APTA Applauds Congressional Action on Falls Prevention

ALEXANDRIA, VA, Sept 23, 2008 — The American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) is applauding Congressional resolutions urging government, citizens, and healthcare professionals to do more to help prevent the increasing number of falls among people 65 years of age and older.

The resolutions (S. Res. 674, H. Res. 1478), introduced by Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Mike Enzi (R-WY) and Representatives Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Ralph Hall (R-TX), were developed in recognition of Falls Prevention Awareness Day on September 22. The Senate passed the resolution via unanimous consent and the House is expected to consider the resolution later this week.

"Falling and fear of falling among seniors is a public health problem and should not be accepted simply as a normal condition of aging," said APTA President R Scott Ward, PT, PhD. "Physical therapists play an important role in helping people maintain their sense of balance by designing an individualized program of exercises and activities with an emphasis on strength, flexibility, and proper gait. "

APTA is an advisory member of the Falls Free Coalition Advocacy Work Group, a broad-based coalition of 32 national nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving the health and safety of older adults.

Physical therapists are health care professionals who diagnose and manage individuals of all ages, from newborns to elders, who have medical problems or other health-related conditions that limit their abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives. Physical therapists examine each individual and develop a plan of care using treatment techniques to promote the ability to move, reduce pain, restore function, and prevent disability. Physical therapists also work with individuals to prevent the loss of mobility by developing fitness- and wellness-oriented programs for healthier and more active lifestyles.

APTA (www.apta.org) is a national organization representing physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, and students nationwide. Its goal is to foster advancements in physical therapist education, practice, and research. Consumers can visit www.findapt.us to find a physical therapist in their area, as well as www.apta.org/consumer for physical therapy news and information.

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