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April 5, 2022

What is occupational therapy and when is it necessary?

By: Country Meadows | Personal Care, Wellness

One of the most difficult aspects of aging is losing the ability to complete everyday tasks we never had trouble performing. This can cause people in retirement communities to feel confused, frustrated and even embarrassed. Help is available.

One of the best things a person can do is occupational therapy. Ok, so what is occupational therapy?

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy helps people lead independent, fulfilling lives by assisting them to recover or develop skills needed to complete daily tasks. Occupational therapy is beneficial for seniors who feel they are having difficulty completing day-to-day activities, both physically and mentally.

The best retirement communities offer occupational therapy right on campus. What is occupational therapy doing being part of senior living?

Occupational therapy helps people at all stages of life, including senior care services, to maintain or recover the skills needed for daily life. Occupational therapists work with seniors to teach them exercise techniques that make completing daily tasks such as dressing and bathing much easier. Additionally, therapists help retirement living residents to improve strength, dexterity, basic motor skills and range of motion.

Benefits of occupational therapy for seniors go beyond physical abilities. Therapists can assist older adults with dementia or vision loss to maintain abilities and find solutions to everyday issues.

What is occupational therapy doing to maintain skills and abilities?

There are ways occupational therapy can be proactive to prevent injuries, such as falls. Every year one in four people over 65 experience a fall. You may be asking what is occupational therapy going to do before a fall?

By leading seniors in balance and muscle building exercises, occupational therapy co-workers teach residents methods to prevent falls.

Additionally, what is occupational therapy if not to check out retirement living residents’ apartments to conduct assessments and recommend modifications to eliminate safety hazards? Suggestions might include:

  • Removing clutter, excess furniture and unsecured throw rugs
  • Installing hand rails and grab bars
  • Providing medical equipment such a bath bench to make getting in and out of a tub easier
  • Increasing lighting sources
  • Suggesting modifications to assist in daily life such as lift chairs, ramps or walk-in showers.

How does occupational therapy differ from physical therapy?

As covered earlier, occupational therapy focuses on how to help seniors perform activities that are most important in their daily lives such as eating, bathing and dressing. Occupational therapy also assesses factors which may hinder a senior’s ability to live independently.

Physical therapy helps patients cope with pain, increase range of motion, improve endurance, and maintain or strengthen gross motor skills.

What is occupational therapy’s role in improving seniors’ lives?

Older adults can become depressed when they begin to lose basic abilities and wonder how they can live with these challenges. What is occupational therapy going to do to improve mental status?

By engaging in occupational therapy, seniors learn that despite changes in their physical abilities, they can still live a very fulfilling lifestyle. Therapists teach strategies to help older adults receiving senior care services to improve and maintain their independence which, in turn, improves overall confidence and determination.

They may also suggest adaptive tools to help seniors gain confidence to participate in social activities with others in retirement living. Adaptive tools is any device or machine used to perform a daily task such as a modified utensil to use during meals, waist-high shoe horn to put on shoes as well as other devices to help seniors complete chores, grooming and other daily life activities. Literally, any item that’s been adapted to make life easier is considered adaptive equipment.

Does Country Meadows offer occupational therapy?

Yes. Country Meadows partners with therapy professionals to provide occupational therapy as well as speech and physical therapy on campuses, making these services easily accessible.

Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus in Frederick, Maryland. Our retirement communities offer a wide range of services including independent living, personal care, assisted living, memory support and restorative care. Click here to learn more about additional services such as physical, speech and occupational therapy offered on our campuses. If you would like more information about how we can support you or a loved one, please contact us today. Our co-workers can answer questions and provide information on our services.


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