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Physical Therapy for the Elderly


For the elderly population, illness can quickly affect physical stability and cause deterioration in walking. Alternatively, a decline in physical function can cause deterioration in health and quality of life. Therefore, physical therapy interventions are an essential aspect of health care delivery. Exercise and other therapeutic treatments provide options to address inactivity, muscle weakness, and specific physical and medical problems. Using these techniques, the physical therapist is able to improve function, optimize safety, and ameliorate painful or dysfunctional conditions.



FIATARONE, M. A.; O'NEILL, E. F.; DOYLE, R. N.; CLEMENTS, K. M.; SOLARES, G. R.; NELSON, M. F.; ROBERTS, S. B.; KEHAYIAS, J. J.; LIPSITZ, L. A.; and EVANS, W. J. "Exercise Training and Nutritional Supplementation for Physical Frailty in Very Elderly People." The New England Journal of Medicine 330, no. 25 (1994): 1769–1775.

GUCCIONE, A. A. Geriatric Physical Therapy. St. Louis, Mo.: Mosby–Year Book, Inc., 1993.

TINETTI, M. E., and SPEECHLEY, M. "Prevention of Falls among the Elderly." The New England Journal of Medicine 320, no. 16 (1989): 1055–1059.

Additional topics

Medicine EncyclopediaAging Healthy - Part 3Physical Therapy for the Elderly - Assessment, Treatment, Conclusion - Interdisciplinary approach