AGING INTO HEALTH
– By Delena, Physiotherapist at Optimum Health Solutions Campbelltown
As people get older, they may need some extra help around the home or out in the community to maintain their independence. Common things aged-care support workers may help with for people living out in the community include personal care, helping with shopping, cooking, cleaning and even helping people engage in fun, social activities around the home.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & SUPPORT WORKERS
There is a high need for physiotherapists to support older people as they age, as there’s health and fitness declines. This can lead to more frequent falls and higher risk of injury. Physiotherapists can help older people age gracefully by helping them stay strong, fit and physically active.
Unfortunately, because of the high demand for home-based physiotherapy for older people, often physiotherapists are unable to visit as often as what would be best for these patients. This is where support workers have the power to really make a difference to older people’s lives under the guidance of a qualified physiotherapist. Support workers can work together with physiotherapists to help implement carefully tailored exercises programs for their clients as part of their daily routine.
IN HOME PROGRAMS
In 2017, a trial was completed by the Queensland government called Active@Home. This was an 18 week strength and balance in-home exercise program that used aged care support workers trained by physiotherapists to deliver the program. The study found there were significant benefits for both the clients and the support workers! The clients performed better in their physical performance after the trial and also were using health services 47% less. The support workers involved commented that incorporating exercise into their role made them feel more valued and connected to their clients.
If you know someone who could benefit from a physiotherapy assessment and support engaging their aged-care workers in this way, contact us at Optimum Health Solutions
Australian Government Department of Health. Active@Home Project Report. 2017.