October is National Physical Therapy Month, which means there’s a lot to celebrate at South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT). With six convenient locations throughout Central Massachusetts, nearly a century of combined physical therapists experience, and more than 1 million patient visits, SCPT would like to thank its patients for 30 wonderful years – and counting!
National Physical Therapy Month is presented annually by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA), with this year’s focus on healthy aging and the benefits of physical therapy to aid longevity.
AARP reports that one in three Americans is now aged 50 or older. By the year 2030, one out of every five people in the United States will be 65+. As the baby boomer generation approaches its retirement years, new trends will emerge on exactly how healthy their aging might be. With a generational focus on healthy habits such as clean eating, exercise, and a decline in smoking, older adults may enjoy better health longer. (http://www.aarp.org/livable-communities/Plan/health/info-2013/keeping-the-population-healthy.html)
Whether you’re a member of this aging population or a family caregiver, SCPT is committed to offering programs to help its patients face many of the challenges of healthy aging, which include injury and falls prevention.
Did you know that injury prevention starts from the inside out? As humans age, bone density deteriorates, causing bone structure that was once strong to become frail, brittle, and easy to fracture. According to the International Osteoporosis Foundation, one in three women over age 50 will experience osteoporotic fractures, as will one in five men over age 50, worldwide. In addition, nearly 75% of hip, spine, and distal forearm fractures occur among patients 65 years old or over. Approximately 1.6 million hip fractures occur worldwide each year; by 2050, this number could reach between 4.5 million and 6.3 million. (http://www.iofbonehealth.org/facts-statistics#category-14)
Combatting the effects and progression of decreased bone health requires a thorough understanding of bone structure and composition, DXA analysis, and risk factors that lead to diagnoses of osteoporosis and osteopenia. Several of SCPT’s expert physical therapists are trained in the MEEKS Method, which helps patients to improve posture and balance, improve strength and flexibility, decrease back and neck pain, and decrease risk of falls and fracture.
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) reports that falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury for individuals 65 years of age and older. Every 15 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 29 minutes, an older adult dies following a fall. (https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/healthy-aging-facts/)
SCPT recently presented falls prevention techniques to the local community as part of National Falls Prevention Awareness Day, on September 23rd at the YMCA Boroughs Branch. According to Nancy Siegal, Director of SCPT’s Worcester practice, “Fall-related injuries can be prevented by strengthening specific muscle groups to improve balance. We were honored to be part of the Community Health Fair at the YMCA, which provided invaluable information to community residents.”
During this National Physical Therapy Month, SCPT appreciates the opportunity to help its patients to learn more about healthy aging. If you have questions about SCPT’s injury and falls prevention techniques, please call 508-832-2628 for additional information.