Experts from Fyzical Therapy & Balance of Palm Beach County and Seniors Helping Seniors have been sharing insights for senior citizens who won their battle with COVID-19 and are now looking ahead to the future.
The road to recovery has been a challenge for everyone who has suffered the devastating effects of the virus, but for seniors in particular, it looks a little different.
For younger victims, hospitalization is usually only required in the most severe cases. For seniors, hospitalization is more common, and the consequences of bed rest and time on a ventilator can make for an extremely difficult recovery. For seniors who are recovering from COVID-19, returning home from the intensive care unit requires care and additional physical therapy and is especially important for those who were hospitalized for more than two weeks.
Mike Graves, CEO of Fyzical Therapy & Balance Centers in Palm Beach County, has experience helping patients recover from long-term illness, injuries and long hospital stays. Ed Dunkel, owner of Seniors Helping Seniors in Boca Raton, is an expert in senior caregiving and knows the ins and outs of how to provide proper day-to-day care. Together, they have important insight on what life for seniors after COVID-19 recovery will look like and how proper physical therapy and caregiving can make all the difference.
Post Intensive Care Syndrome (PICS) is a term coined to describe the illnesses people contract after a stay in the ICU. PICS can manifest as problems with physical function, cognition and mental health. As a result of the pandemic and an increase in hospitalization, cases of PICS are expected to rise.
PICS manifests differently in every recovering COVID-19 patient, but there are some general guidelines that need to be followed when caring for a recovering senior.
In order to combat PICS, specific physical therapy is needed to help regain muscle function and kickstart muscle memory. Simple tasks, like walking, can take days or weeks to relearn depending on the severity of the PICS. Graves suggests supervised exercises, specifically ones that tap into training the muscles used for basic function, to help regain strength in order to live a more independent life.
PICS is more than just physical — it can affect a patient’s mental health as well. After a stay in the ICU, it can be difficult for many seniors to remember how to go about their normal daily routines, like going to the grocery store, going for walks with friends or even just checking in with family members.
According to Dunkel, having a family member or caregiver stay with and keep watch over seniors is crucial. Adjusting back to normal life takes time, and it could be a few weeks, or even months, to rebuild a regular daily routine.
For COVID-19 patients, seniors in particular, there is often a lot of fatigue, weakness and inability to perform daily tasks like walking after being discharged from the hospital.
There is no singular solution to tackling recovery; it requires proper physical therapy, exercise and caregiving after hospital discharge.
Fyzical Therapy & Balance, a health and wellness franchise, has 400-plus centers in 45 states, offering comprehensive patient care through unique balance protocols and healthy lifestyle products and services. Learn more at www.fyzical.com.
Seniors Helping Seniors’ mission is to be the most respected and rewarding homecare provider in the U.S. The franchise brand is the only company that prioritizes hiring active seniors to provide care services to the less-active members of their community. Seniors Helping Seniors aligns caregivers and care recipients based on the abilities and needs of both by offering a wide range of care services. Learn more at www.seniorshelpingseniors.com.