Promoting independence and mobility is important for our aging population. As the number of senior adults is expected to increase in the next several years, the degree to which continued independence can be maintained may, ultimately, determine how well our medical and social support services can function.

If you, or someone you love, is living with a disability that involves the development of an injury or illness, it may be prudent to seek the use of geriatric physical therapy. Because senior adults often experience abnormal restrictions to their mobility and joint function, when injury or illness arise, the physical therapy designed specifically for senior adults is important to their overall health.

Compliance in a geriatric physical therapy program can be challenging for families who care for an aging adult. While joint pain is a common complaint, some senior adults simply choose not to comply with fitness recommendations simply out of emotional distress. If this is a concern, it may be appropriate to consider psychotherapy in addition to geriatric physical therapy. In many cases, psychotherapy can be offered in the same session.

Social cognitive therapy is important to tool to the geriatric physical therapy and the success of a physical therapy program. The focus of social cognitive therapy involves the modifications of home environment, cognition, personal barriers and modifying behavior. Because each of these dynamics can affect one another, the success of social cognitive therapy should be designed to interconnect these dynamics and promote more compliance in a geriatric physical therapy program when needed.

Often, with the proper social cognition therapy, and successful completion of the geriatric physical therapy program, there is a marked improvement in the overall health of the senior adult. In fact, many senior adults continue to apply social cognitive therapy to their daily living and even begin to engage in fitness programs on their own.

Fitness is important for senior adults but, even more importantly, may be the compliance in a geriatric physical therapy program. If you find that compliance in the geriatric physical therapy program is not successful for the aging adult, it may be appropriate to incorporate social cognitive therapy as part of the overall therapy program. In doing so, you can encourage compliance and, oftentimes, promote long term changes in fitness and exercise perceptions. The key to the optimal outcome lies in a collaborative approach and compliance to the social cognitive therapy as well.