30-Minute Workout for Older Adults

Independence. It’s a powerful word. Especially as you age. Because independence is life. It’s the freedom to walk down the street unaided for a visit with your neighbor. It’s the power to pick up your grandkids for a sweet snuggle. It’s the energy to grab your golf clubs and putt for par on the back nine. And your path to maintaining independence is rooted in regular exercise.

So let’s get moving. Join 78-year-old Mac McCaffrey for a 30 minute, step-by-step workout as he trains for the National Senior Games with Ageility personal trainer, Adam Boyette. This half-hour senior workout is specifically designed with older adults like you in mind. So you can increase your mobility, improve your balance, build strength, and most of all…live your best life.

Here’s all you’ll need to complete your 30-minute workout:

  • 1 chair
  • 1 hand towel
  • 2 filled water bottles (you’ll use these as weights)

Just remember: Safety is key. So before you begin, make sure the floor around you is clear and that you have an extra chair nearby for added support.

This workout also comes with a supporting guide — a printable PDF document that you can reference again and again. It outlines every exercise you’re about to enjoy. Take a look, print it out, and save it for future use.

Start your 30-minute senior workout with a warm up.

A great warm up is more than just a good idea. It’s an essential part of your workout. So use this time to wake up your muscles and prepare your body for the work ahead. Follow Mac and Adam as they complete a series of stretches that will help get you ready to move.

Best Warm-up Exercises for Seniors

Neck Stretch - Left and Right

Neck Stretch – Left and Right
Slowly bring your right ear to your right shoulder and hold. Then repeat the same movement on the left. Do this three times on each side.

Neck Stretch - Front and Back

Neck Stretch – Front and Back
Slowly bring your chin to your chest and hold. Then look up to the ceiling with your chin up. Repeat this movement three times.

Shoulder Rotations

Shoulder Rotations
Bring your hands to your side and complete 10 forward shoulder rotations, then 10 backward rotations.

Seated Lateral Torso Bend

Seated Lateral Torso Bend
Have a seat in your chair and bring your hands to your side. Reach to your right toward the floor, then to your left. Complete 7 to 10 reaches on each side.

Seated Torso Rotations

Seated Torso Rotations
Cross your hands in front of your body and rotate to your right, then to your left. Complete 10 rotations on each side.

Seated Torso Bend

Seated Torso Bend
Place your hands on your lap and open your legs a little bit. Interlock your fingers, and reach down to the floor. Come back up and repeat 4 times.

Marching High Knees

Marching High Knees
Stand up and find your balance. You can hold onto the back of your chair if needed. Begin to march in place. Complete 12 high-knee movements on each leg.

Single-Leg Hip Circles

Single-Leg Hip Circles
Remain standing and hold onto the back of your chair. Slightly lift one leg and start to move it in circles. Complete 12 leg circles on each side.

Keep moving with the main workout.

Your workout is in full swing now. So grab your towel and your water bottles, because they’re joining the fitness party for this next set of exercises. Watch Mac and Adam while you complete a series of upper and lower-body strength and balance movements.

Set one: Senior fitness – towel exercises.

Seated Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise

Seated Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise
Grip your towel at each end. Start at your knees and raise your towel above your head, keeping tension on the towel. Then lower it back down. Repeat the movement 10 times.

Straight-Arm Steering Wheels

Straight-Arm Steering Wheels
Grip your towel tightly at each end. Keep tension on the towel and rotate from left to right. Repeat the movement 8 times in each direction.

Chest Press with Torso Reach

Chest Press with Torso Reach
Grip your towel tightly at each end. Bring your towel to your chest and reach forward as far as you can. Then straighten back to the starting position. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times. You can do this exercise standing or sitting.

Tension Pulls

Tension Pulls
Bring your towel to the front and pull it tight like you’re trying to rip it in half. Bring your hands back together, then pull back. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

X-Tension Pulls

X-Tension Pulls
Working in an X-style motion, rotate and pull your towel up and down. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

Standing Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise

Standing Straight-Arm Shoulder Raise
Gripping your towel at each end, pull it tightly while you reach up high as you can. Then bring your arms back down. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times.

Set two: Senior fitness – upper-body strength with water bottles.

Front Shoulder Raise

Front Shoulder Raise
Hold your two filled water bottles in front of your thighs, then reach up and down. Repeat the movement 10 to 15 times.

Bicep Curl with Shoulder Press

Bicep Curl with Shoulder Press
Hold your two filled water bottles in front of your thighs with your palms facing out. Curl the water bottles up toward your shoulders, then rotate your wrists so your palms are facing out. Push up toward the ceiling. Bring your arms back down to your shoulders and rotate your wrists so your palms are facing in. Curl your arms back down to the starting position. Repeat this movement 12 times.

Lateral Shoulder Raise

Lateral Shoulder Raise
Hold your water bottles down at your sides. Slowly lift your arms out (no higher than shoulder level). Then lower back down. Repeat this movement 12 to 15 times.

Overhead Triceps Extension

Overhead Triceps Extension
Holding your water bottles in each hand, bring your arms up behind your ears and lower your hands. Point your elbows up as high as you can extend your arms toward the ceiling. Then extend back down. Repeat the movement 6 to 10 times.

Skier Triceps Extension

Skier Triceps Extension
Holding your water bottles in each hand, bring your hands up near your armpits, then push your arms back. Repeat this movement 6 to 10 times.

Alternating Bicep Curls

Alternating Bicep Curls
Holding your water bottles in each hand, complete a set of alternating arm curls. Repeat this movement 20 to 25 times on each arm.

Set three: Senior fitness – lower-body strength workout.

