How do I get my mother to do her physical therapy?

1 answer | Last updated: Dec 01, 2016
Barbaravolkov asked...

How do I get my mother to do her physical therapy?


Expert Answers

Laura Beltramo, a physical therapist who specializes in geriatrics, graduated with honors from the University of California at San Francisco in 2000. She loves her job working as the sole physical therapist at a premier life-care facility in San Francisco. She has written articles and lectured extensively on fall prevention and other issues relevant to the aging experience. As a registered yoga teacher, she teaches yoga, meditation, and other mindfulness techniques to seniors -- helping them expand their repertoire for coping with stress, pain, and illness in the later years.

There are a few ways you can encourage your mother to follow through with her physical therapy program. One, make sure she gets a hand-out with pictures and written instructions so she knows exactly what she’s supposed to do. Also, it’s been shown that people are more successful with exercise regimens if they do them in the morning, so you can encourage her to make this a part of her morning routine, maybe before breakfast or her shower. If you're able, you can go to a physical therapy appointment with your mom just to make sure the therapist is doing a good job of explaining the benefit of each exercise. These specifics can be motivators. For example, I'll tell patients that certain exercises will strengthen the muscles to help them get up from a chair more easily. Understand the purpose of an exercise, can make someone try harder.. (You can ask the therapist to do this if she's not.) Finally, just remember the old adage about leading a horse to water but not being able to make it drink -- you can be supportive of your mom but relieve yourself of the burden of feeling you need to make her exercise. This is up to her. I've had to come to terms with this myself as I try to encourage my patients to follow through with their programs. Good luck!