My name is Elise Ruckert. I am a physical therapist who graduated from Ithaca College in 2006 with my DPT and a double-minor in Gerontology and Integrative Health Studies. As a PT, every day I am reminded why I chose to concentrate part of my education on aging studies: older adults are huge consumers of health care. Unfortunately, there are a lot of health care practitioners out there today who do not have a strong understanding of how much we can improve the function of older adults. For example, falls are often attributed to weakness and immobility from "old age"-- with little thought on prevention. There is so much we can do to help older adults continue their involvement with or get back into the activities they love at home and in the community!
I work on the Spinal Cord Injury Service at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehab Center in Los Angeles, CA. Here, I work with individuals of all ages-- young, middle-aged, and older adults. People arrive at our hospital with injuries from a variety of causes: motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, violence, and disease (among others). Most of the older adults I see have sustained spinal injuries due to falls or degenerative conditions (such as spinal stenosis). Every patient is unique, and I am grateful for an ever-changing and dynamic work environment. It keeps me on my toes!
My goal for participating in this blog is:
- For you to consider the benefits of having a foundation in gerontology studies as a new health care clinician.
- For you to understand the influence of an aging society on current physical therapy practice and research.
- To expose you to the role of PT in improving quality of life for older adults with different health conditions (ex: cerebrovascular disease, diabetes, Parkinson's Disease, etc.).
If you have specific questions or comments, feel free to pass them along. I'll look forward to hearing from you and sharing my experiences with you!