Lateral Weight Shifts

Lateral Weight Shifts
Stand behind your chair, using it for support. Position your legs a little wider than shoulder width apart and begin to shift your weight from left to right. As you shift from side to side, one leg will be bent while the other is straight. Complete 10 to 15 reps on each leg.

Staggered Stance Power Knees

Staggered Stance Power Knees
Step to one side of your chair and hold on for balance. Step back with your right leg, then lift your knee up to waist level. Bring your leg back down and repeat. Complete 10 high-knee movements on your right side. Then, step to the other side of the chair and repeat the movement for 10 reps on your left leg.

Lateral Bends

Lateral Bends
Stand behind your chair with your feet together. Place your right hand on the back of the chair to steady yourself. Then reach up with your left arm as high as you can, slowly bending to the right. Hold the position for 10 to 20 seconds. Then switch sides. Complete the movement a few times on each side.

Single-Leg Lateral Hip Flexion

Single-Leg Lateral Hip Flexion
Position your legs nice and wide as you stand behind your chair. Hold onto the chair and shift your weight onto your right leg. Lift your left leg up and hold for 5 seconds. Then repeat on the other leg. Complete the movement 2 to 3 times.

Toe Stands

Toe Stands
Stand behind your chair with your feet together. Lift up onto your toes as high as you can and hold for 10 to 20 seconds. Repeat this movement 2 to 3 times.

Now, wrap up with a cool down.

You’re almost done! The only thing left to do is cool down. Which means it’s time to relax, stretch, catch your breath, and lower your heart rate. Follow along as Mac and Adam show you how to successfully finish your workout.

Breathing with Shoulder Raise

Breathing with Shoulder Raise
Sit in your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. Interlock your fingers and reach your arms up toward the ceiling while taking a deep breath in. Then lower your arms back down while breathing out. Repeat the movement 5 times.

Seated Hamstring Stretch

Seated Hamstring Stretch
Bring your feet together and point your toes toward the ceiling. Slide your hands down your legs while keeping your chin up and looking forward. Hold for 10 seconds, then slide your hands back up your legs to your starting position. Repeat the movement 3 to 4 times.

Hand over Hand Focused Breathing

Hand over Hand Focused Breathing
Place one hand on your chest and the other on your stomach. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. Repeat the breathing exercise 5 to 10 times.

Wrist Stretch

Wrist Stretch
Bring your hands in a prayer position then slowly bend them from left to right. Complete the movement 10 to 15 times.

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch

Cross Body Shoulder Stretch
Place your left hand on your right shoulder. Then use your right hand to slowly pull your elbow towards your body. Switch sides and repeat the movement 10 to 20 times on each arm.

Good Morning Stretch

Good Morning Stretch
Stretch your arms back like you’re waking up in the morning. Bring your arms back down and shake them out. Repeat the movement 3 to 5 times.

Reach your senior fitness and rehab goals — one step (and stretch) at a time.

Every step you take matters. Whether you’re physically taking a walk or mentally making a choice to stay active. It’s all proof that you’re moving forward. So if you start to notice that you’re slowing down, don’t let it hold you back. Turn to Ageility to help reach your senior fitness goals, and start turning things around.

Get the personalized senior fitness training and rehab support you need to keep advancing. Find an Ageility clinic near you to learn more.

Senior living communities: This is your chance to bring specialized rehab services and fitness classes to your community. Discover the benefits of Ageility partnerships now.

What’s Your Why For Senior Fitness and Rehab?

The path to senior health and wellness isn’t always a straight line. It’s ever changing, complete with plenty of bumps, curves, stops, and starts. Even when you feel young at heart, your body doesn’t always cooperate. It can sometimes slow down just when you’re ready to rev up. So when it comes to reaching your rehab and fitness goals as an older adult, there’s power in finding your why.

4 Tips To Find Your Senior Wellness Why

Inspiration. Aspiration. Motivation. Your why is your reason to take action. Your core driver to achieve your senior fitness and wellness goal (or set of goals). It ignites you and fuels your desire to get stronger and live healthier. So how do you find it? And how do you hold on to it? Here are four tips to help you get started on your path to senior health and wellness.

  1. Look inward to move forward.
    There’s no one-size-fits-all motivator when it comes to senior fitness and rehab, which means the key to finding your specific why is to dig deep. Think about what matters most to you. Ask yourself some questions: Why do I want to get stronger? Am I missing out on doing things I love because I don’t feel my best? What brings me the most joy in life? Identifying your why can prompt powerful emotions, all of which will help motivate you to take action toward your senior health and fitness goals. Here’s a great exercise to try:

    I want to _______________, so I can _______________.

    For example… I want to get stronger, so I can get back on the golf course. I want to stay active, so I can keep up with my grandkids. I want to get in better shape, so I can stay independent. I want to rehab my hip, so I can rejoin my walking club. I want to feel steady on my feet, so I can enjoy more outings and trips.

  2. Write it down, so you can live it up.
    The simple act of writing down your senior fitness goals can help turn thoughts into actions. It can connect you to what you’re truly thinking. Which can help shift how you feel — and how you show up in life. In other words: Pen and paper make powerful tools when it comes to senior fitness and rehab. By writing down your why, you can reach new depths of self-discovery. And once your why is on paper, post it somewhere you can easily read it every day.
  3. Find strength in staying the course.
    Working towards your senior wellness why is a journey. Which means it needs to be sustainable. So ask the question: Is your why strong enough to help keep you on the healthy-living track, even when the road gets rough? Because bumps along the way are to be expected. That’s part of life. But when your why is strong, so is your resolve to stay on track.
  4. See yourself succeeding.
    Once you know your senior wellness why, it’s time to bring it to life in your mind. Visualize yourself doing what you love, with the people you love most. Picture yourself back on the golf course. Imagine yourself walking the deck on your cruise ship. Envision yourself on a picnic with your grandkids. Surround yourself with images that connect you emotionally to your why. This will help remind you of who you want to be and what you’re working toward.

