testimonial photo“I shared a highlight moment today as an Otago patient came off O2, no longer needs an assistive device, and is going back onto Otago after a relapse from pneumonia. After only 4 weeks of PT, his 30 second chair rise went from 3 to 8 and his TUG went from 44 seconds to 12.8!! We both believe this rapid recovery was due to the strength and endurance gains he maintained on Otago prior to getting sick.”

Mary Catoe, P.T., G.C.S.
Physical Therapist
Board Certified Geriatric Clinical Specialist

More from Mary…..

I too struggled waiting for the perfect patient to start Otago. Once I got the first one started, I realized how many others would also benefit. As we transition into Otago, I typically see my patients 1-2 times per week for the first few weeks and then reduce visit frequency to follow the protocol schedule. It is important to remember that you can increase the visit frequency to meet the patient needs. I had one patient who regressed due to increased lower extremity pain and edema. I increased his visits for a few weeks and now we are back to the original schedule. No kidding, everyone on my schedule is on Otago or progressing toward Otago except one patient with dementia who is in a facility without caregiver support to follow the program.

At follow up visits, I have been impressed with the progress and how easily it is to increase the exercises, weights, reps, or decrease the use of support.

Looking back, we should have been offering something like this a long time ago. It is an enormous benefit to my patients to have the opportunity for me to follow them for 12 months in a thorough strength, endurance and balance program. I believe I will no longer see the regression and recurrent therapy referrals for several of my patients that have had on and off therapy for years.

I no longer worry about discharge and what will happen after they are no longer seen on a regular basis.

The program is cost effective for Medicare on many levels including therapy cost, hospitalizations, surgery and reducing trauma which lead to a loss of independence and loss of quality of life.

Otago has been well received by my patients, families, and the director and nurse at the facility I work in.

I believe more physician education is needed to allow increased access to Otago.

I also believe any therapist working in geriatrics should be trained and using the program or understand who is a good candidate and able to refer to an Otago trained therapist.


Mary Catoe, P.T., G.C.S.

Lynn Beattie“I believe the Otago Exercise Program can make a major contribution to reducing falls among older adults by reaching those who are at highest risk and most vulnerable. It puts an evidence-based approach into the hands of skilled therapists who are treating frail at-home older adults with a consistent approach and message. It is an exciting delivery system designed to engage the older adult and family in self-managing personal falls risk and promoting independence and quality of life through graded exercise.

(Bonita) Lynn Beattie, PT, MPT, MHA Vice President, Injury Prevention, Lead, Falls Free® Initiative, Center for Healthy Aging National Council on Aging 1901 L Street NW, 4th Floor Washington, DC 20036 Phone: 202-479-6698 | Fax: 202-479-0735 bonita.beattie@ncoa.org www.ncoa.org | www.facebook.com/NCOAging | www.twitter.com/NCOAging

From Patients at Rehab Concepts Physical Therapy Services:

“I feel I have more strength in my legs than I have in awhile from Otago and feel more confident. Getting up from the chair is easier now! I’m happy with Otago and working with Angela and have been telling my friends about it.“

“Otago gives me more structure and motivation to improve my balance issues; I enjoy the exercises. Lisa helps me understand the exercises and how they connect to my physical comfort and improvements, which helps a lot!”

“We felt weak before we started Otago and now we feel stronger. Ray’s balance is much better and he feels more confident driving and going up and down stairs. He is already starting to use the weights!”

“The Otago Program and working with Lisa is wonderful! After only two months, I could get out of a chair without using the arms to get up. My balance is much better. I’ve been doing it for 4 months now and it is easy to fit the exercises around my daily schedule. The increased mobility and strength I am getting keeps me motivated to do my exercises.”

If you would like to submit your own Otago Exercise Program testimonial, please contact us by e-mail at otago@unc.edu or post to our Otago Community page on phConnect!