Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Aging presents an array of changes and challenges that impact our capacity to take part in everyday tasks in the same way we did when we were younger. Seniors often find it difficult on both an emotional and a physical level to accept these changes and all that comes with them.

Having to forego participation in previously enjoyed activities can be depressing as they once provided fulfilment, empowerment, and independence. Older adults struggling with these adjustments are obligated to find ways to move forward with their new realities. Occupational Therapy is a helpful solution to navigate various challenges and continue living an independent and fulfilling lifestyle.

What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational Therapy (OT) is a type of therapy that works to support individuals that wish to maintain full, productive, and autonomous lives by addressing their ability to carry out important activities or occupations.

Occupational Therapy is different from Physical Therapy because OT focuses on building up the ability to perform daily tasks or activities, while Physical Therapy (PT) focuses on improving physical mobility. The overarching goal of Occupational Therapy is to help in the process of creating and strengthening self-reliance in a variety of ways. It can involve working through physical challenges and making environmental adjustments to give seniors the best opportunity to continue to take part in the everyday activities that bring health and happiness.

How Seniors Can Benefit From Occupational Therapy

Everyone has their own unique set of needs, goals, and challenges that differ based on their personal circumstances. Occupational Therapy involves a process of identifying areas of need and working with an Occupational Therapist to determine how best to foster independence. The following are a few examples of the areas of seniors’ lives that Occupational Therapy can target:

Daily Tasks Occupational Therapy can help seniors establish effective routines for carrying out Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Frequently these types of tasks become more challenging with age. Through various strategies, adjustments, and purpose-driven practices, Occupational Therapy can help seniors continue feeding and dressing themselves, getting around town and to appointments, taking care of their homes, and participating in social activities.

Fall Prevention Falls are among the most prevalent injury risks for seniors, and Occupational Therapists can help seniors access the best tools, practices, and strategies to help prevent and protect themselves against falls. Whether this is through home adjustments or physical practices, Occupational Therapy can help keep seniors safer in their homes.

Home Adjustments Occupational Therapists can help seniors set up their homes in ways that create a setting that best promotes independence. They can help seniors and their families plan home modifications, small or large in scale, that will help keep seniors safe and navigate everyday tasks. Some adjustments may include features such as grab bars in the bathroom or shower, aids for the stairs, beds or seating for best positioning, or other similar features for adjustment and ease.

Mental HealthOccupational Therapy can have a meaningful impact on the state of mental health that seniors experience. Being able to maintain a greater sense of independence, agency, and empowerment helps create feelings of satisfaction that are incredibly positive for mental health. OT can help reduce the levels of anxiety associated with concerns about one’s ability to perform daily tasks independently by helping seniors set and achieve goals and plan activities that bring them joy.

Mobility Identifying the need for devices that assist with mobility, such as walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs can also be handled by an Occupational Therapist. Along a similar vein, they can also help caregivers or family members learn how to best support seniors with their mobility and getting from place to place.

Making Connections Participation in Occupational Therapy can also be a part of the process of connecting seniors and their caregivers to other services and supports available to them in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge. Occupational Therapists can offer information and recommendations for community resources and support groups that seniors may find valuable for making important connections for care and for socialization.

Occupational Therapy Through Memory-Loss

Another important aspect of Occupational Therapy is that it has been shown to be valuable for seniors in the early stages of memory loss. Occupational Therapists can play a role in assessing changes in seniors’ cognitive abilities and help suggest arrangements to maintain independence. As memory loss progresses, Occupational Therapists can help plan new ways to make activities more manageable to help seniors uphold a fulfilling quality of life.

Priorities vary from person to person, but Occupational Therapy can contribute a great deal to the process of helping seniors actively participate in all areas of their lives. Connecting with an Occupational Therapist in Kitchener-Waterloo-Cambridge can be deeply beneficial for seniors as they navigate and adjust to the various challenges along the way.

Resources:

Occupational Therapists Cambridge

Occupational Therapists Kitchener-Waterloo

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As the global COVID-19 pandemic continues, and with Waterloo Region declaring a state of emergency, we want to ensure that our clients and their families understand our infection control approaches which are designed to ensure the safety of our clients and our employees.
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