Remember: You’re chasing a feeling, not a finish line. Have faith in your own strength. Believe in your potential. Get inspired with Senior Fitness 101: Tips for Staying Active as an Older Adult. And start asking yourself: What’s my why?

Find your why with a senior fitness and rehab partner.

Your wellness journey is deeply personal, but you don’t have to go it alone. Ageility is here to support you every step of the way — whether you need specialized rehab services or are looking for senior fitness classes near you. We’re your partner on the path to healthy senior living. And we’ve got your back. Find an Ageility clinic near you to start working towards your why right now.

Is There a Difference Between Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation?

Whether it’s from a slip in the kitchen or a bad swing on the golf course, injuries can happen anytime, anywhere. They occur to people of all ages, but seniors are especially at risk.

If you or a loved one has suffered an injury, you’ve probably asked yourself if physical therapy or rehabilitation is the best route to recovery, and if there are differences between the two. Take a closer look at what the two terms encompass, though, and you discover that they’re far more intertwined than you may think.

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation – the Holistic Rehab Umbrella

The main difference between physical therapy and rehabilitation is that physical therapy (PT) is a form of rehabilitation, but not all rehabilitation is PT. The essence of rehab is that it’s holistic and requires an interdisciplinary approach. Agency accreditation requires a rehab provider to have multiple disciplines that work together to effectively support the best outcome for the participant. Studies show that one of the most effective ways to prevent injury in older adults is through person-centered rehab that can help improve balance, muscle strength and endurance.

What is holistic rehabilitation?

Rehabilitation can often include a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to address the needs of the person more holistically. Often more than one form of rehab may be called for when a person has multiple issues or treatment goals, whether they be improving memory, being able to speak more clearly or manage pain. That’s why a holistic rehab provider like Ageility that can tailor treatment plans to your personal goals is key to preventing injury, restoring function and improving quality of life.

What is physical therapy?

Physical therapy (PT) involves helping people improve their movement, functional ability and overall wellbeing through tailored exercises and treatments. It’s no secret that aches and pains are a part of life as we get older. Medical conditions and injuries can also make it difficult to sustain the quality of life you desire. When considering options for rehabilitation, physical therapy can be best for people who have an impairment or illness that results in pain and/or limited mobility.

PT treatment comes from professionally licensed physical therapists who are trained to help you improve mobility and balance and reduce or eliminate pain. They are also key to preventing injury and reducing fall risk. Physical therapy for seniors can include a range of programs. At Ageility, where therapists are specialized in treating older adults, rehabilitation and physical therapy services include:

  • Fall prevention and balance
  • Chronic and acute pain management and prevention
  • Arthritic pain management
  • Strength and flexibility
  • Postsurgical rehabilitation
  • Sports medicine

Rehabilitation: Physical Therapy and Beyond

Rehab encompasses all therapies and treatments that help people return to a previous level of function, whether after surgery or a stroke, or when adapting to live with conditions like Parkinson’s. Everyone’s situation is different, so rehab looks specifically at each person’s needs to develop person-centered therapy that addresses their unique circumstances.

Typically, receiving more than one type of rehab treatment would require going to several different therapy providers. Ageility makes it easy by providing the full spectrum of rehab services—physical, occupational and speech—in one location. That means less time figuring out how to get to rehab, and more time actually doing it.

The Ageility Difference: Holistic, Effective Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy Services Near You

Whether you need physical therapy to get back to your golf game or other rehabilitation services that can help you regain your independence after a surgery or stroke, being able to participate in person centered rehabilitation treatment is key to helping you stay fit and on your feet. At Ageility, we know that rehab needs are different for older adults than younger adults. The numbers speak for themselves. We’ve seen that older adults living in communities with an Ageility clinic have a 36% reduced risk of falls and are able to stay in their communities on average 31% longer.

Rehab plays a key role in helping older adults avoid injury, restore function and improve their quality of life. Reaching those goals requires holistic treatment from an experienced provider. With Ageility’s full spectrum of rehabilitation services for older adults all in one location, they’re never far off no matter what stage of health they’re starting from.

To learn more about Ageility’s holistic rehab services for older adults, contact [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.

How to Manage Winter Arthritis Pain

There’s a lot to look forward to when winter rolls around—hot cocoa by the fire, putting up holiday decorations, reuniting with family…it’s truly a magical time of year. If you’re one of the 50 million people in the US with arthritis, though, the colder weather can take a toll on your joints and keep you from the activities you love because of arthritis pain.

Here’s the good news: Whether you have osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, there’s lots you can do to manage arthritis pain so you can get right back to building a snowman with the grandkids. One of the best strategies for managing arthritis in the winter is getting personalized treatment from innovative physical therapy providers like Ageility Rehab and Fitness. Just a few lifestyle changes at home, though, can also make a big impact. Here are seven easy and effective remedies that can help soothe arthritis pain and make your winter more active and comfortable.

