My elderly mother fell and broke her hip last week. She will be coming home in a few more days. The therapist says she must be able to go up and down stairs before they release her. She doesn't even have stairs at her house. What's the point of this exercise?

Even if a patient doesn't have stairs in the home, there may be other times when going up and down stairs is needed. Many times older adults avoid going out in public because they are afraid they can't manage curbs, stairs, or uneven sidewalks.

Social isolation can lead to depression and other problems. Older adults who have lost balance and function can gain confidence with exercise programs that focus on function.

Climbing stairs improves strength and balance. Even without stairs at home, the by-products of this exercise can help with other activities.