International Association of Physiotherapists working with Older People (IPTOP)


About the specialty group

IPTOP was recognised as a specialty group in 2003 and supports worldwide promotion of physiotherapeutic excellence when working with older people.

The efforts of the association are directed towards enabling national organisations and their individual members to work with older people through research, evidence-based practice, clinical specialisation and collaborative practice with other disciplines and carers. 

IPTOP aims to:

  • foster collaboration between physiotherapists working with older people throughout the world
  • encourage high standards of physiotherapy practice with older people
  • advance practice by communication and exchange of information
  • encourage scientific research and promote opportunities for the spread of knowledge of new developments in the field
  • assist World Physiotherapy member organisations in the formation and development of recognised groups working with older people

Physiotherapy for older people

By 2025 there will be an estimated 800 million older people in the world, with the fastest growth being in developing countries. The unique knowledge, skills and experience of physical therapists places them in a pivotal position to influence the health and function of older people. Sharing information and cascading relevant knowledge throughout World Physiotherapy’s international network, facilitates learning based on experience from both developed and developing countries.

The prime purpose of physiotherapists working with older people is to maintain and/or restore function, activity and independence. This requires a person-centred, collaborative, inter-professional approach to a wide range of conditions affecting this population.

It is hoped that through IPTOP support more recognition of specialist skills and/or advanced practice skills and knowledge in gerontology will encourage the development of further opportunities for physiotherapists. This will ensure their contribution to the quality of life of older people and, where applicable, their support system or caregivers.

Webinars and events

  • Webinar: Physical activity for people with dementia: Maintaining habitual physical activity may be an inclusive, inexpensive strategy to promote independence in dementia


IPTOP has a policy of joining its conferences to member organisations’ national conferences whenever possible. This ensures member organisations in all regions have an opportunity to cost effectively participate in the organisation. IPTOP conferences have taken place in Australia, Canada, the US, and several countries/territories in Europe. If you wish to enquire about hosting an IPTOP conference please contact the IPTOP president.

IPTOP also assist in organising educational programmes around World Physiotherapy congresses.

Year subgroup recognised


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