Physio News

Geriatrics – A Case For The Old, A Crystal Ball Of Your Future

“ Panyinna obi ny3 bi da, naabofra de3 obiara ay3 bi pen” is an old Akan adage which emphasizes the uncertainty of old age. The Aged, the world over, are most times neglected, ostracized and plagued by a plethora of sensory impairments. Depression is also common because of functional loss of mobility and inability to perform Activity of Daily Living. Hence, the need and essence of Geriatrics Physiotherapy.Geriatrics rehabilitation in the context of physiotherapy covers three main areas: 1.) the effects of normal ageing which often culminate into disuse and deconditioning; 2.) Series of cardiovascular problems such as cerebrovascular accident, congestive heart failure e.t.c and 3.) musculoskeletal and rheumatologic problems like osteoporosis, arthritis and fractures.

 This special group find themselves at the latter end of the life spectrum and they add so much to a young life as exemplified in the Author’s experience.They are living testimonies as to what my present choices, activities and inactions may result in if God spares my life. They have so much experience bottled in them which they yearn to pour out into a yielding vessel. They freely impart words of wisdom bordering on spirituality, relationships and even career guidelines. Despite the relevance of these seniors in our society, it is still very astonishing to observe, with dismay, the level of negative attitude towards this group of individuals. Unfortunately, the rather unpleasant gesture knows no bound in our society as health care professionals are also implicated. However, against the backdrop of ageing as an intrinsic event irrespective of affluence or fame, respectful treatment of aged individual is a must. After all, the attainment of long life span remains the aspiration of everyone. The plight of the aged is manifold! It is not uncommon to see a 79-year old right below knee amputee with a prosthetic leg in addition to atrial fibrillation, congestive heart disease and over 30-year history of hypertension or another aged client with bilateral total hip replacement, with implants in the distal femoral fracture and left mastectomy. One should then appreciate the gift of life, the grace to stand unsupported and the ability to take 10 steps independently. I strongly believe that therapy for the Aged is truly a seed sown for reciprocal aid when we are at their ages. Many times, their children and relatives and caregivers become frustrated and view them as a burden, and at times, they are regarded as a thorny problem they pray the icy hands of death should take away. But as Physiotherapists, the onus lies on us to be the shining light in the midst of the gloom.

Although, physiotherapy may not be able to avert ageing, research has shown that that physical therapy certainly does prolong survival and adds a few more months if not years to their life span. There is also guarantee for improved quality of life with reduced medical costs and hospital visits. It is our cardinal responsibility therefore to put smile on their faces, excitement in their voices and joy in their hearts at all time through our professional inputs. Physiotherapy means more and goes beyond mere monetary gains and personal favours. Our aged clients should not be seen as a burden but as souls desperate for a listening ear, an understanding heart and a helping hand.

 

 

Written By,

Kow Acquaah, PT

 

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