Occupational therapy allows people who have suffered from a physical or cognitive injury to return to the highest level of independence possible. This form of therapy helps people of all ages re-learn how to complete tasks of daily living and make the proper adaptations to live healthier, fuller lives.
The American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc. (AOTA) started Occupational Therapy Month back in 1980 as a way to get the word out about how occupational therapists help change people’s lives for the better. The AOTA’s Annual Conference and Expo is also held during the month of April, where approximately 10,000 occupational therapy practitioners and students gather for over 1,000 educational sessions, inspiring speeches and discussions, and networking opportunities.
The Importance of Occupational Therapy for Seniors
The role occupational therapy plays for seniors as part of a rehabilitation program is a vital one. Over one-third of occupational therapists work with seniors after they’ve been affected by an illness, injury or mental health condition, and they take a unique stance on senior rehabilitation by focusing on what the person can do, rather than what they can’t.
Occupational therapists work with seniors in a variety of ways, whether they provide therapy in a skilled nursing center or assisted living community, or even in the comfort of the patient’s home. Some of the reasons seniors need geriatric occupational therapy include:
- Fall recovery and prevention. Falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors; nearly 1 out of 3 adults over the age of 65 will sustain an injury from a fall, usually in the form of a broken bone or hip. Occupational therapists help seniors recover from a fall and can teach them how to avoid one in the future, through medication management, strengthening and balance exercises and more.
- Managing chronic conditions. Occupational therapy for seniors can also help teach ways to manage some of the age-related aches or difficulties that come with chronic conditions like osteoporosis or complications from diabetes. The occupational therapist will teach seniors self-management techniques so they can be in charge of their condition and living life to the fullest.
- Provide a safer home environment. Occupational therapists will visit the senior’s home if they are planning on living independently after rehabilitation. They’ll know the proper modifications needed to ensure the home is safe and reduce the risk of a future injury.
- Providing support for memory decline. If a loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia, occupational therapy can help determine how much support they’ll need by determining their strengths and level of impairment. They’ll also provide education and support for family members and caregivers so they’re aware of the future implications.
- Stroke rehabilitation. Due to the way stroke can affect physical abilities, survivors may have trouble performing daily living activities, like bathing, dressing and eating. Occupational therapy helps survivors learn how to adapt and engage in these activities again by evaluating skills and strengths.
- Promoting better overall health and wellness. The goal of any rehabilitation program is to return the senior to the highest quality of life possible. Occupational therapy plays an important role in that process, and can have a positive effect on overall mental health and life satisfaction.
American Senior Communities offers occupational therapy as part of our Moving Forward Rehabilitation program, along with physical therapy and speech/language therapy. Let us help you move forward and get back to the life you want to live!
For more information about American Senior Communities, please visit www.ASCSeniorCare.com.