Benefits of Occupational Therapy
The average adult spends a great deal of time doing basic activities without even thinking about them: using the bathroom, making the bed, putting on shoes, pouring a cup of tea – the list goes on and on. But as we get older, we begin to experience physical and cognitive changes that make certain tasks more difficult.
Occupational therapy is a wonderful resource for those who are aging and undergoing changes that limit their abilities to perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists (OT) can play a major role in helping seniors adjust to these changes and find new ways to perform the activities of daily living. Sometimes this means teaching the patient new techniques or training the patient with adaptive equipment. Other times, the OT will help adapt the environment to meet the patient’s needs and keep him safe.
For example, a gardener who has developed arthritis may find that hip pain makes it almost impossible to get down on the ground to pull weeds in a flowerbed. An occupational therapist may recommend a raised garden, where the weeding can be done without bending over or squatting.
Or perhaps a person finds herself paralyzed by stroke on one side. An occupational therapist might show her one-handed techniques for opening packages or using a computer.
At Bella Vista Health Center in Lemon Grove, we offer occupational therapy services because we see the important role it plays in maintaining both independence and a high quality of life for our residents.
Benefits of occupational therapy for seniors
The benefits of occupational therapy range far and wide. The list below is just a brief glimpse at the many ways OT can help increase or maintain quality of life for seniors. Take a look at these examples of benefits of occupational therapy for seniors. Occupational therapy can:
- Help seniors maintain independence wherever possible
- Provide strategies for overcoming everyday challenges
- Provide instruction for ways to maintain balance and avoid falls
- Teach skills to protect joints and conserve energy
- Empower seniors with new skills and support reliance on skills they already have
- Help eliminate fear and frustration at changes brought about by the aging process
- Provide therapeutic exercises and activities designed to improve range of motion, endurance, and strength
- Serve as a great resource for family members who want to learn how to interact and enjoy activities with their loved ones
Occupational therapy and sleep
Unfortunately, older adults often get less sleep than they need. Insufficient sleep can put them at risk for falling, depression and memory problems, and generally decrease their quality of life.
Occupational therapists consider the big picture for each patient. Not only do they assess the patient’s needs and goals and evaluate how the environment can be adapted to meet them, but they also bring awareness to the importance of sleep for the patient’s well being.
Licensed occupational therapists help older adults develop individual sleep routines that allow them to get the quality sleep they need. In a short-term care facility like Bella Vista Health Center, this sometimes means helping to keep patients engaged during the daytime, encouraging exercise and socialization in order to help set the stage for a good-night’s sleep.
Occupational therapists also help address nocturnal toileting safety, the maintenance of turning schedules for immobile patients, or other factors (such as noise- or light-reduction) that may affect a patient’s sleep quality.
The benefits of occupational therapy for seniors cannot be emphasized enough, which is why we offer OT as one of the many services available to our residents.
At Bella Vista Health Center, we understand that when it comes to your loved ones, the highest quality care is the only acceptable kind.
We promise to care for your loved one just as we would care for our own.
To learn more about Bella Vista and the services we offer, give us a call or come see us in Lemon Grove today.