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What is Occupational Therapy for Seniors?

What is Occupational Therapy for Seniors?

Around a hundred years ago, occupational therapy emerged in the United States as a treatment to help people improve certain life skills, restore abilities and maintain the level of independence they are accustomed to. Occupational therapists design individualized programs that focus on adapting one’s environment to their lifestyle through the completion of specific exercises and meaningful activities to promote participation in daily life.

Following an illness, injury or surgery, it’s vital that individuals take part in a rehabilitation program. Rehab services usually entail three components: physical therapy, occupational therapy and/or speech therapy. Let’s take a deeper look at occupational therapy for seniors, and how it allows older adults to regain their independence by helping them complete activities of daily living (ADLs).

The Role a Senior Occupational Therapist Plays in Recovery

For seniors, occupational therapy plays a vital role in a rehabilitation program, helping them combat some of the physical limitations they may face over time. In fact, over one-third of occupational therapists work with seniors after they’ve been affected by an illness, injury or mental health condition.

Senior occupational therapists can also play a key role in mitigating the memory loss some aging adults may face. They assist with this by evaluating an individual’s physical and cognitive abilities and creating a customized care plan for their unique needs. This step-by-step approach also allows the therapist to use behavioral adjustments that help with changes in personality, and the plan can be adjusted as needed if cognitive abilities continue to decline over time.

Additionally, senior occupational therapists are often elder-care advocates who work with local governments or community groups to ensure they are assisting in any way they can to help older adults maintain their independence.

The Benefits of Participating in Occupational Therapy Activities 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 participating in occupational therapy activities for seniors include:

  • Allowing for easier completion of ADLs. Whether seniors face challenges with dressing, eating, housekeeping tasks or participating in social activities, occupational therapy helps them learn how to compensate to complete these ADLs easier. Occupational therapists can also help seniors learn how to modify their homes to avoid a fall and use assistive devices to ensure they are able to fully participate in life.
  • Improving overall quality of life. Occupational therapy can have a positive effect on seniors’ physical and mental health. By providing a unique educational approach to help seniors redesign their lives, they help promote longevity and a healthier lifestyle all around, leading to a higher quality of life.
  • Assisting family caregivers. Senior occupational therapists can assess an aging loved one to help family caregivers make better decisions about their loved one’s daily care needs. This, in turn, alleviates some of the pressure a caregiver might feel when helping their loved one, and also allows them to take a break from the core caregiving duties to maintain their own life.

Rehab to Home from Peabody Retirement Community

Get back to life on your terms faster with Peabody’s Rehab to Home program. Our experienced team of physical, occupational and speech therapists are available seven days a week and work to restore health to both older adults and seniors alike in a shorter amount of time. For more information about our rehabilitation center, please contact us today by calling (260) 982-8616.

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