Top 3 Tips for Geriatric Rehab and Nutrition

Aug 27, 2021

By Dr. Sean M Wells, DPT, PT, OCS, ATC, CSCS, CNPT, NSCA-CPT, Cert-DN

Exercise is certainly medicine but what if we could do more for our older adult clients? As physical therapists (PTs), occupational therapists (OTs), or personal trainers we strive to push our clients with the best exercise selection and most evidenced-based techniques to improve our clients’ strength, balance, and function. But what if all we are doing is for not because of a client’s poor diet? 

I have seen this time and time again in my clinical practice: a client enters my practice, I examine them and find weakness and balance deficits; we begin a program of resistance training, balance and neuromuscular work, and notably see little change in their function. As I dive deeper into their lifestyle factors (e.g. sleep, stress management, and nutrition) I find they don’t eat enough, drink too much alcohol, and consume overly processed foods devoid of essential nutrients.  Could these...

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Geriatric Physical Therapy and Nutrition

Sep 30, 2020

By Dr. Sean M. Wells

Many facets of nutrition can impact older adults' function and health. The focus on this blog article will be to highlight how inflammation, which can be mediated via diet, impacts older adult function and health. 

Using the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII), physical therapists can quantify the amount of inflammation a client's diet is provoking. Essentially the score ranges from as low as -5 to as high as 5, with a "fast food diet being reported at 4 and a macrobiotic diet being listed at -5. Probably the best diets on the DII are vegetarian Indian diets and other Asian diets rich in vegetables and spices. Another way of "scoring" or ranking the inflammation cause by a diet is to use an A-F system. An "A" score would be ideal and the most negative (e.g. close to -5, which is the least inflammatory), while "F" is the most inflammatory (e.g. most positive, 5). An average, or "C" score, would be a 0. 

 Using the DII, PTs can see how diet...

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