Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors
Occupational therapy uses a series of exercises and other techniques to help seniors develop or regain the specific skills needed to maintain daily function, such as mobility, eating and bathing. It’s a common therapy option for seniors, especially after surgeries, illnesses, falls or other types of injuries. Occupational therapists start the process by conducting a comprehensive assessment of the senior’s physical and cognitive ability and uses these results to develop a personalized treatment plan.
While some seniors are reluctant to start occupational therapy, it offers numerous advantages. Below is a look at the top benefits of occupational therapy for seniors.
Improved Quality of Life
One of the most important benefits of occupational therapy is that it can significantly improve your quality of life. As you may have already experienced, being unable to complete everyday tasks can become quite frustrating. Occupational therapists can make these tasks less challenging. They can work directly with you to ensure you can complete all the necessary skills for daily living, including eating, dressing, grooming, hygiene, toileting and bathing. Your therapist can help you rebuild skills and functions you may have lost, show you new ways to manage these tasks or recommend assisted devices that can make performing these tasks easier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 14 million Americans aged 65 and over report a falling incident each year. Unfortunately, a fall can land you in the hospital or a rehabilitation center for days, weeks or even months. Working with an occupational therapist can help reduce the risk of falling. First, occupational therapy services can help improve your balance and mobility. Secondly, an occupational therapist works directly with you to ensure you’re completing everyday tasks correctly, which can reduce your risk of falling. For instance, an occupational therapist can show you the right way to enter and exit your shower to prevent the risk of falling, or they may recommend safety tools, such as grab bars and a shower bench.
If your vision for your golden years is to remain as independent as possible for as long as possible, don’t skip occupational therapy. The main goal of this type of therapy is to ensure you can continue doing many of the same activities you’ve always done with limited support. Not only can occupational therapy help improve your strength, fine motor skills and dexterity, but a therapist can also recommend modifications to your schedule, home or room and method of mobility to promote as much independence as possible. For instance, an occupational therapist may recommend a cane or walker for mobility support.
Occupational therapy helps promote overall physical health, but it can improve your mental health as well. By developing or rebuilding the skills you need to remain more active, occupational therapy allows you to participate in activities that can stimulate brain activity, such as games, crafts and puzzles. Additionally, your therapist can provide memory solutions by helping you develop habits, setting daily routines to build familiarity and using signage and symbols to make navigation easier.
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