Once older adults hit retirement, they have plenty of time for reading books, making crafts, completing crossword puzzles, and other enjoyable and relaxing activities. But sensory-stimulating hobbies such as these do more than fill up the hours of the day—they’re vital cognitive exercises that boost brain health. Similar activities are the basis for occupational therapy for seniors with memory loss, allowing them to live independent and productive lives. Take a look below at how occupational therapy can help with memory loss.
Treatment at any stage
Although occupational therapy can provide benefits for seniors at any stage of memory loss, the earlier treatment begins, the better. Still, most seniors seeking occupational therapy have already been affected by memory loss through age, injury, or illness, and therapists customize treatment based on the patient’s abilities and goals. For later stages of memory loss, therapists focus on improving quality of life with simplified activities and sensory stimulation.
Engagement and routine
Humans are occupational beings, meaning the things we choose to do every day bring significance to our lives. And one of the most cognitively rich aspects of our lives is engagement with other people and activities, whether part of a daily routine or hobby. That’s why a lot of occupational therapy focuses on everyday tasks like dressing, preparing easy meals, setting the table, and other engaging activities.
While occupational therapists use in-depth evaluations to determine a treatment plan, here are a few simplified examples of the kinds of affected behaviors helped by occupational therapy:
- Dressing: Therapists can provide a limited, weather-appropriate clothing selection for the patient to choose from, which boosts self-sufficiency.
- Wandering: Seniors with memory loss can put themselves in danger by wandering, so therapists can devise a safe, secure environment that still promotes mobility.
- Productivity: Occupational tasks can be assigned to promote productivity, and simplified activities can replace complex activities the patient once enjoyed, like jigsaw puzzles or card games.
- Personality changes: This intervention is more for caregivers than patients, but occupational therapists can teach techniques for non-defensive responding and re-directing.
Occupational therapy takes a comprehensive approach to treatment, collaborating with the patient and other caregivers to improve all aspects of the senior’s daily life. Specific benefits of occupational therapy include:
- Daily challenges and beyond: Aside from everyday tasks mentioned above, occupational therapists can help seniors with memory loss manage their home and participate in social activities.
- Home modifications: Occupational therapists can assess a senior’s home and determine modifications that should be made for safety and optimum participation in daily life.
- Physical restoration: While occupational therapy is not a “cure” for memory loss, it can still help restore physical skills even when memory loss is severe.
- Overall health and wellness: Occupational therapy has a positive influence on mental health, which can extend into other aspects of a senior’s overall wellness, including diet and exercise.
Looking for a facility providing quality occupational therapy in San Diego?
At Bella Vista Health Center, our facility has earned a 5-star rating not just because of the quality care we provide, but also because of the range of top-notch services available to our residents. Occupational therapy is one of the many services we offer, and our therapists are dedicated to improving the functional ability and quality of life of our residents. If you’re looking for a skilled nursing facility for a loved one who suffers from memory loss, please call us today at (619) 399-7920 or drop by and see us in Lemon Grove.