Unlike R-rated movie admission, voting, and senior discounts at restaurants, the aging process isn't something that happens after you reach a magic-number birthday. It begins the moment you do.
Or as Mindy Renfro, PT, PhD, puts it: "Children, 20 year olds, 50 year olds—everyone's aging. There's no way around it." The key, of course, is for individuals to move through the aging process in good health, which includes staying as active and mobile as possible to meet the physical challenges that can arise in later years. And according to a recent article in PT in Motion magazine, that's where physical therapists and physical therapist assistants (PTAs) can play a crucial role.
"Preparing for Old(er) Age" in the February issue of PT in Motion explores the reasons PTs and PTAs are the ideal health care providers to help the public understand how the aging process works, and the steps to stay healthy throughout life.
According to the PTs interviewed for the story—including 2016 McMillan lecturer Carole Lewis, PT, DPT, PhD—1 of the biggest impediments to healthy aging is society's attitude about what it means to age. "We have a lot of misconceptions and prejudices about the potential of people who are older," Lewis says in the article.
Mike Studer, PT, MHS, echoes Lewis's sentiment.
"A lot of myths need to be debunked about what normal aging really is," Studer is quoted as saying. "And we as physical therapists—the 'movement experts'—should be out there leading the way."
"Preparing for Old(er) Age" is featured in the February issue of PT in Motion magazine and is now available to all viewers—pass it along to nonmember colleagues to show them 1 of the benefits of belonging to APTA. Printed editions of the magazine are mailed to all members who have not opted out; digital versions are available online to members.