Helping Your Senior Loved One Get The Most Benefit From Occupational Therapy
Pegasus home health care in Valley Village and elsewhere includes occupational therapy. The therapy isn’t limited to people with jobs. Our professionals explain how receiving therapy can benefit your senior loved one.
“Occupation” includes the activities of daily living (ADLs). ADLs are the basics of self-care, such as hygiene and eating. Losing the ability to care for oneself equals a loss of independence.
An occupational therapist works with disabled, ill, or injured individuals. They consider the person’s abilities and customize therapy to help them achieve their goals. Any improvement in their ability to function independently improves your loved one’s outlook on life.
The occupational therapist helps people meet their challenges. Treatment can include teaching your loved one how to conserve energy. Therapists know which, if any, medical devices are beneficial.
What Are The Benefits Of Occupational Therapy?
Improvements for anyone receiving occupational therapy include:
- Better balance
- Correct use of assistive devices and equipment
- Greater home safety
- Increased strength, particularly in their upper body
The therapist also teaches caregivers how to best care for their loved ones.
Therapists first evaluate an individual’s needs. Because every person is different, each treatment plan is different. Treatment is a mixture of exercises encompassing mental, physical, and psychological components.
What Conditions Do Occupational Therapists Treat?
Among other conditions, your senior may receive therapeutic treatment for:
- Arthritis or other painful joint inflammation – your loved one can learn movements and positions that increase their ability to function.
- Range of motion – exercises can help reduce stiffness or pain so that your senior can move their bodies better.
- Vision – although some vision loss is permanent, exercises can restore or improve sight loss due to certain conditions.
- Memory loss or other cognitive impairments – exercises designed to sharpen cognitive skills and sensory stimulation can improve your loved one’s quality of life.
- Pain – pain can become chronic due to trauma, nerve damage, injuries that haven’t healed correctly, and increasing age. A variety of therapeutic treatments can increase your loved one’s comfort.
The goal of occupational therapy is to increase an individual’s independence. Therapists focus on what your loved one can do and helps strengthen those abilities.
Education is an essential part of therapy. Sometimes a behavioral change can generate improvements in your loved one’s quality of life. A therapist is objective, and their suggestions are often more readily accepted.
Your senior may still be able to live independently. However, they may be undergoing significant changes in their life. Changes can include:
- Becoming a caregiver themselves for another family member
- Coping with the death of a spouse
- Moving from one residence or location to another
- Needing to receive caregiving
An occupational therapist helps individuals transition to their new roles.
Is Occupational Therapy Helpful For Dementia?
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia, occupational therapy can be an essential part of their care. Treatment depends on their level of cognition. As with other conditions, the therapist will focus on what your loved one can do, not on their lost abilities.
Treatment often consists of helping the individual retain their present level of competency. The therapist also teaches them ways to compensate for skills they no longer have. Doing so is more effective than trying to regain what their disease has stolen from them.
The occupational therapist includes family caregivers in the treatment plan. You will learn how to provide the care needed at each stage of the disease. You will also understand how to keep your loved one safe as their dementia progresses.
Because caregivers all too often put their needs last, the therapist helps ensure your care is balanced. They also provide an outlet for your stress and emotions. They are up-to-date on research and will help you make good decisions.
What Does An Occupational Therapist Do?
As in other professions, occupational therapists choose specialties. Geriatric therapists undergo training designed to meet the needs of the elderly. They understand the specific needs of seniors, especially those who wish to age in place.
An occupational therapist:
- Evaluates the needs, abilities, and goals of your loved one and other members of the household. The treatment will focus on the patient, but they will collaborate with you and other caregivers.
- Makes the independence of your loved one a priority. They know that individuals who live at home usually have better mental, emotional, and physical health.
- Doesn’t rely on a one-plan-fits-all course of treatment. They consider the home environment and how your loved one functions in it.
- Respects the comfort and dignity of your loved one. Your senior should always feel safe with the therapist.
- Is willing to adjust the treatment program when it isn’t producing the desired results.
Your loved one may find therapy to be hard work and resist. The therapist puts their well-being first but considers their happiness in the treatment plan.
Pegasus is a licensed Home Care Organization and a Joint Commission Accredited Home Health Care organization. Our team of home health care experts in Valley Village and our other locations provide all levels of service. We meet the needs of you and your loved ones with customized care.