The elderly population in Canada is expanding rapidly and so is the physiotherapy market. A recent Windsor Star article directly highlighted Windsor’s growing demand for professionals in various elderly care capacities, and the 2011 Canadian census shows that 1 in 4 Windsor residents are over the age of 50. To meet the growing demand for elderly care, the Ontario government just confirmed that it will be providing physiotherapy and fall prevention to 200,000 more Ontarian senior citizens—it’s safe to say the physiotherapy job market is currently thriving. Naturally, as the population grows older, the demand for professional physiotherapy assistants will only grow as well, and so pursuing training in this field will definitely provide a great return on investment.
Graduates of physiotherapy assistant training programs will be positioned to obtain rewarding careers quickly, and begin assisting the elderly in maintaining their health, their independence, and ensuring they continue to live fruitful lives.
Read on to find out the ways in which a physiotherapy assistant diploma can help students understand the specific physical health needs of elderly clients.
Students will learn that physiotherapy for older adults is a distinct field that requires hands-on physiotherapy assistant training—like the type offered in Canadian College’s 200-hour clinical placement. This training will provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to cater physiotherapy practices specifically to seniors.
Seniors commonly experience age-related diseases and occurrences, such as osteoporosis and falls, which ultimately wear on the human body and require assistance from medical professionals like physiotherapists and physiotherapy assistants. Physiotherapy assistants help qualified physiotherapists work with aging populations to improve and restore movement so that they can return to normal functioning when possible, and halt any long-term damage that may occur. Some ways in which a physiotherapy assistant can help in this task is through demonstrating and working through exercises with patients, or showing patients how to properly use mobility aids.
There are numerous exercises taught in Canadian College’s physiotherapy assistant course which can be performed with seniors to improve their coordination, flexibility, mobility and overall health. Such exercises may include leg raises, standing on one foot, sit-ups and more. However, it’s important to note that these need to be done with the proper exercise principles in mind. Trained professionals know that they must ensure exercises are performed slowly and carefully in order to avoid injuries. Exercises should also be started very lightly, before moving up in intensity over a long period of time. For instance, if it is recommended that a client performs a set of sit-ups, try to start them off with a hand on their back and have them only extend out approximately 30 degrees from their knees towards the ground before returning to a sit-up position.
Physiotherapy assistants should also always maintain a high level of interaction during exercises so that clients will remain confident as they proceed. Consistently checking on the client by asking if they need assistance will ensure that they notify you if they feel any discomfort, as people can sometimes feel embarrassed to speak up.
As the body grows older it will undergo numerous changes, sometimes becoming stiffer and often becoming more susceptible to injury. To make sure that stretching doesn’t lead to injury, start your client off with very low-effort stretches—clients can even begin their stretching routine sitting down! It is often useful to demonstrate stretches for clients. For instance, once you begin your career, you might try sitting down next to your client and demonstrating the exercise you would like them to complete. It may also help if they perform the exercise at the same time as you are demonstrating it.
A physiotherapy assistant diploma could be the ticket to a rewarding career in Windsor or elsewhere—want to be part of the movement in developing elderly movement?
Contact Canadian College to learn more about our program or to speak to an advisor!