As we age our body inevitably goes through many physical changes. These natural age related changes include reduced bone density, reduced muscle strength, increased body fat, poorer coordination and stiffer joints. These normal effects of ageing can affect older people’s mobility and balance and make them more likely to fall and break bones. Older people also become more susceptible illness such as heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, arthritis and lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. All of this can have a big impact on their daily lives and reduce their independence. For example elderly people often feel that they are not as quick and steady on their feet as they used to be and find that stairs are more difficult. This can then affect their ability to get out and about and lead to reduced independence.
However, we do not have to accept this as an inevitable part of ageing. While physiotherapy cannot stop ageing it can help to reduce the impact that it has on our bodies and our lives. Physiotherapists are trained to identify physical and other factors that prevent people from being as active and independent as they can be, and then they find ways of overcoming them. This makes them ideally placed to help older people stay as active as they can be. In fact physiotherapy has been shown to improve many of the factors associated with ageing including strength, balance, coordination, flexibility and pain levels. Ultimately physiotherapy has been proven by research to help older adults to maintain their health, well-being, functional ability and independence.