Off the Topic
World famous evangelist Billy Graham once said, “In spite of the limitations and challenges of old age, the later years can be some of the most rewarding and fulfilling of our lives.”1 As rehabilitation professionals, it is our mission to help our aging patients achieve or maintain high levels of physical health as they age. As we establish treatment plans that will optimize function for our patients, we will hopefully succeed in assisting our patients to lead rewarding and fulfilling lives.
We are fortunate to live in the 21st century, where we have a plethora of scientific information on health and aging. Geriatric rehabilitation includes a vast array of interventions designed to help reduce the prevalence of old age disability. Advancing rehabilitative research is vital to increasing our scientific knowledge base of information from which we can make our clinical decisions. This Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation issue is titled, “Off the Topic.” Although this issue is not directed around one particular theme, it contains many compelling articles on diverse rehabilitative care subject matters. Authors for this issue are from a variety of countries including Japan, Poland, Turkey, Malaysia, Brazil, Greece, Korea, Italy, Canada, and Iran. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation is pleased and honored to have these article submissions from all over the globe. This issue is packed full of informative and applicable research as well as case study articles that address a variety of topics. Here is a sneak peak of some of the topics addressed in this issue.
- Step length of elderly patients may be a useful index to reflect energy expenditure during walking.
- Post–isometric relaxation of the diaphragm may be recommended for older adults to improve respiratory parameters, chest mobility, and diaphragm tension.
- Art therapy, specifically ceramic painting, may have a positive effect on the cognitive status and life satisfaction of older adults in a nursing home.
- The Physiological Profile Assessment may be the best physical performance correlate of falls for community-dwelling adults. The Timed Up and Go (TUG) test, a more cost-effective and simpler tool to use, may be used to predict falls as well. The TUG test is potentially more effective when performing large-scale community falls screens.
- Patients in 2 Parkinson disease subgroups (tremor dominant vs akinetic-rigid) were tested to determine whether dual tasking, using a mental task, decreased performance during the TUG test. The cognitive distractor was determined to affect 2 separate cognitive domains in each of the 2 subgroups.
- Wearing insoles with a toe grip bar can improve toe grip strength and body sway, which may reduce fall rates in the elderly.
- A Nordic Walking program can have beneficial effects on the functional parameters as measured in the Senior Fitness Test and the Bosco Counter-Movement Jump Test.
- Abdominal massage can be an effective method to manage constipation in the elderly.
- As compared with younger patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), elderly patients with TBI can have a similar amount of functional improvement in areas such as cognition, balance, and activities of daily living; however, the functional outcomes are typically better in the younger TBI group.
- Dynapenic abdominal obesity (D/AO), a concept that defines the age-related coexistence of low muscle strength and increased central adiposity, was associated with increased risk and fear of falling as well as reduced dynamic standing balance.
- Knowing what experts in various parts of the world do to conservatively treat osteoarthritis of the thumb carpometacarpal joint may give the rehabilitation professional insight into treating this patient population.
- Geriatric rehabilitation can play a key role in treating the young medically complex patient or young patient dealing with premature aging diseases.
- In patients with diabetic peripheral neuropathy, an aerobic exercise program may improve electrophysiological features of certain lower extremity peripheral nerves.
Wow! Let's give a hand to the tremendous research given in this issue! No doubt, these authors have collectively spent thousands of hours executing this rehabilitation research to present in this issue. We must also not forget the many patients and clients who also gave their consent and participated in these research studies. We thank you all! Now, what can we do with all of this knowledge? How can we put it all together? Who of our patients can benefit from what we have learned?
First, find out what your patients' physical limitations and challenges are. Then, find out what his or her goals are. Finally, use rehabilitation research to help you make clinical decisions and execute a plan for your each of your patients. Let's help our patients lead rewarding and fulfilling lives! Let's get to work!
—Wendy Powers James, PT
Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation