How Can Occupational Therapy Help Seniors on a Daily Basis?
It's a reality in the cycle of life. As we age, many things we used to be able to do on our own become more difficult. The good news is, skills can be retaught if we get the right help. That’s good news all around, because no one likes to need or ask for assistance. Dependence is an awful thing to face, and it can cause mental health issues like depression and anxiety disorders. At Arbors West, our Occupational Therapy team's main goal is to enhance daily life. For patients who have lost or have difficulty with self-care skills due to illness, injury, or a mental health condition, this can have a huge impact. We do this with the special care and comfort that our clients know us for.
What’s the Difference Between Occupational and Physical therapy?
A patient who enrolls in a Physical Therapy program is usually prescribed occupational therapy as well. While both focus on returning function, occupational therapists focus on specific tasks. For instance, let’s say a patient suffers an injury, like a broken arm. Physical Therapy exercises concentrate on returning movement and increasing muscle strength. Occupational therapists can then focus on reteaching the patients to dress and feed themselves. Both of our teams work closely together for the best outcome of movement and function for the patient. This not only enhances the daily lives of our long- or short-term residents but the lives of everyone who cares about them.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help with Common Chronic Conditions?
The loss of daily function is often the first sign of a memory-stealing illness like dementia or Alzheimer’s. The patients seem to have forgotten how to take care of themselves. How can occupational therapists help? They can guide a person with dementia, for example, to make lists and use other prompts to aid recall. As the devastating illness impacts verbal skills and self-care tasks such as eating and toileting, they can help simplify activities. Offering foods with a pleasing texture, soothing music, or a stretching program to decrease pain are just a few examples.
For vision loss such as with glaucoma, centered activities improve the ability to discern patterns and strengthen focus skills. These can play a large role in the returned function. Computer programs enable therapists to instruct clients on sequencing and coordination, which are important for a senior who is returning home.
For caregivers, our team provides support on how they can interact with and enjoy their loved ones to the fullest. Just observing an occupational therapy session at Arbors West is a lesson in how the right attention and care can make all the difference!