The Importance of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

occupational therapy for seniors

One of the hardest choices seniors and their loved ones have to make is deciding whether living independently at home is still feasible. When safety, functionality, and quality of life are concerns, assisted living facilities are sometimes the best option. But it’s also true that assisted living does not mean giving up independence. In fact, some facilities offer occupational therapy specifically to help seniors live more independent and productive lives.  

Although occupational therapy is often utilized after an injury or illness, or to help cope with a mental health condition, the treatment is also used to help seniors regain or strengthen life skills. Read on to discover the importance of occupational therapy for seniors:

Overcoming daily living challenges

Occupational therapy helps seniors compensate for challenges they might face while living independently, such as dressing, feeding, home management, or participation in social activities. Sometimes this is done with the help of assistive devices or new techniques that make it easier to perform daily tasks within the context of mobility limitations.

Implementing environmental modifications

Occupational therapists can facilitate updates in the home to improve safety and functionality, such as grab bars, bathtub benches, and even assistive devices like modified eating utensils or a one-handed cutting board for meal preparation. Therapists are also skilled in educating seniors on home safety, including how to prevent falls while still remaining active.

Assisting caregivers

Many seniors living at home require occasional help, whether from a family member, friend, neighbor, or professional caregiver. But when care is volunteered, it’s easy for caregivers to feel overwhelmed or pressured at times. Occupational therapy and the independence it promotes can alleviate this pressure. Plus, therapists can work with caregivers and assess their caregiving situation, which will allow them to make better decisions about their loved one’s daily needs.

Coping with permanent loss of function

Occupational therapy is particularly beneficial for seniors living with permanent loss of physical or mental functions. For example, therapists can help people with dementia make lists and utilize other prompts to aid recollection. For vision loss or degeneration, occupational therapy can assist in improving visual acuity and perception. Additionally, therapists often use computer programs to help seniors with memory, sequencing, and coordination, all of which are important to independent living.

Improving overall health and wellness

The benefits of occupational therapy go far beyond physical and mental capability—the emotional benefits from increased independence also result in a greater overall quality of life. The educational approach to occupational therapy allows seniors to redesign their lives, which promotes independence, a healthier lifestyle, and longevity. 

Could your loved one benefit from occupational therapy?

If you have a loved one who is trying to cope with the loss of physical or mental functions, Bella Vista Health Center can help. Our occupational therapy program was founded on the goal of empowering patients and helping them live functional, independent, and satisfying lives. If you have questions about our services or you would like to tour our 5-Star skilled nursing facility in Lemon Grove, give us a call today or fill out our contact form.