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9 Ways Occupational Therapy can Improve the Lives of Seniors

OT for elderly

Occupational therapy is a treatment plan that helps manage problems with coordination and movement which can improve individuals’ motor skills that are required for simple daily tasks. An Occupational Therapist will work on balance, coordination, and self-regulation skills for the seniors. What exactly do occupational therapists do to assist aging patients as well as some of the benefits? 

What are the benefits of occupational therapy?

Occupational therapists offer many services to the elderly, customized to each patient’s individual needs. They help the individuals transition into old age through the following:

  1. Prevent falls

Falls ranks among the leading causes of nursing home admissions and deaths among seniors. Research shows more than 1 out of four seniors people fall each year, however, the assistance of an Occupational Therapist can mitigate this risk.

Your Occupational Therapist will examine your home for safety and then suggest modifications to make it easier for the elderly to navigate around the house without falling.  

  1. Encourage socialisation 

Lack of endurance, fear of falling, and other age-related physical challenges can prevent seniors from participating in social activities. This increased isolation could lead to depression and bring about further physical complications.

Occupational therapists help aging patients adapt to these physical challenges. They involve them in exciting physical activities to enable them to live an active and happy life. 

  1. Help manage dementia

Age comes with increased health issues, including dementia, which involves memory loss and the inability to solve problems, think, or communicate well with others.

Occupational therapists assess the cognitive status of the ageing population and recommend interventions that can address personality and behavioural changes. This enhances seniors quality of life and also greatly assist families with managing their loved one’s symptoms. For instance, a therapist may help you regain independence and recommend modification to the house to conserve memory. 

  1. Boost memory

Although memory loss can occur at any age, it’s mostly common among the elderly. With age, the elderly can lose sensory, short-term, and long-term memory. 

An occupational therapist can help seniors regain or preserve memory and boost their thinking capacity by involving them in logical games and tasks.

  1. It helps manage chronic pain

Chronic pain is common among the elderly due to aging effects on bones and joints. Seniors may also have problems such as strokes, nerve damage, and injuries, which can cause chronic pain. Unfortunately, this can lead to loss of control over daily activities, making seniors feel hopeless and vulnerable.

Occupational therapists help the ageing population manage chronic pain by identifying behaviours that aggravate symptoms and offering interventions that can help overcome them. They also provide the patient with adaptive methods to perform daily activities.

  1. Helps manage chronic conditions

With age, the chances of developing diseases like Parkinson’s, diabetes, and hypertension can increase and unfortunately limit a seniors ability to accomplish daily tasks. 

Occupational therapists offer the elderly new ways of conducting these tasks while avoiding injuries, reducing fatigue, and conserving energy. They help them carry out activities such as bathing and dressing, which increase their self-esteem.

  1. Encourages independence 

Sometimes seniors can lose the ability to carry out such activities as dressing, feeding, or bathing themselves.

Occupational therapists use education, physical exercises, and rehabilitative methods to help your aging parent, relative, or friend re-learn and regain their motor skills, dexterity, and strength. This allows them to carry out household tasks and maintain their independence

  1. Help with vision loss

Age-related vision diseases like cataracts and glaucoma are the leading causes of blindness and vision loss in Australia among the elderly. 

Vision loss can be extremely traumatic and is even more challenging for seniors to handle because they deal with many more physical challenges. For some, it can unfortunately lead to depression and anxiety.

Occupational therapy can assist seniors dealing with vision loss. For instance, Occupational Therapists engage elderly patients in activities that enhance pattern detection and perceptual vision, which prevent vision loss. 

  1. Prevents muscular degeneration

Lastly, occupational therapists can help the elderly who may be struggling with muscular degeneration as well as inflammatory diseases such as arthritis. Management of these diseases benefits greatly from regular movement. Occupational therapists are experts in tailoring a low impact exercise plan for seniors and engaging the elderly in activities with a goal to reduce swelling, pain, and joint damage. 

Occupation Therapy at OSAN ABILITY

OSAN has a range of highly qualified and trained Occupational Therapists and allied health professionals whose goal and mission are to improve the lives of their clients. Get in touch with us to find out how we can help you.

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