How Hydrotherapy Can Aid the Elderly

A recent International Council on Active Aging report of adults aged 50+ showed: 70% of the people felt that a positive attitude can add years to their life. Older adults who exercise regularly were 32% more likely to have high optimism than those who didn’t exercise, and were 42% less likely to report a depression diagnosis.

However, not all exercises may be suitable for the elderly with various conditions and that is where hydrotherapy can come in.

What is hydrotherapy?

Hydrotherapy is a safe, easy way to manage chronic illness with less pain, and muscles soreness. Type of exercises and equipment used varies depending on the needs and goals of the client. It is conducted in 1-on-1 sessions for 60 minutes. Hydrotherapy (sometimes called aquatic therapy) is an ideal exercise tool because seniors feel safe and confident in a pool, as the water minimises pain and joint stress. These factors contribute to why the elderly are more willing to continue their exercise routines in a pool.

According to Marcus Tow, Snr Physiotherapist of Allium Healthcare, hydrotherapy is suitable even for seniors who can’t swim as the pool used is only 1.1m. As such, the water is up to the chest when one stands.

What conditions may be treated with hydrotherapy?

Some conditions that may be treated with hydrotherapy include:

  • Stroke
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Arthritis
  • Lower back injuries
  • Chronic pain

Marcus explains that for those with knee pain, the patients walk in the pool, do squats and lunges on the steps in the water to improve their condition; while those with stroke can practice standing, balancing, walking and movement of limbs in the pool as well.

Mr Teo Phiak Hong, a 63-year-old client shared, “I suffered a major stroke in the middle of 2020 last year. This left me with difficulties with speech, slurring on one side of my face and loss of mobility on my right limbs. Physiotherapist Marcus and his team provided invaluable support during my journey of recovery. The Allium team guided me towards early rehabilitation comprising consistent and disciplined exercise and diet with regular medication.

In particular, I saw the emphasis on the need for a tailored programme with appropriate exercises and frequency and how it has benefitted me first hand. My recovery was significant and visible to my family members. The warm and friendly staff together with the  comfortable and conducive environment at Allium Healthcare made my recovery journey a much easier one. Although I still have not reached the level of recovery that I desire, I am still taking the advice and recommendations of the Allium team and carrying out my physiotherapy, regular medication and watching my diet by my own accord. I am truly grateful to the Allium team for helping me during one of my most challenging times. All the best to the team, and continue your great and meaningful work!”

Marcus added that it can take weeks to months for patients are able to see an improvement in their condition due to many factors (both controllable and not). He shared that one elderly client found joy in “being able to achieve movements in the water that he couldn’t do on land”. Small accumulative achievements in the pool therefore, translates into better function on land over time.


The hydrotherapy service at Allium Healthcare is open to the public and more information can be found on their website.

Images: Allium Care Suites

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