What is Occupational Therapy?
When older adults are first advised to see an occupational therapist, they may be confused about what that means. Many people think that occupational therapy has something to do with work, but it really has more to do with helping people to continue to live their lives and do the things they enjoy. If you’re unsure how occupational therapy can help your aging relative, April is the perfect month to learn more because it’s National Occupational Therapy month.
About Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy got its start in the 1800s when people known as “arts and crafts therapists” began visiting patients in hospitals who had mental or physical conditions. Doctors observed that patients who were encouraged to participate in normal day-to-day activities, like cleaning, farming, or working on crafts, were healthier than those who did not.
In 1917, the American Occupational Therapy Association was formed. At the start of the association, professionals were focused on working with wounded World War I soldiers. Occupational therapists performed a special role in helping soldiers to rehabilitate because they helped them not just with physical goals, but also helped them to learn to move differently or use aids to enable them to continue their lives as normally as possible.
What Occupational Therapists Do…
Occupational therapists work in a lot of different settings, including:
- Nursing Homes.
- Occupational Therapy Facilities.
- Occupational therapists who work in hospitals usually work with patients to perform daily activities, like brushing their teeth, getting dressed, and bathing. In a nursing home, an occupational therapist might engage the patient in activities that resemble games in order to assist them with hand eye coordination or other physical skills.
- Occupational therapists can help older adults to age in place. Some specific things they may do are:
- Look at the senior’s home to determine if it fits the senior’s skills and physical abilities, and that it is safe. They will make recommendations for changes that can make the house more suitable.
- Assessing the older adult’s ability to drive safely and make suggestions to improve problem areas.
- Observe the senior doing daily activities or the things they enjoy and suggest ways to make them easier, safer, or less painful.
- Make recommendations for equipment that can help seniors live more comfortably while also keeping the patient’s budget in mind. For example, they may suggest increasing the wattage of light bulbs instead of replacing or adding light fixtures.
If your aging relative has been referred to an occupational therapist, a home care provider can drive them to appointments. Or, if the therapist is visiting the home, a home care provider can be there during the appointment, so they can pass information on to family caregivers. Home care providers can also assist older adults to employ the techniques suggested by the therapist after the therapist leaves.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring Elder Care in La Mesa, CA, or the surrounding area, please contact the caring staff at Love 2 Live Care. Call Today 1-619-291-4663