Geriatric rehabilitation covers three areas – normal aging due to disuse and deconditioning, cardiovascular problems like vascular disease and stroke, and skeletal problems including osteoporosis and osteoarthritis conditions such as knee and hip replacements.
“Working with older people can present the physiotherapist with a set of challenges unparalleled in other areas of practice. The problems we see in the elderly are very mixed and chronic. patients with musculoskeletal, neurological, and cardiovascular problems may all be found in the same person. The differences in presentation of disease, the unique pattern of ageing in each individual, and the varying responses that older people may demonstrate, and the complexity of the challenge is obvious.”
A physiotherapist working with older people can be considered a ‘Jack of all trades. Far from being a term of belittlement, the phrase is a term of respect for all the skills a physiotherapist needs to apply to their patients in light of the biopsychosocial model to ensure a holistic, patient-centred approach.