The Importance of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

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Why take part in occupational therapy treatment?

Occupational therapy is a treatment that focuses on improving life skills, often by utilizing adaptive tools. Participating in an occupational therapy program for seniors usually takes place after an injury, illness, or a mental health condition. The treatment is designed to help people live more independent and productive lives by incorporating meaningful activities to promote participation in everyday life.

The role of the occupational therapist with seniors

Over one-third of occupational therapists work solely with seniors, teaching them activities of daily life like eating, cooking, dressing and grooming to help them overcome their physical challenges or limitations. The goal is to allow seniors to return to a normal life at home or in their independent or assisted living community. Occupational therapists are often elder-care advocates who work with local governments or community groups to ensure they are doing all they can to help seniors maintain their independence.
During the early stages of memory loss, occupational therapy is also a key treatment. Therapists are trained to assess a patient’s cognitive ability and use behavioral modifications to help address change in patients’ personalities, as well as help to adapt their current home for safety issues. Another role the occupational therapist will play is educator to the family caregivers. They will help the family find support groups or respite care for the emotional assistance they may need.

Benefits of occupational therapy for seniors

Occupational therapy, while beneficial to those of all ages, is especially helpful to seniors who are regularly faced with physical, mental, or psychological challenges. Some of the main benefits of occupational therapy for seniors include:

  • Improved health and wellness. Occupational therapy provides a unique educational approach to help seniors redesign their lives to experience greater quality of life, promote longevity and a healthier lifestyle all around. It can have a positive effect on both mental and physical health. Along with helping improve overall health and wellness, an occupational therapist can also help seniors learn how stay active while avoiding falls, the leading cause of injury among seniors.
  • Overcoming challenges in activities of daily living. Occupational therapy helps seniors compensate for some of the challenges they face each day, whether it be dressing, feeding, home management or participation in social activities. Occupational therapists can also help seniors acquire devices to make their lives easier, like a bathtub bench or grab bars. Seniors can learn how they can optimize their homes to promote full participation in activities of daily life.
  • Assisting caregivers. Occupational therapists alleviate some of the pressure a caregiver might feel when helping their loved one, which will allow caregivers to separate themselves from the core care-giving and maintain their own life. Occupational therapists can assess a family’s loved one to help the caregiver make better decisions about their loved one’s daily care needs.

Occupational therapy for seniors helps them reach their own individual goals, no matter what physical, mental, or psychological challenges they may face.

At Lourdes Noreen McKeen, we provide special care for those with disabilities or have been injured. Discover how our skilled nursing home in West Palm Beach could be a good fit for a loved one.

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