During the month of April, we celebrate Occupational Therapy Month. Throughout these 30 days, we raise awareness about the importance of Occupational Therapy (OT) and its benefits for the senior population.
What is occupational therapy?
The American Occupational Therapy Association describes occupational therapists as individuals that help people of all ages do what they want to do. There is a wide range of tasks these professionals can help with, including young children with physical or mental disabilities in school or assisting injured seniors in need of a speedy recovery. Some occupational therapists work at hospitals or clinics, and others make home visits, for example. These professionals evaluate their client’s needs and want to provide personalized programs and activities that help achieve those goals.
How do occupational therapists help seniors?
The elderly can benefit from working with an occupational therapist to improve or maintain their independence. Seniors with a specific disease or chronic illnesses can seek an OT’s assistance to work toward specific goals. For example, an arthritic person wants to try exercising in a pool to ease their pain and work out. An occupational therapist can offer plans and programs on becoming more physically active while being mindful of aching joints. Seniors with dementia can also benefit from working with an OT on mental activities to stimulate cognitive functioning and retain memories. The therapist will assess the senior’s memory loss and understand their goals to assist in tasks geared towards these objectives. Occupational therapists do not focus on what seniors cannot do. Instead, these practitioners learn what their clients can do and then work to expand their abilities.
How to get involved with an occupational therapist?
If you or your loved one could benefit from gaining more independence, consider talking to them about seeing an occupational therapist. Some assisted living communities offer in-house OTs that can provide weekly care. Talk to your care center to find out more about the OT services they offer.
Those who already take advantage of the benefits of OT can use the month of April as a time to say thank you to their practitioners. Here are a few friendly ways to show gratitude to an occupational therapist who has helped your older loved one:
– Write a card, note, or letter. Tell them how OT has improved your life.
– Send a small gift, such as flowers or sweet treats. Let them know their hard work is much appreciated.
– Show your thanks by providing the OT with a review.
Thus, this is a time to recognize the excellent occupational therapists for their dedication to their patients and well-being. Please help us thank these compassionate practitioners for their hard work.
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