Friday, October 7, 2016

"Celebrating Physical Therapy Month"

October is "Physical Therapy Month" each year so we celebrate this month with the Physical Therapists (PTs). They are an integral part of creating effective aging-in-place environments for people in their homes, whether those people have found the home they want to remain in long-term or it's just the home they are in at the moment.

Along with Occupational Therapists (OTs) and other Health Care Professionals (HCPs), PTs understand how people move and get around in their space, challenges that their homes might present to them, and are able to evaluate and offer reasonable solutions for modifying and adapting those living environments to be safer and more effective for the occupants.

In celebrating the service of Physical Therapists this month, it's the perfect time to call attention to the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist ("CAPS") training and designation program that educates and equips those who participate with additional knowledge on how to work with people of varying needs and requirements in their homes.

Any PTs or PTAs (Physical Therapy Assistants) - or anyone else with a health background such as a nurse, physician, discharge planner, administrator, or other health care professional - should seriously consider getting the training for an additional understanding of this market and to be able to help people create the solutions they need to live in their homes successfully.

An HCP is vital for designing solutions for the aging-in-place client that has some type of physical, sensory, or cognitive impairment - or when someone's age (even without obvious issues) suggests that the prudent approach is to consider a design that incorporates that possibility of limited mobility in the future.

Working alongside contractors, designers, durable medical equipment providers, architects, and other professionals, HCPs, such as OTs and PTs, are able to make sure that the clients' needs are accommodated - and not just the physical needs of the home.  

Since many people have moderate to serious limitations with how they can use their homes in terms of mobility, reach, range of motion, navigation, and maneuverability, these need to be addressed to serve them well. They want their homes to be a safe refuge for them and provide the comfort, enjoyment, and accessibility they desire and deserve.

We have the opportunity to make that happen, and PTs have a very important part to play in this.

Americans, Canadians, and people around the globe are desiring to stay in their homes as they age. People like their homes, they have scores or memories and memorabilia there, and the expense and effort required to move to a care institution are not appealing to most of them.

We can help people remain in their present homes by evaluating those living spaces and suggesting necessary and reasonable improvements that can be made within a budget that they can fund. This will enhance the quality of life and help keep them safe as they continue to live and age in those homes they enjoy.

It's not appropriate for a contractor to advise clients on potential improvements when there are medical issues involved because they simply don't have the background, training, or insight to be able to determine the extent of what is going on or how those issues might change over time. The HCP, such as the PT, is such an important ally to the contractor for these situations.

Any PT - or anyone else - who would like to find out how to help people remain in their homes as they age, can find out more using the resources mentioned below.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, C.E.A.C., MCSP, MIRM, is a licensed Certifieared Aging-In-Place Specialist instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.