“Medicine adds days to life, occupational therapy adds life to days.” -unknown
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy is a healthcare approach that helps an individual regain skills and develop new ones to cope with injury or medical conditions and perform daily meaningful activities safely with ease, hence the term occupation.
Most older ones prefer to spend their senior days in the comfort of their own home. As aging in place includes both healthcare and home modifications, seniors can benefit from the services provided by Occupational Therapists. Occupational Therapists make sure that everything about the therapy is tailored to the person’s needs and lifestyle. The goal is to help the individual live a full and satisfying life, as independently as possible.
“Occupational therapy practitioners ask, “What matters to you?” not, “What’s the matter with you?” -Virginia Stoffel, Ph.D., OT, BCMH, FAOTA
Why Consider Occupational Therapy?
- You are an integral part of the process
- Prevent accidents and reclaim your independence
- Navigate life transitions
- Holistic approach
- Backed by science and research
- Occupational Therapists need to have a license to practice and be continually trained in different fields of rehabilitation so that they can provide the best support possible
- Occupational Therapists use a combination of skills, careful analysis, and empathy to care for their patient
- Higher quality of life
“Care asserts that as difficult and painful as life can be, it is worth something to be in the present, alive, and doing one’s daily bit.”— Kathleen Norris
Occupational Therapy And Seniors
An Occupational Therapist can help seniors and their family members in various aspects of life and for longer periods of time.
- Physical Well-Being- Occupational Therapists are different from Physical Therapists, but they can also help their patients with exercises and rehabilitation techniques to help them perform routine activities such as bathing, dressing, preparing meals, driving, and grocery shopping. They can also use effective methods to manage chronic pain and boost cognitive skills.
- Home- An Occupational Therapist’s first home visit includes a home assessment. Home modifications are recommended depending on the specific needs of their patient. Simple modifications may include installing grab bars, handrails, and ramps while in some cases more complex remodeling might be necessary.
- Emotional/Psychological Well-Being- Isolation, loneliness, and depression are real challenges for an elderly person. One of the best reasons to work with Occupational Therapists is that they look at the needs and wants of a person. They can either recommend their patients with enrichment activities they might like or provide support so that they can engage in an activity they love such as gardening or doing carpentry works. Occupational Therapists can also suggest options to their patients so that they can continue in their social activities safely.
“It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give you happiness.” — Thomas Jefferson
Occupational Therapy has helped countless individuals of all ages live their life to the full despite physical limitations and chronic medical conditions.
As a Certified Aging in Place Specialist, Bill works with Occupational Therapists and other professionals to make sure seniors and their families get the best support and services they need.
Check out my interview with Maureen Dauphinais, Occupational Therapist.