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5 Ways Occupational Therapy Can Help Your Aging Loved One
Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on April 24th, 2015

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5 Ways Occupational Therapy Can Help Your Aging Loved One

assisted living  |  caregiver tips  |  60-day stay trial  |  Aging & Caregiving

0173EFP120614-132245_UMH_com_COOccupational therapists offer valuable treatment for increasing independence and productivity, whether an older adult is affected by illness, experiencing memory loss, or has sustained an injury.

Here are five ways these trained healthcare professionals can promote a better quality of life for your aging loved one.

1. Managing Everyday Challenges

As our bodies age, typical daily activities often become more difficult. Occupational therapy ("OT") gives seniors tools for overcoming these challenges and continuing with their usual routines, including basic dressing and hygiene to routine domestic tasks.

Treatment may include range of motion and strengthening exercises, wound and skin care, functional ergonomics, and more. Occupational therapists can also help seniors struggling with cognitive decline and memory loss.

2. Modifications to the Home

A number of adaptive technologies exist which can make the home environment safer and more manageable for aging adults. An occupational therapist will assess your loved one's home and make suggestions designed to help ensure the continuance of usual daily activities. From bathtub benches to hand rails to easy grip silverware, there are hundreds of ways to enhance your loved one’s ability to thrive at home.

3. Fall Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a full third of adults over the age of 65 fall every year.  Even worse? Falls are the leading cause of injuries -- both fatal and nonfatal -- for seniors. In total, more than 2.5 million seniors are treated every year for falls, and 734,000 of them are hospitalized. Occupational therapists work with older adults to help them build strength and stay active -- both of which are critical to avoiding potentially debilitating falls.

4. Better Overall Wellness

Isolation and depression are common among seniors. Whether your loved one suffers from a psychiatric disorder or could simply benefit from regular interaction, occupational therapists are trained to educate seniors about how to live fuller lives. This is known to have an important impact on mental health and overall life satisfaction.

5. Caregiver Support

Occupational therapists don’t just assist their patients, but they also provide support to relatives and caregivers. As families care for their aging loved ones, occupational therapists can be valuable resources and advocates throughout decision-making processes and transitions. Their efforts can also lighten the load of overburdened caregivers  by promoting self-reliance and increased independence among seniors.

Key Takeaways

  • Although your aging loved one’s capabilities may be changing, he/she can still enjoy a full, satisfying life.
  • Occupational therapists offer care plans designed to educate seniors and improve functional independence across a broad range of activities and behaviors.
  • While occupational therapists help seniors overcome a number of physical, mental and/or psychological challenges, they also provide essential support services to caregivers.


About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.