Therapies can provide great benefits for people of all ages, especially children and the elderly. As our bodies form and grow as children, our goal is to develop into active and healthy young adults while the elderly focus on maintaining muscle strength and mobility to live a fulfilling and long life.
Although there are many therapies that can be utilized by children and the elderly, some of the main therapies are physical, occupational, and speech. From development, injury, illness, mobility, and motor skills, these therapies offer support in creating and maintaining a better way of life from the very beginning.
Below are ways that these three therapies benefit both children and the elderly.
As children grow, we expect that they develop as they should, but that is not always the case. Many children suffer from developmental delays in their motor, mobility, and speech skills. Physical therapy uses methods such as teaching/practice of functional development, motor, and mobility skills and therapeutic exercise to strengthen muscles, increase endurance, and improve joint mobility. Physical therapy can aid in anything from crawling and walking to adaptive play and balance coordination activities. Occupational therapy can aid children in the development of fine motor skills, visual-perceptual skills, cognitive skills, and sensory-processing deficits.
The elderly also benefit from physical and occupational therapy as they strive to maintain healthy, active, and independent lifestyles. Physical therapy addresses functional mobility in the elderly while occupational therapy tackles the tasks we use mobility for.
You could say that physical and occupational therapy go hand-in-hand when it comes to geriatric care. Physical therapy might work on strengthening hip and leg muscles after a hip replacement while occupational therapy might help the patient learn how to sit and transfer after their surgery.
Occupational therapy also contributes to daily living activities such as dressing, bathing, toileting, grooming, walking, and transferring to maintain independence in the patient
Physical and occupational therapies can improve the following illnesses/injuries in children and the elderly:
- Developmental delays
- Cerebral palsy
- Genetic disorders
- Orthopedic disabilities
- Heart and lung conditions
- Birth defects
- Limb deficiencies
- Muscle diseases
- Muscle coordination concerns
Both physical and occupational therapies offer the following benefits:
- Increase and maintain muscle strength and endurance
- Restore and increase joint range of motion
- Increase coordination
- Decreased pain
- Prevent contracture and deformity of limbs
- Promote mobility
- Promote mental stimuli and learning skills
- Increase ability in daily activities such as self-care and play
Lastly, is speech therapy which can provide different benefits to both children and the elderly. Conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, hearing loss, and developmental delays can cause difficulty with speech and language development. Some children may not understand language and while other children do, they may not be able to effectively communicate. Speech therapy can aid in improving speech and language skills along with oral motor abilities. Therapy may also help children who can already talk and communicate, but may need to produce clearer communication or build their vocabulary.
The elderly can also benefit from speech therapy as it can aid in issues due to the natural aging process. Vocal cords can become less elastic with age and larynx muscles can weaken making it difficult to talk as one normally would. Speech therapy can even help patients who have suffered from a stroke recover their oral motor abilities and regain oral function.
Whether young or old – everyone can be Rock Solid!