7 Ways to Reduce Winter Arthritis Pain

  1. Bundle up: Cold is a common trigger for aching and swelling joints, so keeping yourself warm by layering up on clothes—particularly pain centers like your hands, knees and legs—is key to raising your body temperature and reducing joint pain.
  2. Check your vitamin D: During the winter months, many older adults stay inside. A lack of exposure to sunlight increases the risk of vitamin D deficiency. When you are deficient in vitamin D, it can lead to joint pain and aching muscles. Talk with your primary care physician about the need for a vitamin D screening.
  3. Stay active: When it’s cold outside and you are experiencing arthritis pain, the last thing you might want to do is exercise. But one of the best ways to keep joints working is to use them. Consider exercises like tai chi, yoga and swimming, especially if you have access to a heated therapy pool. You’ll benefit from both the heat and the no-impact exercise.
  4. Eat smart: Your diet can play a role in managing arthritis symptoms too. Some foods can increase swelling, which can raise pain levels, while other foods can fight inflammation. Cherries, berries, grapes, cabbage, kale, spinach, and plums, combined with omega-3 rich foods like fish and nuts, can help decrease joint swelling. Also, try to avoid processed foods, sugary treats, and fast foods.
  5. Get more Vitamin C: There is growing research to indicate that foods high in vitamin C may be linked to an increase in new collagen production. Collagen is a critical component of cartilage, which is often damaged as arthritis worsens. Bell pepper, citrus fruits, cauliflower, cherries, and strawberries may be good additions to your diet.
  6. Try heated paraffin dips: Try giving your hands and feet a dip in heated paraffin wax. Salons and spas usually offer this service. If you prefer to do it at home, kits are less than $30. You could also try heated lavender slippers and gloves. These can be warmed up in the microwave and used repeatedly.
  7. Drink green tea: The benefits of green tea are numerous—one of which is blocking chemicals in the body that are believed to cause inflammation. Green tea may also prevent cartilage from further damage due to arthritis.

Treating Arthritis: Why Physical Therapy is Key

Following these seven tips may be able to help relieve arthritis symptoms, but if joint pain persists or gets worse, it’s time to start looking for a more tailored treatment plan. Physical therapy addresses your specific aches and pains so you can get back to tossing snowballs at the grandkids without flare-ups slowing you down. Ageility’s team of licensed physical therapists are trained in arthritis pain management and work with you to develop a treatment plan that relieves pain and swelling and restores muscle balance around the affected joints, without the need for medication.

Reduce Arthritis Pain and Reach Your Goals with Ageility

Whether you want to shovel snow ache-free, or wrap presents without sore and swelling joints, working with a physical therapist and making a few changes to your lifestyle can help make winter less painful, and more joyful. To learn more about Ageility’s physical therapy services, contact Ageility at [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.

How Innovative Rehab Helped a Navy Veteran Regain Independence

Something was different at the NATO Defense College in Rome, Italy in 1974. Or rather, someone. The change was most apparent during a session where every officer was gathered. When the speaker got up to give his normal greeting, he noticed that this time, for the first time, he’d have to expand it a bit. “Good morning gentlemen…and lady,” he said.

That odd woman out was Jean Neely, a US Navy captain and the first woman officer ever to attend the NATO Defense College. That was just one of many firsts Jean accomplished during her glass ceiling-shattering, 26-year career in the Navy, including being one of the first women selected for major command.

Then in 1976, after years of hard work and dedicated service to her country, Jean Neely was looking forward to a restful retirement. Yet, like many older adults, Jean’s minor aches and pains became more debilitating as she grew older. Eventually she was diagnosed with what she jokingly calls the “triple whammy”—Parkinson’s, osteoporosis and an autoimmune disease called myasthenia gravis. Then came the injuries: five joint replacements, several busted fingers and one shattered vertebra after a fall in her West Virginia home on Easter Sunday 2021.

“My doctor said I could go to the hospital or to rehab in assisted living,” she says, “and I didn’t want to go to the hospital.”

More Than Just Innovative Rehab Therapy: The Ageility Difference

In spring of 2021, Jean made a temporary move to an assisted living apartment in the Somerford House & Place Hagerstown senior living community and began physical therapy at the on-site Ageility Rehab & Fitness clinic. Jean says she had seen dozens of physical therapists over the years, but there was something different about Ageility’s that she noticed immediately.

“They know every one of the residents and interacted with them in a very friendly way,” she wrote in a testimonial about her experience. “I can honestly say that the Ageility group of therapists put any and all others I’ve known ‘in the shade’ with their professionalism and attention to their patients’ needs.”

Since Jean required the whole gamut of innovative therapy—occupational, physical and speech—Ageility’s continuum of care and wide range of specialized rehab and fitness services were key to helping her toward her ultimate goal: moving back home and regaining independence. Each therapist got her one step closer. One helped her enunciate words through the Big and Loud speech therapy that’s part of the LSVT program to the point where she can even say Mary Poppins’ “supercalifragilisIcexpialidocious” without skipping a beat. One of her favorite parts? “Everything was just down the hall. How easy is that?” she says.

Now, with her departure imminent after just five months, she says the whole experience blew away her expectations.

“I just assumed I was going to an institution,” she says, “I never realized that I would make friends and miss people when I left.”

An Extraordinary Recovery from an Extraordinary Veteran

Jean’s five-month recovery is just one in a long line of obstacles she’s overcome over the years. Though her Navy career was one marked by unforgettable experiences like her “absolutely fabulous” two-year stint in Morocco, overt sexism in the ranks (and in the law of the land) prevented her from ever serving aboard a Navy ship. She also saw her male counterparts get promoted at a faster rate, despite the same work. Yet, there was something about Jean that kept her going, in the face of all odds, to become one of only 12 women Navy captains in 1976. Now, there are hundreds.

“I’m just a very persistent person,” says Jean. “Sometimes I have to walk away from things for a while, but they always nag at me until I get them done.”

