State of the Art Physiotherapist-Led Approaches to Safe Aging in Place.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Archives of Physiotherapy


INTRODUCTION: Safe aging in place (SAIP) is when an older adult can successfully and comfortably remain in their home despite increasing barriers, including falls. Various physical, medical, psychological, and psychosocial factors may individually or cumulatively impact an older adult's ability to safely age in place. Physiotherapists should assess not only items traditionally considered within their scope of practice but should select efficient and effective outcome measures to quantify other domains of health. A comprehensive geriatric assessment (CGA) is an evidence-based clinical assessment which identifies medical, psychosocial, and functional limitations of an older person. The CGA is useful to dictate individualized exercise/intervention prescription to address identified areas of increased risk.

PURPOSE AND IMPORTANCE TO PRACTICE: The purpose of this Masterclass is to describe key screening, assessments, and interventions to facilitate SAIP and to provide overviews of currently available programming and care delivery models applicable to physiotherapist practice. There are a wide variety of outcome measures and interventions that vary in depth, validity, and reliability. Measures selected for inclusion in this Masterclass were chosen based upon their clinical utility with respect to time and resource constraints and ease of administration during a comprehensive assessment for SAIP in community-dwelling older adults. Measures recommended for assessing physical function were the Short Physical Performance Battery, the Timed-Up-and-Go, the 30 second chair rise test, and the Four Test Balance Scale. Additionally, measures from the heath domain (e.g., Functional Comorbidity Index) and the environmental domain (e.g., Home FAST) are recommended. Relative to interventions, the Otago Exercise Program, motivational interviewing, home modifications, and leveraging technology are recommended. Partnerships with community-facing organizations facilitate utilization of resources for sustainable SAIP. The Home-based Older Person Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT) program is one approach led by physiotherapists framed in the screening, assessments, and interventions discussed in this Masterclass with strong scientific grounding.

CONCLUSION: Programs integrating both community and healthcare approaches have the strongest evidence for their utility; however, implementation for these preventative approaches are lagging behind the increased need due to the substantial population growth of those over 65 years.





First Page


Last Page






PubMed ID