As we get older, certain physical activities or basic daily tasks can become more difficult to perform on our own. Luckily, healthcare workers such as occupational therapists can help people maintain, develop, or recover the skills required to perform necessary and meaningful daily activities. Let’s take a look at occupational therapy and how it can benefit seniors.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a blend of physical, psychological, and mental exercises designed to help people of various ages regain or maintain the ability to perform everyday activities. All patients are different and their bodies respond differently to different therapies. For example, a senior experiencing challenges due to mental disabilities may require therapies focused on mental health restoration, while a person recovering from a fall may require physical rehabilitation.
Occupational therapists critically analyze patients to find out the root causes of their challenges and devise the best therapy suited for their specific needs. They also educate and work closely with patients' primary care team like doctors, social workers, caregivers, nurses, and family to ensure they receive the proper care to help them meet personal goals.
Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors
1. Overcoming Daily Life Challenges
Performing basic activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, and home management, among others, can be challenging for seniors. It can be even more difficult if someone is recovering from illness, injury, disability, or mental problems. If this happens, they may feel embarrassed, lonely, or overwhelmed and get frustrated easily.
To help with these challenges, occupational therapists help them perform varied exercises and rehabilitation techniques. Since every individual will have different needs, they will be given unique exercises to help them overcome the challenges they are experiencing such as easily sitting or standing up.
2. Provide Support for Memory Loss
As we get older, our memory may not be as sharp as it used to be and can develop into Dementia or Alzheimer's. However, not all memory losses are irreparable. Occupational therapists can involve seniors in cognitive rehabilitation activities such as:
- Doing arts and crafts
- Working crossword puzzles
- Reading magazines to sharpen their fine motor skills
- Putting visible signs on fences and doors for seniors who wander or easily get disoriented
- Educating caregivers on the best non-defensive techniques to handle the patient
3. Improving Vision
Like memory loss, vision can also deteriorate with age. But some cases such as double vision and lazy eye can be improved through occupational therapy. A therapist can recommend work and home changes such as:
- Color coding office and household items
- Giving magnifiers to help them read small-font prints
- Improving the lighting in patient's home
- Marking slippery places with neon tapes to prevent trips and falls
4. Home Modifications to Prevent Falling
Occupational therapists will assess the patient's home to get a feel of how they walk around every day. Depending on individualized needs, they may recommend several modifications to make basic activities safer. The modifications instill confidence and prevent injury when doing daily tasks. They include:
- Installation of bathtub seats at homes
- Installing a medical alert or home monitoring system
- Power lift recliners
- Installing grab bars
- Adding slip-resistant floors
At Moorings Park Communities, we offer the best comprehensive rehabilitation programs tailored to clients who have suffered a multitude of disorders. We have a multi-disciplinary team of experienced physical, speech, and occupational therapists to help every client. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you, your relatives, friends, or loved ones.