Jean Neely

Starting from the Bottom Rung

That nagging feeling also followed Jean around in her youth in the 1950s when she was searching for a career that would allow her to give back to the country she loved. In those days there was no Peace Corps, no VISTA, so Jean found a program in the Navy that would permit her to take her training during the summers and get her commission upon graduation from college.

Duty to the Stars and Stripes also played a huge role in family when she was growing up. Her father and both her brothers were part of the Greatest Generation who fought in World War II. So, after graduating from Bates College, she began her Navy career in 1953 in Seattle as an ensign.

“Ensign is the lowest form of life, with only one gold stripe on your sleeve,” jokes Jean.

Climbing the Ladder to Captain

It was slow-going, but Jean made an impression. At each Naval station she transferred to, she gained more responsibility as her male superiors learned that she didn’t just keep up with her male counterparts, she surpassed them. In 1956, Jean headed to Washington D.C. where she was promoted to Lieutenant, from there she proceeded to duty stations in Morocco, Maryland and promotion to Lieutenant Commander. In 1964, she headed for the US Navy Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, graduating the next year with a Master of Science. She headed back to Washington where she met and married her husband. Moves to Memphis, Norfolk, and promotion to Captain, followed by Rome and then back to D.C. ensued, where she completed her career.

Jean says she would have loved to serve aboard a ship, but the law did not allow it at the time. She was selected to be the commanding officer of a major command in San Diego in 1974, but instead she opted to retire, so she and her husband could travel.

“The challenges in the Navy were so terrific; I wouldn’t trade that experience for anything,” she says.

A Remarkable Life, Recognized

Jean’s persistence and historic career are finally getting the recognition they deserve, and not just from her Ime in the Navy. After several years of travel, the Neely’s settled in eastern West Virginia, where Jean was able to expand her interests in the natural world. One of her interests was fulfilled when she founded the Potomac Valley Audubon Society, a chapter of the National Audubon Society, in 1982. Last year, the organization named a pavilion after her and declared her birthday, July 10, as Founder’s Day.

“I don’t think I’ve done anything very exceptional,” Jean says. What she has done, through countless challenges from rising through the ranks to recovering from injury, is persist. To Jean and all the veterans who have served over the years, we thank you for your service.

Discover the Ageility Difference and Get Back to the Life You Love

It’s amazing what a spirit of persistence and the help of an exceptional innovative rehab team can do. In just five months of Ageility Rehab & Fitness, Jean was able to regain her independence at age 90 and accomplish her goal of moving back home.

To discover how Ageility can help you reach your goals through a tailored treatment and fitness plan, find an Ageility clinic near you.

When Home Health Isn’t Enough to Reduce Rehospitalizations

A bad fall can happen to anyone. Just one wrong step can lead to a devastating injury that requires a trip to the hospital, especially for older adults. In fact, one out of every four seniors fall every year, leading to about 800,000 hospitalizations annually. After being discharged, fall-related injuries are also the third most common cause of hospital readmission for older adults, according to a 2019 study.

The good news for senior living communities is that 20-30% of older adult falls in long-term care facilities are preventable. A major factor is whether the community offers a strong continuum of care from home health to outpatient rehab. Home health alone can help residents get back on their feet, but fall risk can still be high without ongoing therapy. That’s why an experienced physical therapy partner who offers a full continuum of care is essential to helping residents stay on their feet and in their community for as long as possible.

“Home health is great, but it often isn’t enough,” says Michel Weaver, vice president of Ageility Physical Therapy Solutions. “An outpatient plan of care following a home health episode of care brings an individual a more durable therapy outcome.”

The Missing Link in the Continuum of Care? Outpatient Rehab

Many senior living communities have multiple home health partners who provide skilled nursing care. Once a resident’s medical needs are addressed, though, outpatient rehab is key to finishing the recovery process so the resident can fully reengage with their lifestyle. If outpatient rehab isn’t available, residents can remain at a high risk of falls and ending up back in the hospital.

That gap in a community’s continuum of care is where Ageility’s full range of therapy services—including outpatient rehab—fits right in. The results speak for themselves. Communities who have partnered with Ageility have seen a 36% reduced rate of falls. That means fewer residents returning to the hospital and more living life to the fullest in their community.

Here’s what a resident’s journey to full recovery might look like with Ageility:

  1. The resident is discharged from the hospital after a hip fracture and returns to the community requiring acute nursing care.
  2. Ageility’s licensed therapists provide initial therapy while nursing care is provided until the resident reaches a stable level of health.
  3. The same Ageility team of therapists then provides outpatient therapy until the resident reaches their best possible potential.
  4. The resident may then engage with Ageility’s fitness program to continue to build strength and conditioning and maintain their independence for as long as possible.

“You want that same therapist who’s going to know the residents and be able to pull them through the full continuum of care,” says Grace Davenport, Ageility’s Eastern Divisional Director of Rehabilitation. “The goal is partnering with the communities on what the best route to recovery is for each individual resident.”

An On-Site Partner Who Knows Your Residents

We don’t just partner with communities. We’re also on-site, which means we get to know your residents and are there through every step of their recovery. Getting set up is easy. Our fully equipped clinics can be up and running in the community within 60 days. Set up itself can be done in one day with little to no help needed from your team thanks to our white glove service. As a certified Medicare provider, Ageility also takes care of insurance billing and recruitment, so you have more time to spend with residents.

Residents also benefit. With clinics located inside the community, residents can see a therapist whenever they need whether they’re recovering from an accident or just want to be more active. “The Ageility clinic itself is also a valuable amenity for people considering moving into a senior living community,” says Weaver.

