April is National Occupational Therapy Month, which is a wonderful time for family caregivers and their elderly loved ones to check out all the benefits for seniors. For those who don’t know what occupational therapy is, they might mistakenly think it has something to do with the workplace. In reality, occupational therapy is the practice of using adaptive tools to accomplish daily living tasks.
Occupational therapy is especially important for elderly adults as they age. The tips and techniques they learn in occupational therapy can allow them to be more independent and less reliant on family caregivers and senior care assistants.
When Do Seniors Typically Need Occupational Therapy?
Elderly adults usually participate in an occupational therapy program after a serious health condition, injury or chronic illness has progressed to a certain point where it interferes with their daily life. Trained occupational therapists and therapist assistants design treatments that help seniors continue to actively participate in self-care.
Because of the physical and mental effects of age, plus challenges associated with certain health conditions, many seniors have a hard time doing basic things for themselves, such as bathing, dressing, cooking, cleaning, mobility, hobbies, and toileting. While they still may need a family caregiver or a senior care assistant for some help, elderly adults can use occupational therapy to do as much as they can on their own.
Examples of Occupational Therapy for the Elderly
Occupational therapists can be found in a range of health care settings. Usually, the treatment begins with an assessment where the occupational therapist will identify physical and mental abilities and define the goals they want to achieve. This patient-specific program puts the patient’s needs first and may include adaptive equipment plus physical techniques to achieve those goals.
Some examples of how occupational therapy affects an elderly person’s life include teaching them to use adaptive equipment to bathe and shower or how to put on their prosthesis by themselves after an amputation. Other examples include installing and effectively using grab bars by the toilet or how to get dressed despite moderate to severe arthritis. An occupational therapist will use several different rehabilitative techniques, exercises and adaptive devices to help their patients.
While occupational therapy won’t usually be enough for an injured or ill elderly adult to return to a completely independent life, it can reduce their need for help from family members and senior care assistants. Many seniors struggle with depression or grief when they lose their independence. Occupational therapy can open the door to a more independent life for seniors.
Thanks to National Occupational Therapy Month throughout April, family caregivers and their aging relatives can find out more information on the amazing benefits that it can provide and how it can enhance an elderly person’s quality of life.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Senior Care in St. Petersburg, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.