Sometimes, there can be confusion when a health care provider in the Mount Vernon area recommends occupational therapy for someone.
After all, many people who receive this suggestion are well past the age of wanting to or needing to return to the workforce, so they may question the value and usefulness of undergoing this type of therapy.
The staff at Above and Beyond Home Health Care is always happy to educate people about why occupational therapy can be a good idea, no matter your age or health condition. The staff can also explain how this type of therapy goes far beyond “being able to go back to work” to “being able to function well on your own, anywhere.”
The goal of occupational therapy is to help people re-learn daily living skills if they are lost due to injury or illness. A certified occupational therapist will help someone mentally and physically master a variety of useful tasks, or at least adapt to activities if some of their abilities have changed.
This level of care makes it easier for the patient to remain independent and safe. Seniors can focus on mobility, plus other tasks of daily living, including preparing food, getting dressed, cleaning, exercise and more.
People considering occupational therapy for a family member or loved one can look at some of the benefits that many don’t realize.
- It can help navigate activities of daily living. Many times after an injury or illness a senior may need help re-learning everyday activities. An Occupational Therapist can work with your senior loved one to find new or different ways to accomplish normal tasks such as housekeeping, grooming, and meal preparation.
- It can improve confidence. Being constantly scared that an injury can happen, or even re-occur, can be limiting and make someone afraid to move. It can keep people from getting out of bed or off of a favorite chair, or prevent them from going out into the world to run errands, visit friends or enjoy themselves outside of the home. An occupational therapist can help people build up confidence that can regain abilities like walking which that they feared could be lost. With the occupational therapist’s supervision and encouragement, the patient can start small and get comfortable with the process.
- It can help spot other health conditions or concerns. Because occupational therapy is suggested after a fall or injury, the therapist can help figure out and evaluate what may have caused the initial condition, such as problems with balance, problems with vision, dementia, or even something like a stroke. The therapist may also be able to recommend tools to help such as walkers or prosthetics.
- It can improve mental health. Someone who recently suffered an injury or learned that they can’t move as well as they used to or have lost some of their abilities may be more prone to feelings of depression. For someone who is already in weak health, depression can be especially painful and potentially life-threatening, especially if it involves not wanting to eat or exercise, which could further reduce one’s physical abilities and decrease one’s emotional state. Occupational therapists can provide incentives to get people physically active which can boost their mental processes as well. Plus, a regular visit from a friendly occupational therapist can be something that a patient looks forward to.
- It can improve the home’s safety. Part of the evaluation process involves looking at the patient’s home to make sure they can get around safely if they remain at home. An occupational therapist will be able to assess if any changes or improvements are needed. These can include removing hazards or making it easier for them to get around, especially if they are now required to use a walker or even a wheelchair. Other changes may be needed such as railings in the bathroom, the kitchen or other rooms, and making sure the flooring isn’t slippery.
Occupational therapy should be seen as a useful tool to help a senior get back to independent living especially if physical circumstances have changed due to injury or other health conditions. Because occupational therapists have had extensive training and interest in this field, they’ll be able to provide professional evaluations, exercises, and other efforts to make improvements, especially more than a less trained caregiver or family member could.
At Above and Beyond Home Health Care, our trained occupational therapists work well with the physical therapists, nurses and other healthcare specialists also on staff who all focus on helping patients in the Mount Vernon area improve their quality of life.