What Is Occupational Therapy Used For?

man laughing with nurse outside 

Our daily lives consist of dozens of seemingly mundane activities: climbing stairs, going grocery shopping, getting dressed. Simple tasks like these are known as occupations, and although we rarely think about them, they’re an important part of living a meaningful, independent life.

Unfortunately, many older adults have trouble performing these everyday activities, due to illness, injury, or cognitive disorders such as dementia. But being able to function independently is crucial to maintaining good health – both physically and emotionally. And with occupational therapy, seniors can maximize their independence and quality of life.

What is occupational therapy?

Simply put, occupational therapy focuses on helping people do the things they need to do in their everyday lives. Through rehabilitation, prevention, and education, patients learn ways to overcome their challenges and participate in their own self-care.
Occupational therapists are highly skilled health professionals who take a holistic approach to treatment. By assessing patient needs, limitations, and surroundings, therapists work alongside patients to design customized intervention plans that can help them achieve their occupational goals.

The benefits of occupational therapy

Anyone who struggles to handle their daily responsibilities may benefit from occupational therapy. Participating in occupational therapy activities can help older adults:

  • Develop life skills

A serious injury or medical condition may complicate tasks that once came easily. With occupational therapy, patients can learn new ways to live their lives, finding workable solutions for new physical or mental challenges.

  • Stay healthy and productive

Some occupational therapy activities for adults may include strength training or flexibility exercises. These exercises help improve patient coordination and control, reducing the risk of future injury while encouraging an active lifestyle.

  • Achieve independent living

A major goal of occupational therapy is to get patients back in their own homes, doing the things they love, and functioning independently.

  • Feel empowered

The holistic perspective provided by occupational therapists focuses on the priorities of the individual patient. By getting to know what matters to them personally, therapists can help their patients live their best possible lives.

What an occupational therapist does

An occupational therapist is an expert at identifying barriers that prevent patients from accomplishing their goals, then developing methods to work around them. Because every patient is unique, occupational activities for adults may vary, but some common services provided by therapists are:

  • Conducting thorough assessments

Occupational therapists spend a long time getting to know their patients, understanding what’s important to them, what they enjoy doing, and where they most need support.

  • Making environmental changes

After evaluating a patient’s current living environment, occupational therapists often make suggestions to improve their safety and comfort, such as removing environmental hazards or adding assistive devices.

  • Educating patients

Occupational therapists teach coping skills, design wellness programs, and help patients establish new routines. They can also provide training for adaptive equipment or assistive technology that will improve quality of life.

  • Supporting caregivers

Occupational therapists show family members and loved ones how to promote patient independence while maximizing the quality time they spend together.

Bella Vista Health Center provides occupational therapy in San Diego

No matter what your barriers to daily living may be, Bella Vista can help you overcome them. With some of the best occupational therapy san diego has to offer, we provide services to patients recovering from surgery, rehabilitating after a stroke, or living with chronic disease or dementia. Our full service skilled nursing facility is focused on empowering patients to live their best lives and preparing them for independent living.

If you believe you or a loved one will benefit from occupational therapy, call us at (619) 644-1000.