As we age, injuries, diseases or illnesses can negatively affect our ability to perform everyday chores and activities. Daily tasks like getting dressed, taking a walk or making dinner may suddenly become difficult or impossible to do on your own. This is when occupational therapy can become beneficial.
Occupational therapy offers an array of benefits for seniors recovering from an injury or illness. In fact, the benefits of occupational therapy go beyond just the physical improvements. Often, occupational therapy’s biggest benefits are a renewed sense of independence and improved quality of life.
To fully appreciate occupational therapy’s benefits, it helps to understand what it is and how this form of therapy is used.
What is Occupational Therapy?
According to the National Library of Medicine, the objective of occupational therapy is to help people to live their lives more independently. Occupational therapy is designed to help individuals of all ages overcome physical, sensory or cognitive problems. For seniors in particular, the goal is to help you safely navigate your daily life and adapt to various health challenges, allowing you to remain living independently as long as possible.
Essentially, an occupational therapist’s job is to help you stay active and live well, despite limitations. So, what does occupational therapy look like for an older adult? What are some examples of occupational therapy? Depending on the type of limitation and your personal circumstances, occupational therapy may include the following:
- Retraining of everyday skills (getting dressed, preparing food, managing the household)
- Learning and practicing skills for school, work or free time
- Movement and perception exercises
- Concentration and memory exercises
- Manual and creative exercises
- Help in structuring your daily routine
- Modification of your home or workplace
- Using medical aids such as a walker or prosthesis
- Advice and, if needed, guidance for family members
The treatment goals are determined together with the therapist as much as possible, and the progress is also monitored together. For occupational therapy to succeed, you need to actively participate and use the techniques that you have learned in everyday situations as often as possible.
Importance of Occupational Therapy for Seniors
Why is occupational therapy beneficial? Think about how an illness, injury or prolonged hospital stay can take a physical toll on our bodies. Now also think about that joint replacement surgery or stroke – losing your independence and finding yourself relying on others can greatly affect your emotional and mental state, potentially leading to depression and anxiety. Occupational therapy looks at your overall health and well-being – physical, mental and emotional.
An experienced occupational therapist is highly collaborative and looks at your life as a whole, and generally follows these key steps:
- Evaluates your environment, and discusses your individual needs and goals
- Receives feedback from family members, care providers and other forms of social support
- Creates a customized approach to help improve quality of life
- Develops a thorough care plan to address certain issues, such as safe driving, fall prevention or accessibility in your home
Something important to keep in mind: Occupational therapists’ main goal is to overcome barriers affecting your ability to participate in your life. The focus is on adapting a task or an environment to fit you, with you being an essential member of your therapy team.
Explore Occupational Therapy at Holly Hill
At Holly Hill Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, our professionally trained staff serves as a resource you can rely on. Residents at our community are provided with personalized care plans based on each person’s individual needs and health goals, incorporating the advice and recommendations of their primary care physician as well as their specialized physicians and loved ones.
Holly Hill offers the best in senior care, including rehabilitation, memory care, respite services and skilled nursing care designed to support and nurture each resident’s emotional, spiritual, mental and physical wellness. We are committed to creating a unique experience for each resident and supporting their family as they work toward their goals.
Ready to learn more about Holly Hill? Contact us today to schedule a tour and get answers to your questions.