Growing Your Competitive Advantage

A strong continuum of care requires collaboration. When communities partner with Ageility, residents achieve the best results thanks to a therapy team that’s there for every step of the recovery process. As people age, the risks of illness and fall-related injuries grows. A full continuum of care provider like Ageility reduces that risk—and grows your competitive advantage—by guiding residents from home health to outpatient rehab to full recovery, helping them stay out of the hospital and in the community they call home.

“Our outcomes are about people being engaged in whatever is meaningful in their lives,” says Weaver. “By having a continuum of care right there within your community, you have a solid partner who’s there to help every resident reach their full potential.”

To learn more about how Ageility can partner with your home health provider to create a full continuum of care in your community and reduce rehospitalizations, contact [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.

Physical Therapy for Seniors FAQs

Accidents happen. It could be a bad swing at the links, a wrong step during a morning jog or just a slip in the kitchen. Older individuals recovering from surgery, injuries or extended periods of little to no exercise are often more prone to injury or re-injury, particularly fall-related injuries due to struggles with strength and balance.

The words “physical therapy” likely bring up images of a long, painstaking process that’s only helpful for those in recovery. The most effective physical therapy, though, is both reactive and proactive. That’s why Ageility offers not just recovery interventions, but also prevention and fitness training in its clinics.

Prevention helps older adults avoid falls and other catastrophic events, while fitness training helps older adults stay active for as long as possible—even to the point of achieving goals they’ve had all their lives like running a marathon. Not sure if Ageility physical therapy is right for you or your loved one? These answers to five of the most common questions about physical therapy for seniors can help you make the most informed decision.

What does a physical therapist (PT) do?

Though PTs are sometimes confused for personal trainers, they do far more by helping you develop a plan of care to address injury, weakness and other movement impairment. PTs must be state-licensed to practice and most hold advanced degrees, including doctorates. That education allows them to determine the cause of problems and create customized treatment plans based on recovery or prevention. For seniors in the Ageility program, these might include orthopedic rehabilitation, strength training, aquatic therapy or arthritic pain management. No matter the treatment, Ageility’s physical therapists share: optimizing movement so clients can live life to the fullest.

How does physical therapy help seniors?

It doesn’t matter if you’re already in great shape or require rehabilitation after orthopedic surgery, physical therapy can help older adults maintain their independence for as long as possible. That’s because physical therapy is proven to help improve strength, balance, mobility and fitness in adults. A strong physical therapy partner like Ageility provides a full range of physical therapy services including:

  • Fall prevention and balance
  • Chronic and acute pain management and prevention
  • Arthritic pain management
  • Strength and flexibility training
  • Postsurgical rehabilitation
  • Sports medicine
  • Continence management
  • And more

How many times a week should you do physical therapy?

When a need for physical therapy has been determined, a course of treatment is likely to be 30 to 60 days in duration. However, the ideal type and frequency of physical therapy can vary from person to person. That’s why a personalized physical therapy partner like Ageility will design individualized treatment plans for each client’s unique circumstances, including sports medicine treatments to help them get back to the activities they love.

The frequency of physical therapy also depends on access. Full-service retirement communities with Ageility clinics strongly benefit from being able to help residents get the ongoing care they need on-site. Even if you need to commute to a clinic, Ageility’s community focus means your visit will be just as personalized and easy as if you lived next door.

Is it ever too late to do physical therapy?

Maybe you have an old back injury that’s still causing you trouble or you’d just like to get up and greet visitors without the need for assistance. No matter what’s holding you back physically, there is no better time than now to start physical therapy. There’s no age limit on improving your quality of life, and Ageility’s therapists are trained and eager to help people reach their personal goals regardless of age, ability or athletic history.

What physical activities are good for older adults?

Many of the physical activities you’ve enjoyed over the years have huge benefits for people as they age. There are exercises and activities, though, that are particularly effective for seniors due to their low impact that puts minimal stress on the body. A few that Ageility’s physical therapists love to use in their customized treatment plans include:

  • Pilates
  • Dumbbell strength training
  • Chair yoga
  • Resistance band workouts
  • Aquatic therapy/water aerobics

How can I find a physical therapist for seniors?

Getting older doesn’t mean you can’t be in the best shape of your life. With regular physical therapy, that hike on your bucket list or goal to continue to live independently is within reach.

Ageility’s licensed therapists are trained and ready to help you get there and make the process as easy and painless as possible. Just wait until you discover what physical therapy can do for you.

To learn more about Ageility’s physical therapy services, contact Ageility at [email protected] for more info or search for an Ageility location near you.

The Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

How Getting In the Water Can Help Get You Back On Your Feet

Beverly was ready to return to teaching, but there was one painful obstacle in her way. Well, make that two. After getting both of her knees replaced, Beverly was facing at least three months of slow, stressful rehabilitation and recovery. That was a long time to be away from her students and the job she loves. Good thing there was another, more appealing option: an innovative Ageility aquatic therapy program at The Court at Palm Aire in Pompano Beach, Florida. The benefits of aquatic therapy include a faster and easier recovery. Within two months, Beverly was back on her feet and walking into class with knees that felt stronger than ever.

“Aquatic therapy has been a vital, less painful step in my rehabilitation and recovery,” says Beverly. “Had it not been for the care and exercise that I received from my aquatic therapist, I wouldn’t have been as mobile and able to return to work so quickly.”

Whether you need physical therapy to get you back to work like Beverly, or on the golf course, aquatic (or pool) therapy provides a safe and easy path to a speedy recovery. Aquatic therapy also treats a wide variety of conditions and offers a long list of benefits for patients of all ages and fitness levels. Not sure if aquatic therapy is right for you or your loved one? Here’s what you need to know about aquatic therapy before taking the dip.

