Physical Therapy Theme: “Add Life To Years”

On Thursday, September, 8th, Physical Therapists across the globe will celebrate “World Physical Therapy Day.” This is a tradition begun in 1951 and, 65 years later, and for the first time in history, most people will live well into their 60s and older. At our Capital Area Physical Therapy offices in Queensbury – Glens Falls and Malta – Saratoga Springs, we see ourselves as key contributors to the ongoing health of the communities we serve, and our goal is to achieve the World Health Organization’s global vision of “A world in which everyone can live a long and healthy life” on a local level, one patient at a time.

The reality of an aging population worldwide has significant consequences on our health systems, as well as on our perceptions of what constitutes “old age.” According to a 2015 report on aging and health by the World Health Organization, there is no such thing as a “typical” older person and “Loss of ability typically associated with aging is only loosely related to chronological age.”

In other words, our long-held stereotypical assumption that old age is automatically synonymous with loss of functional ability is giving way to a view of a more healthy, autonomous and independent older population who continue to contribute in valuable ways to their communities.

As part of this new mindset, The World Confederation for Physical Therapy’s 2016 theme is “Add Life to Years.” The organization’s goal is to promote physical therapists as “physical activity experts,” who perform the vital work of preventing illness, disability and death through the use of evidence-based programs of exercise and movement to foster improved health, quality of life and increased independence for older adults.

As part of that initiative, we want to share some important statistics on aging that every adult should know:

  • wpd-dayBy 2050, the global population will 9.6 billion people. Two billion of those people will be age 60 or older, and 400 million will be 80 years of age or older.
  • Fact – Physical activity reduces the risk of functional limitations by a staggering 50 percent.
  • Fact – 6 million people die each year from strokes and another 5 million suffer permanent disability as a result of stroke. Physical Therapy helps people regain their physical potential following a stroke and reduces re-admission and care costs.
  • Fact – As much as 20 percent of dementia cases may be due to a sedentary lifestyle, and it is estimated that as many as 10 million cases of dementia could be avoided each year if older adults incorporated exercise into their daily routines.
  • Fact – 32 percent of people 70 years and older will fall and 10-15 percent of those falls will result in serious injury. Physical therapy-led exercise programs for aging adults will reduce the risk of falling by 32 percent.

Help us to celebrate World Physical Therapy Day by contacting us to learn more about how you can take control of your own aging process and add life to your years. Call our Malta Clinic at (518) 289-5242 or our Queensbury Clinic at (518) 502-1154 today to schedule your appointment!