Editor's Note: The following is an excerpt from Dr. Garavaglia's latest Gerotalk column. Read the full article here.
Nursing homes are often associated with the old, the frail, the sick, and the infirm. They have traditionally been places where many older adults will spend their final years. The human body needs physical stimulation for the maintenance of health. Even for those within nursing homes that have illnesses that make it difficult for them to take care of themselves, or for others to take care of them, this does not mean that people should remain in a stagnant environment that fosters further deterioration at a possibly enhanced pace.
In fact, federal regulations often emphasize the need to prevent unanticipated and unnecessary decline among nursing home residents. Many think that a nursing care facility that provides sound nursing and physician care meets the most important needs of residents and their health.
Although the word activity and exercise is often viewed as an anathema when applied to older adults, in reality as we age and get older, the need for activity and exercise actually increases. Even in healthy adults, providing an environment that fails to foster proper activity and exercise leads to a gradual weakening of the body, making it more susceptible to further infections and diseases. In older adults, including those within nursing care facilities, where muscle strength declines normally at a faster rate than is found in younger populations, providing an optimal level of activity and exercise that can forestall a debilitating level of weakness, stiffness, coordination loss and loss of normal functional movement needs is of paramount importance.
To read the full article, click here.
Dr. Brian Garavaglia is a long-term care administrator, gerontologist, educator, author and consultant. He has worked in health care for approximately 26 years in all phases of health care including acute, subacute and long-term care environments. His area of specialization is older adults and the long-term care environment. He has continued to research, publish and be an advocate for the older adult population as well as teach at various colleges within the Detroit-metropolitan area. He is the author of "The Comprehensive Guide to Nursing Home Administration."