What is Occupational Therapy and How Can It Benefit Seniors?
April is National Occupational Therapy Month, which makes it an idea time for those involved in elderly care to appreciate the benefits that this specialized treatment can bring into people’s lives. But what is occupational therapy? For those who haven’t had the chance to get familiar with this amazing profession, there are plenty of opportunities learn more about it and see how it can benefit elderly loved ones.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is a part of the health profession that provides structured rehabilitation that focuses on helping patients with the tasks of daily living. Although many people confuse the term occupational therapy with something to do with the job market, it’s actually an effective type of therapy that helps patients stay independent and handle essential tasks.
Occupational therapists are trained to assess each patient’s needs, design a therapy program to work with patients in overcoming barriers and ensure they can continue to find success. It is a big part of elderly care because seniors really benefit from specialized therapy plans designed to boost their self-reliance.
Who Needs Occupational Therapy?
Elderly loved ones may experience a decline in mobility, eye-hand coordination, grip strength, and more. Patients that have experienced a stroke, heart attack, neuropathy, or simply health effects due to aging may find that it is difficult for them to perform simple daily tasks. Activities like grooming, dressing, cooking, cleaning and hobbies may suddenly become a challenge to seniors as they age. Other areas of daily living that many seniors struggle with include bathing, showering, toilet hygiene, caring for pets, medication management, leisure activities and more.
From arthritis and diabetes to muscle weakness and even strokes, the elderly can experience a number of physical challenges just to maintain daily living skills. The inability to perform daily tasks that they once mastered easily can cause seniors to feel frustrated and helpless. Declining abilities can add to their dependence on others and may even trigger depression. That’s where occupational therapists can make a real difference in helping seniors maintain the ability to live their typical daily life and contribute to a comprehensive elderly care plan.
What are the Benefits of Occupational Therapy?
There’s no doubt that seniors get lots of benefits from occupational therapy. Being able to complete daily tasks like buttoning a shirt, preparing a meal and more really has a positive effect on a senior’s mental health and well-being. Occupational therapists can tailor exercises and therapy to focus on what each senior really needs. This type of client-centered service is extremely valuable in enabling elderly loved ones to live as independently as they can for as long as possible.
When is Occupational Therapy Right for Aging Loved Ones?
When aging loved ones are experiencing a decline in their ability to be productive and independent, it may be time for adult children to check out occupational therapy services. In other cases, after a serious health issue like a stroke, occupational therapy can help seniors recover skills for daily tasks. Adult children can coordinate with physicians and home care aides to establish the need for occupational therapy, and make a plan to help their loved ones regain functionality, improve their quality of life and help them meet their goals of maintain their independence.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Allentown, NJ or the surrounding areas, please call Independence Home Care today at 609-208-1111 for more information.