Throughout the duration of the ageing process, seniors encounter a whole host of different changes that alter the ways in which they are able to perform everyday tasks as they did when they were a bit younger.
For seniors, it can be hard on both an emotional and a physical level to accept the fact that changes are taking place that alter performance in areas of life that were fulfilling and generated a sense of empowerment and independence. Seniors troubled by how to best adjust and move forward with their new realities might be able to benefit from engaging in Occupational Therapy to help them deal with challenges and make arrangements that allow them to continue living independent and enriching lives.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy (OT) is a type of therapy that helps individuals continue to live full, productive, and independent lives by strengthening their ability to perform important activities or ‘occupations’. Occupational Therapy differs from Physical Therapy because OT focuses on cultivating and strengthening the ability to perform daily tasks or activities, while Physical Therapy (PT) focuses on improving physical mobility. The overall goal that exists in Occupational Therapy is to help in the process of building up better self-reliance by working through physical challenges and making environmental adjustments to provide seniors with the best opportunities to continue to take part in the everyday activities that give them a sense of independence, empowerment, and fulfillment in their lives.
How Seniors Can Benefit from Occupational Therapy
Every senior has their own personal 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 the Occupational Therapist to determine how best to build and support independence. The following are a few examples of the areas of seniors’ lives that Occupational Therapy can target:
- Fall Prevention: Falls are some of the most prevalent causes of injury for seniors, and Occupational Therapists can help seniors to find the best tools, practices, and strategies to help prevent falls. Whether this be through home adjustments or physical practices, Occupational Therapy can help to keep seniors safer in their homes.
- Daily Tasks: Occupational Therapy can assist seniors in learning to better carry out daily tasks that might have started to feel more challenging with age. Through various strategies, adjustments, and purpose-driven practices, Occupational Therapy can help seniors to continue feeding and dressing themselves, getting themselves from one place to another, taking care of their homes, and participating in social activities.
- Mental Health: Occupational Therapy can have a significant impact on the state of mental health that seniors experience. Being able to maintain the greater sense of independence, agency, and empowerment that Occupational Therapy promotes in seniors can build up feelings of satisfaction that are deeply important for seniors’ mental health. Occupational Therapy can help to lessen levels of anxiety associated with being concerned about one’s ability to perform daily tasks independently, and can help seniors to set and achieve goals and plan activities that bring them fulfillment.
- Home Adjustments: Occupational Therapists can help seniors to arrange their homes in ways that craft a setting that best promotes independence. Occupational Therapists can help seniors and their families to plan home-modifications, small or large in scale, that will help to keep seniors safer and allow them to carry-out everyday tasks with more comfort and ease. Some adjustments may include features such as grab-bars in the bathroom or shower, aids for the stairs, beds or seating best for positioning, or other such features for adjustment and ease.
- Mobility: Occupational Therapists can also be involved in the process of identifying need for devices that help with mobility, such as walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs. Along a similar vein, Occupational Therapists can also help caregivers or family members learn how best to support seniors with their mobility or getting them from place to place.
Participation in Occupational Therapy can play a role in the process of connecting seniors and their caregivers to other services and supports that are available to them in Edmonton. Occupational Therapists can often provide valuable information and recommendations for community resources and support groups that seniors may appreciate for making important connections for care and for socialization.
Occupational Therapy Through Memory-Loss
Another important aspect in terms of Occupational Therapy is that it has been shown to be beneficial for seniors who find themselves in the early stages of memory-loss. Occupational Therapists can play a role in assessing changes in seniors’ cognitive abilities and can help to recommend changes or strategies that will help with the maintenance of their ability to remain more independent. As memory-loss continues to progress, Occupational Therapists can help plan and arrange for new ways to make activities more manageable to help seniors keep up a positive quality of life.
The things that are important to each individual senior and their sense of independence and self may vary, but Occupational Therapy can help a lot in the process of aiding seniors as they continue to engage in all areas of their lives. Connecting with an Occupational Therapist in Edmonton can be incredibly helpful for seniors as they come to adjust to the many changes that come with growing older.