What’s the difference between aquatic therapy and traditional physical therapy?

Think about the last time you were floating freely in a pool. It felt almost effortless, right? That’s because the buoyancy provided by the water supports your weight and, in turn, reduces the amount of stress placed on the joints. Now consider the last time you splashed someone. Moving your hand through the water requires more force than through the air because of water’s natural resistance. Yet, it also demands far less strain than the weights you would use in traditional physical therapy. That resistance allows for strengthening muscles with less stress, making aquatic therapy a speedier and less painful recovery option than traditional therapy.

What are the benefits of aquatic therapy?

Nothing relaxes the mind and the body quite like a few hours in the pool. Aquatic therapy, though, offers far more benefits than just that refreshed feeling. Spending time in the water exercising alongside a physical therapist can also help you strengthen muscles, reduce swelling, improve balance and enhance flexibility. Put those together and a couple of months of aquatic therapy sessions can help you regain the strength, endurance, and balance you need to get back to moving normally with less pain.

What conditions does aquatic therapy treat?

In short, just about everything! The therapeutic properties of water alongside skilled aquatic therapy specialists can treat a large number of injuries and ailments, and alleviate many chronic conditions. Here are some of the most common that aquatic therapy can treat:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Spinal cord injury
  • Arthritis
  • Lower back pain
  • Joint replacement
  • And many more!

Why choose Ageility for aquatic therapy?

Everyone going through physical therapy has unique circumstances, aches and pains. That’s why Ageility’s experienced and certified therapists provide customized aquatic therapy based on the particular needs of the person. Onsite, heated pools with adaptive devices also allow greater flexibility and convenience for older adults in assisted living communities and outpatients like Lisa. For over a decade, Lisa says customized aquatic therapy has proved “indispensable” to her recovery as a C3 incomplete quadriplegic. She says her improved mobility from “work in the water” has helped her be more functional and independent than she ever thought possible.

“In short, the more I do in the water, the more I can do on land,” she says. “But more importantly, the more I do in the water, the better I feel overall, both physically and emotionally.”

Physical therapy can be a long and painstaking process, but it doesn’t have to be. Aquatic therapy offers a relatively painless recovery in less time with a whole host of benefits, no matter your condition. If traditional therapy doesn’t appeal to you, aquatic therapy at one of Ageility’s physical therapy locations near you might just be the perfect solution to help you get back to the daily activities you love most. Just don’t forget to dry off first!

Experience aquatic therapy designed for older adults who want to live better

Does Ageility sound like the solution you need – for yourself or your senior living community? Find an Ageility clinic or learn more about Ageility partnerships.

COPD Therapy: Breathe Easier with COPD Rehab

It may start with a nagging cough or slight shortness of breath that you simply dismiss. Over time you might feel increasing fatigue or chest pressure. COPD – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease – is a group of breathing disorders. It can include chronic bronchitis, emphysema or other conditions that make it much harder to breathe. No matter which sub-type, COPD often appears gradually over time, and is more common in older people because it results from damage to the lungs over time.

But the good news is: COPD treatments, including therapy, can significantly reduce COPD symptoms. If you have breathing problems, you might already have medication to open up your lungs and airways. Or you might have oxygen to help you breathe easier. But medication and oxygen aren’t the only options.

At Ageility, older adults can take advantage of our COPD therapy. Through a combination of physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy, you can greatly improve your quality of life.

How does COPD therapy work?

COPD is fairly common. Over 16 million Americans have been diagnosed with it. Millions more may have it but haven’t seen a doctor yet. When they do see a doctor, they frequently are prescribed medications to reduce the symptoms.

While medications can be used to help manage symptoms, COPD therapy is important, too – to help maintain strength, improve endurance or activity tolerance, and prevent illnesses related to inactivity. Therapy can help interrupt the cycle of low endurance: When you can’t breathe as easily during activity, you tend to become less active, which results in more fatigue. It can be a quick downward spiral if not addressed quickly.

Besides helping you get your strength and endurance back, COPD therapy can also lower your risk of other complications such as pneumonia. It can help ensure you swallow properly so that you don’t aspirate (breathe in) food or drink by mistake, a common struggle among people with COPD. Aspirating food often leads to pneumonia, which further impairs breathing.

As you lose strength and endurance, you also will find it more difficult to take care of yourself. Activities such as bathing, dressing and taking care of your home – or more fun things like shopping or traveling – cause increased difficulty breathing, as well as fatigue. Through Ageility’s COPD therapy, you will regain or improve the ability to perform your daily activities and be able to live a full, active life.

Our COPD therapy focuses on the following:

  • Exercises to strengthen your limbs and breathing muscles. With COPD, your body can’t get the oxygen it needs to function well. Exercises can help increase the flow of oxygen into your body.
  • Stretching to open up tight muscles around the chest. This can help you breathe easier.
  • Education and training to breathe properly and pace your activities, so that you can do more. For example, if you need help getting in and out of the house, our treatments may help you to manage your activity. Soon you may become more independent and find you can go to appointments and other outings on your own.
  • Balance training to help you feel safer. When you have COPD, you get less oxygen to your muscles which can make you feel weak or unsteady. You might worry about falls and as a result limit your activities.
  • Assistance with weight loss, since carrying extra weight can make breathing more difficult. Our therapists may collaborate with your physician to help you manage weight.
  • A speech therapy evaluation. Speech therapists specialize in proper swallowing which can become more challenging with COPD. With increased shortness of breath, it can become difficult to swallow safely. A speech therapist can test your swallowing, teach you ways to eat and drink safely, and help prevent things such as aspiration pneumonia, which is caused by improper swallowing.
  • A holistic approach. COPD is linked to anxiety and depression. Ageility takes a holistic approach to treatment, to help increase relaxation, lower stress, and improve quality of life. We also advocate for our clients, including providing help in getting more appropriate living arrangements. In one example, we helped a client arrange for a first-floor apartment to make it easier to get around outside of her home. We can help you, too, to identify and overcome barriers outside of therapy. At the end of the program, you will have learned exercises you can continue on your own. These exercises will be a part of your new approach to help manage symptoms.

