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The Secret to Improving Mobility in Aging Patients: HydroTherapy

The Secret to Improving Mobility in Aging Patients: HydroTherapy

Hydrotherapy isn’t just for rehabilitation—it’s a key to unlocking mobility and improved quality of life for seniors. As we age, maintaining our ability to move becomes increasingly important. Shocking statistics from The National Library of Medicine reveal that approximately 35% of seniors grapple with mobility issues that affect their daily lives. Furthermore, the CDC reports that one in every five falls among older adults leads to injuries that further diminish mobility.1 

Hydrotherapy is like a lifeline—it provides a buoyant, low-impact environment where seniors can build (or rebuild) strength, increase flexibility, and improve balance. Preventive hydrotherapy exercise can significantly reduce the risk or injury and create a safe space for unsteady patients to gain strength and confidence.

In this blog we’ll discuss the diverse applications of hydrotherapy exercises for this increasing patient population.

An Easy Way to Keep Seniors Active

Staying active and mobile can be challenging for seniors and those who lose their mobility suffer serious quality of life consequences. The numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention paint a stark picture—around one in three seniors experiences falls every year that often lead to hospital stays and a decline in health and independence.2

But it’s not just falls that seniors must contend with. Everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, or even routine tasks can become challenging as we age. This is often due to common health conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis, and muscle weakness. Comorbidities, obesity, and a lack of physical activity also play significant roles in seniors’ immobility. 

One tool that senior living facilities are turning to to combat these challenges in aquatic therapy. Hydrotherapy offers a fun and engaging way to keep elderly patients mobile and strong. Exercises that simulate stair climbing or lower body strengthening can make these daily activities easier, resulting in prolonged independence for older patients.

Below we investigate common chronic conditions that adults over the age of 65 experience and we explore ways that hydrotherapy can help3:

60% Have Hypertension

Hydrotherapy can help patients lose weight which can have a positive impact on hypertension. Strength and conditioning programs can be designed to meet the needs of even severely mobility restricted patients when conducted in water. Combined with lifestyle changes this can significantly improve the quality of life for those with hypertension.

51% Have High Cholesterol

Often lack of physical activity and being overweight or obese lead to high cholesterol. When combined with diet improvements and medical management hydrotherapy is a great way to get these patients exercising in an environment where fall risks are nonexistent.

35% Have Arthritis

Underwater environments take undue stress off of arthritic joints allowing these patients to safely move and gain strength. Warm water immersion also helps reduce pain for arthritic patients.

29% Have Coronary Heart Disease

Gentle exercises can be developed to help meet these patients where they are in terms of their exertion abilities. The properties of water uniquely enable therapists to create safe exercises for this patient group. 

16% Experience Depression

Hydrotherapy is fun. Senior patients report that they look forward to sessions because they’re just…fun! Physical activity has an impact on mood and overall emotional well-being.

Hydrotherapy: The Solution for Senior Mobility

Hydrotherapy is a comprehensive solution to support senior mobility. Aquatic therapy provides a low-impact, joint-friendly holistic approach to enhancing mobility

Not only does hydrotherapy promote physical activity, but it also counters the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and aids in managing chronic pain. Hydrotherapy also promotes weight management, and makes it a safe exercise option for those with compromised balance or who are a fall risk. 

Real Stories from RiverWoods Manchester

RiverWoods Manchester, an assisted living facility has been leveraging hydrotherapy for residents with great success. They’ve tailored their aquatic program to offer a range of exercises focused on rehabilitation, mobility, and fitness. Jeanne, a resident, attests to the effectiveness and versatility of hydrotherapy, emphasizing its role in making exercise and rehab enjoyable. 

“I firmly believe in water therapy because it makes exercising or rehabbing fun and easy. Customized physical therapy and simple exercises are available while using the HydroWorx tank [RISE]. I especially like the treadmill and the jet current feature. And, I am amazed at how this therapy tank offers such versatility in such a small package.”

-Resident, Jeanne

RiverWoods Manchester partnered with the Center for Physical Therapy and Exercise (CPTE) which helps residents receive specialized care, with the CPTE team on-site five days a week. This transforms senior care, promising lasting benefits for the community. Read more about RiverWoods Manchester’s hydrotherapy program. 

Choosing the Right Hydrotherapy Option for Seniors

The HydroWox line of free standing units make hydrotherapy accessible for facilities of every size and budget. Gone are the days when an extensive construction project was required to add hydrotherapy treatments. These plug-and-play solutions have made aquatic therapy accessible for assisted living facilities:

The RISE fits well in tight spaces and does not need a separate holding tank for water making it a popular choice for assisted living facilities.

HydroWox ECO

The NEW ECO represents the smallest footprint in the HydroWorx family of free standing units. At just 30 square feet the ECO can fit into even the smallest spaces. 

Safety First

Safety is paramount for seniors during any exercise or rehabilitation sessions. Hydrotherapy is emerging as a popular solution because therapists have a lot of control over the environment and unlike land exercises there are no fall risks.

Make sure you have proper flooring around the hydrotherapy unit and that patients are properly dried and that they have non-slip footwear when exiting the unit to prevent any slipping.

Ready to Get Started?

Contact us today to see how hydrotherapy can provide a dynamic solution for your senior patients.

Additional Resources: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7522521/#:~:text=Due%20to%20the%20demographic%20changes,of%20persons%20over%2085%20years
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/injury/features/older-adult-falls/index.html
  3. https://www.ncoa.org/article/the-top-10-most-common-chronic-conditions-in-older-adults


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