Occupational therapy, or OT as it’s commonly called, plays a vital role in the aging process for older adults living in their own home or in a senior community. Education, exercise and rehabilitation techniques make daily tasks like getting dressed, eating, bathing and using the restroom easier. Family members whose loved ones are having trouble performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) because of pain, confusion or decreased range of motion can assist with OT to help their loved ones recover, maintain or develop the skills needed to stay independent as long as possible.
If mom, dad or any senior loved one experiences chronic pain, has balance or falling issues, a loss of dexterity, or vision loss, Occupational Therapy can be a lifeline to renewed independence, and is often covered by Medicare.
Occupational therapy is a mainstay of assisted living communities and skilled nursing facilities, but even seniors living at home can benefit from OT. Some ways OT can help seniors become safer and more independent include:
Range of Motion
Range of motion exercises increase mobility while decreasing pain and stiffness by focusing on daily tasks based on the individual’s abilities to complete them. Crossword puzzles, arts and crafts, and balance, stretching and strength exercises can help patients sharpen fine and basic motor skills, keep up strength and improve dexterity.
Chronic pain can have a dramatic negative impact on an elderly person’s ability to live a fulfilling and independent life. OT can help patients develop adaptive ways of performing ADLs that compensate for chronic pain. Therapists often focus on areas like safe body mechanics, ergonomics and muscle tension reduction.
Cognitive and Memory Loss
Memory loss affects around 40% of Americans over the age of 65. OT can be key during early stages of memory loss. Therapists assess a client’s cognitive ability and help address any changes in behavior or personality through behavioral modification.
Aging adults with dementia require specialized activity programming that focuses on supporting remaining capabilities. By measuring strengths and weaknesses and then identifying performance areas that need work, occupational therapists can help seniors improve through adaptation and compensation.
Seniors struggling with any form of degenerative vision loss can be given recommendations on changes to make around their homes, such as removing clutter that could pose as a tripping hazard. OT provides activities that promote visual awareness and reinforce perceptual skills.
Living Space Modifications
Occupational therapists look at the layout of the living space to get a feel for how a patient moves around their home. Home modifications help prevent falls and instill confidence when doing tasks. Common modifications include walk-in bathtubs and showers, grab bars, power lift recliners and medical alert systems.
For more information on Medicare coverage for occupational therapy, visit Medicare.gov.
If an older adult in your life is considering senior living options, occupational therapy should be a step in that path. OT can help seniors safely stay active to complete daily tasks and maintain a healthy lifestyle. That is why Oasis Senior Advisors take the time to get to know our clients and provide the personalized services seniors and families need, right when they need them most. One call to Oasis Senior Advisors can provide you with many solutions to the issues that seniors, families and caregivers face every day. Contact us today at 888-455-5838.