The first thing that crosses the mind of people who hear the expression “occupational therapy” is people who are working on getting better after suffering an injury or illness. The term is frequently pointed in the direction of people—older adults, at that—who are recovering from a stroke or a severe car accident. But it’s not only that. Operational therapy refers to much much more than you know. Here, with us, you can learn about it.
What Is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is precisely formulated by the American Occupational Therapy Association. The definition goes as follows:
“Occupational therapy is the only profession that helps people across the lifespan to do the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of daily activities (occupations). Occupational therapy practitioners enable people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health, and prevent—or live better with—injury, illness, or disability.”
Someone who does this for a living is called an occupational therapist (OT), and they work with people of all ages. It is not only for seniors. OTs can work with a child that has a disability. For example, their job is sometimes something as simple as teaching them to tie their shoes by using an adaptive tool. Some occupational therapists help seniors with vision impairments learn to prepare their meals by themselves.
All occupational therapists strive for the same goal as their patients, and that is to achieve the highest level of their practical functionality.
Furthermore, you need to understand that gaining or regaining of physical skills isn’t the primary and exclusive goal of this therapy. Some OTs are working with patients to improve their memory. Those OTs who are working with people on developing their mind can do this through simple activities such as puzzles, reading stories in magazines, and engaging in memory-building art projects.
Occupational Therapy Tips for Seniors
If your loved one is planning on undergoing occupational therapy, there are things they can do to make sure that this therapy has the best possible outcome. Here are just some of the tips:
- Goals – You shouldn’t expect too much from occupational therapy. The goals need to be realistic. For people who had a car accident, the goal in many cases is to regain the ability to drive again. This goal can be achievable, but it needs to be made of a few smaller goals. For starters, you should look to regain essential motor functions.
- Be patient – Occupational therapy takes time, and you need to make sure that your loved one understands this. Progress will come eventually but with a combination of hard work and time. Because of this, the elderly should approach therapy patiently.
- Dress appropriately – Therapy is not easy. Appropriate means comfortable, most of all. While doing occupational therapy, you should wear comfy shoes and clothes, which can make therapy much more manageable.
- Small battles win wars – With every small step, you are going forward, and you should enjoy these little steps. Some occupational therapies will last for a long time, and you should motivate yourself with every victory, regardless of its size.
Occupational Therapy and Mental Health
Another thing that OTs pay attention to is the mental health of their patients. For patients who have difficulty mastering specific tasks, working with an OT can do wonders for their ability and the improvement of their lives. This can prove very handy for older adults who have suffered from a stroke or similar conditions. Occupational therapy can improve both their physical and mental health. Improvements that come from working with an OT can help patients stay free of stress and depression.
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