Seniors Thrive with Prosthesis

Adapting to change can be a challenge, but with the right support seniors can adapt quickly to using a prosthesis after losing a limb.

At Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics, our friendly, professional staff do much more than fit prosthetics. We ensure that our clients are comfortable and get the help they need to smoothly transition to using a prosthesis well.

Here is some advice we have for seniors who need to use a prosthesis and want to maintain their independence:

Have you heard the saying you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Ignore it! We know many seniors who have lost limbs and recovered well, learning to use a prosthesis just as quickly as some younger clients. Truly, adapting to a prosthesis is more about motivation and mindset than it is about age.

Make up your mind that you will adapt. Change can be hard, but it’s not impossible. Focus on what you can do and on making progress. Learning takes time and there are people – like our staff at Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics – who can offer practical tips and advice.

Practice is key to improving your confidence. After gaining experience with rehabilitation, some seniors find having a purpose aside from merely using the prosthesis to be very helpful. For instance, having to care for grandchildren or volunteering at a foodbank could be a reason to go out and practice using the prosthesis. It is important to look outside yourself for motivation (and people to cheer your successes!). Occupational therapy can be a very important step in learning how to use your new prosthesis with maximum success.

Discuss expectations and goals with loved ones. Your friends and family members will want to support you, but may not understand what is helpful and what is detrimental to your recovery after amputation. Don’t feel pressured, for instance, to use a wheelchair if you really want to walk using your prosthetic limb. If people offer to help, thank them but set limits if you are determined and able to attempt something on your own. Let them know you appreciate their help and will ask when you need it – and make sure that when you do need a little assistance, you don’t hesitate to ask.

Ask your prosthetist about your functional level. Your rehabilitation care providers will typically assign you with a number to signify your functional level, with zero being no ability to move independently or self-transfer and level 4 being for people who are highly independent and very active. Usually seniors will be assigned a level 2 or 3, which is the ability to navigate level surfaces or also cope well with low-level barriers like steps. If you know your level, you can then strive to reach the next level of mobility, which may allow you to choose more advanced prosthetic technologies that will enhance the quality of your day-to-day activities.

Our friendly, professional staff can help seniors adapt and thrive with artificial limbs. Teter Orthotics & Prosthetics offers expert prosthesis services in Traverse City and more than 20 locations throughout Michigan and accepts a wide variety of health insurance plans. We also have the flexibility to work out an extended payment plans.

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