Marketing Promotions Manager, Biodex Medical Systems, Inc.

Karen Duane JohnsonThere is a movement in Canada to get hospitals to invest in more physical therapy services for seniors. According to the Ottawa Citizen, "Frail seniors need to get back on their feet." The newspaper continues by quoting a recent Canadian Health Authority report, which oversees Eastern Ontario hospitals, citing the need to provide better programs to make them "senior friendly." The report seeks active participation by the region's 20 hospitals to counter ageism and promote more positive attitudes. "The recommendations are...for the first time, detailed on how hospitals in this region fail to treat elderly patients properly, leaving them to become so weak physically and mentally, that the only apparent solution is to send them to nursing homes. If they were treated properly, many of them would go home," according to the article.

It shouldn't take a report to state the obvious, but to get things moving and open some eyes, it is an important first step. When I ran across this article I put it in a pile with other somewhat similar articles, because together they make an interesting industry observation that I will share.

Inc. Magazine in April ran an article entitled, "Although it's still bouncing back, the physical therapy industry is poised for huge growth. Thanks, Baby Boomers," by Tim Donnelly. As a Baby Boomer, I recognize the way us "weekend warriors" want to hang onto our youth. Aside from entertaining all forms of plastic surgery to stay looking young, my trips to the gym are more frequent, less productive and are never without my sidekick: pain. Another reason why this segment of the population is getting more replacement surgeries, we want to stay in the game. Personally, I want to be able to march into my twilight years active. Which brings me back to the point, what to do with those already in the 4th stage of development? (My friend coined this catchy phrase, it fits. I'm using it.)

Well, I will share my thoughts...I totally support physical therapy services. In my opinion, insurance doesn't give you enough sessions and the PTs I talk to spend way too much time on paperwork. I also am very impressed with the technology available. My conversations with Don Gronachan in rehabilitation sales, about the products Biodex manufacturers to assist seniors with the rehab process, seriously, blew my mind. Who thinks this stuff up? The answer: loads of research and development leads to bright minds creating amazing products to make our aging lives better.

What I found so interesting in my conversation with Don was the fact that as we age, our gait gets shorter and throws us off balance as it continues to shorten up. This puts us at risk for falls, and our desire to get out there and move disappears until we find ourselves sitting on the porch longer than we should. Specialty products exist to move us back from a less active future to one that is productive. Movement makes us happy and healthy.

This sentiment is shared obviously by industry analysts and is the reason Inc. predicts physical therapy for the aged will see a huge "spurt" in the next five years as a wave of Americans hit retirement. More PT jobs will be added and seniors will be better served. I am also a firm believer that to better serve "my" people—traditional techniques must be combined with technology. We are a different bunch: we are accustomed to exercise and want to get back to it when injured. The rubber band and balance ball alone will not do it for us...roll out the big guns and bring on the results. Also, when treating us, according to the International Council on Active Aging, get rid of the lingo 'geezer' or 'codger'...we are people in our 'midlife' the council says. It is all part of rebranding the older adult as people who are well-kept and contemporary.

By Karen D. Johnson, Marketing Promotions Manager, Biodex Medical Systems, Inc....a triathlete, active equestrian, cyclist, open water swimmer, runner, skier and angler with arthritis, Achilles tendonitis and stiff joints...call me geezer and I will bite you...I still have all my teeth! 

Karen Duane Johnson

Karen Duane Johnson
Marketing Promotions Manager
Biodex Medical Systems, Inc.
20 Ramsay Road
Shirley, N.Y. 11967-4704
Phone: 631-924-9000 ext. 2277
Fax: 631-205-2413
E-mail: [email protected] [2]
Web: www.biodex.com [3]

 

This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of Biodex Medical Systems, Inc. or its staff. 

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