The Importance and Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors and Aging Adults

occupational therapy for seniors

Everyone looks forward to becoming a senior and aging gracefully, right? However, aging comes with its share of challenges. One of them is the inability to complete tasks that were once simple. This may make a person feel frustrated, confused, or even embarrassed.

But this should not be the case. There is a way to help our seniors and aging adults recover and gain more control in their life. In particular, enlisting aging adults in an occupational therapy program helps a lot. It makes them regain their diminishing ability and independence.

What is occupational therapy?

It’s a therapy process of helping people cope with challenges in their life: from toddlers to the elderly. This article has the top five importance and benefits of occupational therapy listed, so read on.

Helps Overcome Everyday Struggles

Occupational therapists use several techniques to educate, exercise, and rehabilitate. These help patients regain control over routine daily tasks like bathing, eating, dressing, and using restrooms. Examples of motion exercise patients work on include sitting in a chair, extending their arms on the sides with feet flat, then slowly moving their legs in front, one at a time, as they hold it for a few seconds.

The therapy focuses on what matters and what is possible. That’s why Empower Physical Rehabilitation trains patients to do tasks safely as per their abilities. Beyond that, they have extra activities like crosswords, arts and crafts, and reading. These help patients sharpen their skills, maintain strength, and improve their agility.

Improves Physical Health and Ability 

By helping aging adults regain the power to perform duties independently, they have a more engaging lifestyle. Thus, improving their health and overall well-being.

There’s no denying seniors who by bad luck, get involved in a car accident, or live with a chronic illness have it the hard way. They tend to go through a painful and unforgiving situation that they don’t want to deal with. However, occupational therapy helps them overcome limitations and spur self-confidence. Emerald Hills Physio & Sports Clinic has injury physios who are ready to help. Professional companies like them help elders go through a comfortable and educational process during injury rehabilitation.

Home Modification

An occupational therapist assesses home layouts and how it affects the movement of the elderly. Things like bathtubs, slippery floors, and showers are a big risk to aging adults.

Modification promotes a safer environment, independent living, and instills confidence. Also, it enables seniors to do everyday tasks with much ease. Some of the changes are:

  • Walk-in shower and bathtubs
  • Grab bars installation
  • Installing a home medical alert system
  • Power lift recliners
  • Building a slip-resistant bathroom floor
  • Wheelchair ramps

Additionally, a therapist teaches patients how to use these devices and conform to the new environment. For example, how to use handrails when entering the shower. Also, they teach how to activate the medical alert system when the need arises.

Memory Restoration

Aging comes with memory loss, and if not addressed in the early stages, it can lead to dementia. Occupational therapy helps avert such mental deterioration when still in the early stages. Here, the therapists assess the cognitive ability to address any changes in personality or behavior.

For example, if a senior is experiencing dementia, an occupational therapist will measure their weaknesses and strengths. With the outcome, they will know what kind of care plan to develop. Although the plan will concentrate more on weak areas, it will also help maintain strong areas.

As aforementioned, all aging adults suffer memory loss. And with this reality, here are a few ways occupational therapy helps rehabilitate the memory:

  • The assigning engaging tasks to those who do non-productive and repetitive behaviors; for instance, if a person used to like crossword puzzles, they will get simplified puzzles.
  • Train caregivers on non-defensive response and orienting skills, especially if they go through episodes of personality change.
  • They will advise caregivers to put in a few clothing options for patients who can’t remember the cloth to wear in certain seasons.
  • Placing instructional signage such as stop on front doors or gates for patients who suffer disorientation or wander.

Aid with Vision Related Issues

As people age, their sight becomes poor, and in the worst case, they may suffer vision loss.

In such a case, an occupational therapist will take the elderly through activities that promote their visual awareness, detect a pattern, and enhance perceptual skills. In certain situations, a therapist may even suggest some layout changes, either at work or at home. Those changes may involve using coded color ID tags, increased lighting and contrast, and magnifying aids.

Bottomline

Occupational therapy plays an important role in bettering the lives of aging members of our society. The therapy process restores lost hope to patients. And in this regard, we should all voice our support toward this noble calling of helping the elderly regain and maintain their independence.

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