Ageism is defined as stereotyping or discriminating a person or group because of their age.
Here’s a quick test:
What comes to mind when YOU think of an elderly person? How do you define the word old?
How you answer that question is very important as it guides how you interact with and care for someone that is elderly.
For example, if I associate old with frail, I may not let my grandmother carry her own groceries because I’m afraid she may hurt herself. In my mind, I’m caring for her. Yet, in reality, I may be robbing my grandmother of an opportunity to physically challenge herself and maintain (or even gain) strength.
What comes to mind when a PHYSICAL THERAPIST thinks of an elderly person? How do we define old?
Let’s use the grocery store example again. If I associate old with strength, I won’t stop my grandmother from carrying her groceries. As rude as that may seem to some, I may actually be caring for her by encouraging her to be independent. She may be old, but doesn’t have to be weak!
Physical therapists are in the business of redefining the word old. Physical therapy is the perfect profession for this task as we understand the changes that happen to the body as we age. Physical Therapists see elderly people and think of opportunity, not limitations. We work to get people strong, mobile, and able to do the things they want to do — regardless of their age.
I challenge you to consider how you define old. Do you associate being “old” with opportunity or limitations? Weakness or strength? Hope or despair?
As you or your loved ones age, consider physical therapy as your first stop to redefine what it means to be old. Seek the counsel of a physical therapist to ensure you or your loved ones get “old” in the most desirable way possible. An individualized strength training program can help keep those “old” muscles in shape. Use a physical therapist to help guide that program safely. #GetPT1st
Contact a physical therapist at ApexNetwork Physical Therapy — (970) 425 -7272, 126 N. Second St., Sterling — to set up an appointment for a complimentary screening. Colorado is a direct access state and no referral is required to begin your physical therapy care.
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