Some people think that only doctors can decide if someone needs occupational therapy, but the truth is, health care providers in Anamosa and elsewhere will welcome suggestions from concerned family members, loved ones, and caregivers to help their decisions.
After all, the people who spend a good deal of time with someone usually are especially familiar with their behavior and abilities, and can and should alert a provider if anything has changed recently with regards to benefiting from this type of therapy. Employees of Above and Beyond Home Health Care are also willing to share their observations or tell patients or their family what they should be watching for.
The home health care agency also provides a team of skilled occupational therapists who are happy to work with patients to help them with specific occupational needs, whether it’s to learn/relearn skills that can allow them to return to the workforce or to learn/relearn some of the basic skills that are useful for people who want to continue living independently in their own homes.
Although retirement communities and assisted living centers do offer some care options, especially for people with certain health needs, many seniors, if they have the choice, prefer to remain in their homes.
Receiving occupational therapy can provide patients with a variety of useful skills, including getting in and out of bed; walking safely through different parts of the home, and performing basic household tasks like cleaning and cooking. Therapy can also help assess the patient’s environment as well to make sure everything is safe and helpful.
Whether or not someone needs this type of therapy can be assessed through observations and certain factors.
- Changed health condition. Recent major surgery, significant illness or mobility changes can all create a need to learn different ways to get around one’s home or new ways to be safer. Some health conditions may affect different aspects of the body, such as reducing strength. Some activities that used to be easy for people may now be painful. Some disabling conditions such as a stroke or brain damage also could limit some abilities and skills. An occupational therapist can help assess what skills still can be performed or provide training for new ones.
- Minor falls/balance issues. If someone has already fallen recently, this should be cause for concern, even if they didn’t hurt themselves and insist they’re fine. According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of non-fatal and fatal injuries. So even if someone thinks they have their balance and mobility under control, they still could be quite susceptible for future falls that could be more devastating, even fatal. A therapist can provide guidance on ways to move around better, suggest tools to help reduce falls, or find ways to improve safety in one’s home, such as railings or bars.
- Growing concern about independence. If someone is beginning to wonder if they still have the skills to remain on their own or a move is in the near future, the best way to establish that things are under control is by consulting with or beginning occupational therapy. This reasoning could also work for family members who might be increasingly worried about a loved one’s skills. Undergoing occupational therapy could be a good way to make sure someone has what it takes to continue to do well on their own instead of having to relocate.
- Lack of hygiene. This could be a warning sign that more occupational skills are needed. Some of the skills that an occupational therapist teach include basic dressing/and grooming plus general hygiene. If various life changes have made it increasingly difficult for someone to put on clothes each day, comb their hair or generally perform basic physical upkeep, a therapist might be useful in finding ways to help someone with these tasks.
- Lack of interest/memory problems. Occupational therapy doesn’t just teach physical skills but mental ones as well. This could be beneficial to people who are beginning to have problems with forgetting things or other mental changes. It also could help people who are beginning to have symptoms of depression. Occupational therapists can offer various exercises to help memory or different ways to keep track of different tasks. Why this is important can go beyond basic to-do lists to general safety. If someone forgets things like to turn off the stove, this could be a safety concern. It may or may not be a sign of dementia, but therapy might be able to provide extra skills for remembering certain tasks.
The occupational therapists at Above and Beyond Home Health Care are happy to meet with residents of Anamosa or other communities in the region. They can discuss what they do and talk with family members and caregivers. They can also work with area health care providers to discuss specific therapy options for different patients.