World Physical Therapy Day (WPD) falls on 8th September every year, and is an opportunity for physical therapists from all over the world to raise awareness about their crucial role in keeping people well, mobile and independent, improving quality of life and reducing health care costs.
This World Physical Therapy Day uses the theme “Add life to years” and the hashtag #addlifetoyears, following the World Health Organisation’s World Report on Ageing and Health which says that “maintenance of functional ability has the highest importance” for older people.
The World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) played a significant role in the consultations for the new WHO ageing and health strategy. “World Physical Therapy Day is the first opportunity since the adoption of the report for physical therapists to show how important the profession is in ensuring healthy and active older people,” says WCPT President, Emma Stokes.
“The evidence of the clinical and cost-effectiveness of physical therapy for older adults is incontrovertible. World Physical Therapy Day, with its focus on adding life to years, gives physical therapists a great platform to communicate this message to older people, the wider community and health care policy and decision-makers.”
By 2050 the global population will include two billion people aged 60 or over, and 400 million aged 80 or over. Physical therapists have a key role in helping people with long-term conditions achieve their goals, fulfil their potential and participate fully in society.
“Every day frontline physical therapists are transforming lives through the application of their clinical skills and experience. This is particularly so when working with older people whose health needs increase as they age”, says WCPT Chief Executive Officer Jonathon Kruger.
“Enabling older people to maintain their independence and continue to participate in society is a key skill of physical therapists around the world. In the coming years these skills will be more in demand and the global profession is willing and able to meet that challenge.”
Sibyl Edward, the President of the Physiotherapy Association of St. Lucia “reports that “members here, plan to observe the day holding mini exhibitions and activities highlighting the important role that physical therapists play in healthy ageing”. “The Association will also continue to foster a focus on management of chronic conditions prevalent in the elderly as the physical impairments associated with those conditions have been shown to benefit from a structured program of physiotherapy”.