How big is the impact of COPD therapy?

Therapy can significantly improve quality of life for patients with COPD. For example, it can reduce how often you need to be seen for COPD symptoms. For one client, COPD therapy helped reduce emergency room visits and hospitalizations from 17 a year to just three a year.

What type of exercises help COPD recovery?

One technique that can assist COPD recover is Pursed Lip Breathing, used to help improve your breathing. Pursed lip breathing can make your breaths slower and more intentional.

  1. Sit with your back straight, or find a comfortable place to lie down.
  2. Relax your shoulders as much as possible.
  3. Inhale through your nose for two seconds. You’ll feel the air move into your abdomen. Try to fill your abdomen with air, not just your lungs.
  4. Purse your lips as if you’re blowing on hot food. Breathe out slowly through your lips, taking twice as long to exhale as you took to breathe in.
  5. Repeat. Over time, you can increase the inhale and exhale counts from two seconds to four seconds.

How can I find COPD therapy services?

If you have COPD – and are feeling limited by what you can do – contact Ageility at [email protected] to learn how we can help, or search for an Ageility location near you.

Managing Urinary Incontinence: Asking for a Friend

It’s happened again. You sneezed and felt a leak down below. You think that maybe you won’t go out to dinner tonight with friends like you planned. Maybe you should stay home because if you go out tonight and laugh too hard, you’ll get that same sensation and feel embarrassed.

In fact, loss of bladder control has been a problem for a while now, and each time it happens—including this time—you swear you’ll call your doctor.

But you’re embarrassed and, like all the other times, you put it off. Maybe if you told your doctor you were asking for a friend, you could find the courage to ask advice on managing urinary incontinence.

If you did, your doctor might say your friend should know a few things: First, she’s not alone. Second, bladder leakage, also called urinary incontinence (UI), is highly manageable and treatable. Third, it’s important to get UI checked out, because it may be caused by an underlying medical condition that can be addressed by your doctor. Last, physical or occupational therapy could help, too.

And one more: There are steps you can take now to start regaining bladder control so you can live life with much less worry and a lot more confidence.

You’re not alone

Bladder leakage is more common than many people think. It occurs in both women and men, but it is more common in women, for whom childbirth and menopause are factors in addition to aging. In independent living and assisted living communities, UI is estimated to occur in 15%–35% of women and men. There are three main types:

  • Stress incontinence occurs with physical stress, such as sneezing, coughing, laughing or working out.
  • Urge or urgency incontinence occurs when a sudden, strong urge to urinate leads to leakage or not getting to the bathroom in time—a “Gotta go right now!” feeling.
  • Mixed incontinence is when both stress and urge types occur.

Although UI is caused by conditions that happen to occur with aging, it should not be considered a normal part of getting older. It’s normal for an older adult to go to the bathroom one or two times during the night, and urgency should be rare. Yet many women don’t report UI to their doctor—only one in four seek care for the problem. That’s why it’s important to know that UI is highly treatable with therapy, such as that provided by Ageility physical or occupational therapists.

What can urinary incontinence therapy do?

In women, the pelvic floor is an interconnected group of muscles supporting the bladder. When it weakens, leakage or incontinence can result. Regular exercise of these muscles—called pelvic floor muscle (PFM) or Kegel exercises—can build muscle strength, endurance and coordination. Physical and occupational therapy treatment combines PFM exercises with modifications and other strategies to provide a well-rounded approach to treating UI. Treatment includes:

  • Exercises to strengthen the pelvic muscles
  • Monitoring the movement and strength of the pelvic muscles
  • Teaching an at-home routine for strengthening the muscles and calming the nervous system
  • Environmental modification
  • Clothing modification
  • Functional activities to increase toileting independence
  • Mental strategies

By addressing not just physical strength but other factors, Ageility therapists teach their clients multiple ways to manage and overcome UI for an optimal chance at success.

Why you should talk to your doctor about managing urinary incontinence

Many people who struggle with UI are reluctant to bring it up with their physician. But UI may not be just a sign of weak pelvic floor muscles (or, in the case of some older men, an enlarged prostate). In rare cases, it can also be a sign of an underlying serious medical condition. Still, it is a very good reason to talk to your doctor is if UI is interfering with your daily life.

Until you can consult your doctor, here are some steps you can take to begin regaining control of your bladder and the hold UI has on your life:

  • Monitor your UI. Note when it occurs to help recognize patterns you may want to change, such as using the bathroom following meals.
  • Change your lifestyle. Even something simple can help, such as going to the bathroom every 2 hours during the day to empty your bladder regardless of the urge to go.
  • Get adequate sleep.
  • Watch what you eat and drink, especially “bladder irritants” such as caffeine, alcohol and acidic foods.
  • Increase your physical activity.
  • Get involved in recreational and social activities.

Start taking control—talk to Ageility

Are you (or your friend!) ready to tackle UI and leave the worry behind?
Find an Ageility clinic near you.