Archives for posts with tag: older adult

“Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Fortunately, falls are a public health problem that is largely preventable.” – CDC
http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

This is a frightening statistic, but one that we can impact positively. Even if your balance is good, maintaining your strength and balance is something everyone should work on.

Many people become less active as they age and challenge themselves less physically. But a few simple exercises can help with balance, strength and falls prevention. Here is a suggestion of 2 simple exercises you may try.

  1. Sit down in a dining room chair and stand up (without plopping into the chair) 5-10 times. Use good form by keeping your back straight (not vertical) and getting your weight over your feet. Your goal should be to do this without using your hands, but feel free to use them for balance if you need.
  2. March in place. The slower you go, the more emphasis you will be putting on balance. Make sure to place a hand on a wall or counter until you are steady enough to do this slowly without holding on. If you are really good, you can pause for 5-10 seconds on each leg and remain balanced.

Remember that these suggestions are only that, suggestions, and not a replacement for skilled physical therapy and exercise instruction. If you are apprehensive about doing these, or find yourself too unsteady to do them safely, please contact a physical therapist familiar with balance issues in older adults to be evaluated and have an exercise program designed specifically for your needs.

Squat over chair:
squat over chair

Marching in place:Marching

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There remains some confusion around Medicare’s coverage of maintenance physical therapy. The general idea is that if a skilled service is required to prevent decline in a person’s condition, then the service is now covered under Medicare.
The following is from the Center for Medicare Advocacy website:

SERVICES FOR BENEFICIARIES WITH CHRONIC CONDITIONS

A chronic condition requiring skilled care services can take many forms and is not limited to a particular set of disease, diagnosis, or disabling conditions.

COVERAGE REQUIREMENTS

The Medicare program recognizes the need for skilled care and related services for chronic, long-term conditions.  For care to be covered, the patient must require skilled services which may be designed to:

  • Maintain the status of a medical condition or the functioning of a body part; or
  • Slow or prevent the deterioration of a medical condition or body part.

WHERE ARE SERVICES PROVIDED?

Services can be provided in a variety of settings – at home, through Medicare certified home health agencies, in Medicare certified outpatient facilities, rehabilitation hospitals and centers, and in Medicare certified skilled nursing facilities.

WHO PROVIDES SKILLED SERVICES?

Skilled services are those services provided by (or under the supervision of) technical or professional personnel such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, and audiologists. Services must be a type that are not ordinarily performed by non-skilled personnel.

More information may be found at

http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-info/chronic-conditions/#Coverage%20Requirements