As you get older, what used to be easy can become unexplainably difficult. From getting up from bed to eating, our aging bodies can find daily activities more challenging. Disease or injury can also diminish how we perform everyday tasks.
If you need help relearning important life skills due to a health condition, injury, or simply because you are getting older, it may be worth looking into occupational therapy. Here’s more information on occupational therapy and how it can help you in your daily activities.
How Can Occupational Therapy Help Daily Life?
Occupational therapy helps patients regain simple life functions that they may have lost due to an accident, disease, or aging. It is often confused with physical therapy. Although it shares techniques with physical therapy, the overarching goal of occupational therapy is slightly different. Occupational therapy aims to restore strength and function, so you can perform everyday tasks with ease and comfort.
Physical therapy uses exercises and other tools to promote healing and physical performance. It pays less attention to helping you perform everyday tasks, which is the main focus of occupational therapy.
Occupational therapy is not limited to helping older adults navigate everyday life. It is also beneficial for children with developmental and learning disabilities. Occupational therapists can hone children’s cognitive, interpersonal, and daily living skills.
Teaches You How To Perform Simple Functions
A stroke can impair several bodily functions. If the stroke happens in a specific area of the brain, it can affect your sense of balance. A stroke can also cause hearing and vision problems. With occupational therapy, you can undergo balance, vision, and hearing retraining. Your provider will monitor your condition over time and make changes to your treatment plan, while you perform the exercises to improve your abilities.
Likewise, a stroke can affect your ability to move your hands and wrists. You might need to relearn how to button up a shirt, grasp a spoon and fork, or write a letter. An occupational therapist will work with you as you relearn these skills step-by-step.
Your occupational therapist can also demonstrate how to perform everyday tasks without straining yourself. They will teach you how to get up from bed and sit down on the toilet in the most efficient manner.
Strengthens Your Body
If you suffered an accident or a sports injury, an occupational therapist may work with a physical therapist to help you get better. They can teach you exercises and stretches to reduce pain and improve strength.
If needed, they can recommend assistive devices, such as:
Improves Home Environment
Occupational therapists can also perform home safety evaluations. Since older adults spend a lot of time in their homes, it helps to have a trained eye to inspect it for hazards. They can observe how you move around the space. Then, they can make practical recommendations to improve your indoor environment.
For instance, your occupational therapist may recommend installing a handrail in your bathroom. They may also suggest reducing the height of your cabinets to prevent accidents. If you’re in a wheelchair, they may recommend installing ramps to improve mobility. Making these modifications can result in significant improvements to your everyday home life.
Sharpens Cognitive Abilities
An occupational therapy specialist understands that physical well-being is only one aspect of health. As we age, our cognitive abilities tend to decline. This downslide has ramifications not just on our quality of life but also on caregivers.
An occupational therapy specialist will evaluate a patient’s cognitive abilities and look for warning signs of age-related problems like memory loss. They can devise a treatment plan to improve memory and help caregivers address common issues. For example, they may engage patients in regular brain activities and teach caregivers how to de-escalate tense situations.
More importantly, an occupational therapist can teach stress management techniques and emotional regulation skills. These come in handy for major life transitions, such as when a patient loses the ability to do the most basic tasks after suffering a serious injury.
Occupational Therapy In Wooster, Ohio
If you would like to check if occupational therapy is a good option for you or your loved one, visit Wooster Community Hospital today. Our occupational health specialists will work hand-in-hand with you to develop or relearn skills to overcome everyday challenges. We make sure to equip you with the tools to perform daily activities with greater independence. You can trust our team to provide caring, compassionate, and effective care at every stage of life.