Why Seniors Should Use Occupational Therapy
You may have heard the term “occupational therapy” before, but do you know what it is? The American Occupational Therapy Association defines it as a professional who “helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through therapeutic use of daily activities, or occupations.” Occupational therapists allow people of all ages to live life to the fullest, while also preventing further injury to their health. If your elderly parents are receiving in-home care because they are unable to do everyday things for themselves anymore, you may want to consider this form of therapy as a way to enrich their lives and help them maintain their independence. There are several other benefits to having your loved one make an appointment with an occupational therapist, including the following:
- Addresses specific problems. Do your parents find it challenging to get dressed by themselves? How about completing chores? Whatever the senior finds difficult in their daily life can be addressed through certain exercises and activities. Strategies can also be created to ease chronic pain or arthritis.
- Helps elders adjust to changes in their life. Becoming newly retired, losing a spouse, or suddenly needing senior care for assistance with everyday responsibilities can be difficult to adjust to. With the help of an occupational therapist, this transition can become much easier. This professional will help the elder come up with solutions to solving problems and dilemmas in their life in order to help them cope with these new changes.
- Safety. As we get older, the body may not be as limber and coordinated as it once was, making it easier to lose our balance and possibly fracture a hip, especially for those with hearing or vision impairments. Fortunately, therapists can teach seniors how to become safer in their own homes or in public, as well as how to do many chores and activities that they were unable to do before.
- Modifies the senior’s environment. For someone with physical limitations, even using the bathroom can be dangerous. The occupational therapist can help by providing tools and devices that will keep the elder safe in their home. Some devices that may be installed include grab bars, brighter lighting, or kitchen tools that will make preparing meals easier.
- Improved health. Therapists will educate the elder on how to modify their lives and accomplish daily tasks, resulting in an improved mental state and overall well-being.
- Teams up with the caregiver. Occupational therapy is not a quick fix to solve all health and wellness problems, but the therapist can work with your loved one’s elder care provider or family caregiver to make more informed decisions on your loved one’s daily needs. Caregiving can be a stressful job and one that leaves the caregiver with very little time to attend to their own lives. The occupational therapist will help take some of the workload and decision-making off of the caregivers shoulders in order to help them to take care of their own responsibilities.