With an ever increasing aging population in the United States, the need for qualified physical therapy assistants is on the increase. As we age, normal tasks of everyday living can become more complex, and challenging to perform without outside aide from professional individuals or caretakers. Older age also brings additional health problems associated with the aging process.
We become more dependent in our older age on the assistance of health care services. Many health concerns will require constant monitoring during our older age. A physical therapy assistant will primarily works on assisting the patient to strengthen and keep the body strong as possible. Licensed physical therapy assistants are often a major piece of the health care puzzle for dealing with elderly patients.
If you are considering a career as a physical therapy assistant who works with the elderly, take the following into consideration:
Working as a physical therapy assistant for the aged population is not a suitable portion of work for everyone. It requires lots of compassion, lots of patience, along with a strong desire to help those that have a hard time helping themselves. Being compassionate and patient are not the only factors that make a physical therapy assistant adequate when working with the elderly. A Strong commitment to the clinical skill set they have learned in school, as well as their communication with all other members of the physical therapy team is just as essential. You spend 2 years receiving an associates degree for a reason! to gain practical knowledge that is needed in the clinical environment to help you make informed decisions with how you work with your patients.
A physical therapy assistant education teaches the PTA a strong knowledge base with regards to diseases of aging. These can include diseases such Alzheimer’s, Dementia, Cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid conditions which effect mobility, and a host of other conditions that are associated with the aging population.
A well trained PTA will know how to work with patients who will be easily frustrated by the physical therapy process, or who will also be unable to pay attention, or sometimes are unable to complete the tasks that they are given. This is all part of the job for a physical therapy assistant working in an aging home setting, or working primarily with elderly patients. This is where the above mentioned character traits like compassion become a huge asset, and ultimately will decide if you are able to work in such a career setting.
A PTA understands the importance of continued motor pattern recruitment for individuals of any age, especially the elderly. Even though the elderly, and those effected by diseases of aging have a difficult time in following instructions of exercises, the benefits of having them continuing to use their bodies is extremely beneficial. Staying mobile is an essential factor for an aging individual, this is primarily where the PTA operates, keeping patients mobile with strong workable muscles.
Working with the elderly also means working with patients in pain. Making sure they still complete their prescribed treatment plan that was designed by the physical therapist is essential. While the PTA must be compassionate, patient and understanding, they also must complete the tasks they set out to do in a timely fashion. Always remember the discomfort that the individual may be in performing the exercises and tasks you are asking them to perform.
As we age into the later years of our lives we all become more depending on others in order to keep our quality of living as high as possible. A trained physical therapy assistant has the knowledge and skills to work with these elderly individuals. PTA’s are very fairly compensated for the work they do. With an aging population the job opportunities for working with the elderly will only increase in the near future.
If you want a career as a physical therapy assistant, Congratulations! you’ve made a solid career choice. We encourage you to browse through this site as a resource and check back for updated blog entries.