How Occupational Therapy Can Benefit Your Loved One

One of the toughest parts of getting older is losing the ability to do things that we once considered easy. When you’re younger and mobile, you don’t even think twice about things like walking, climbing stairs, bending over to pick things up, and other similar ranges of motion. Many factors contribute to a lack of mobility, including aging, health issues and injuries. For older adults who find that their quality of life is being negatively impacted by mobility problems, occupational therapy may be the answer. 

What is occupational therapy?

You’ve likely heard of physical therapy, but occupational therapy is not as well-known. Occupational therapy is used to help people of all ages develop, recover, or maintain the skills they need to perform their daily activities. For example, if your loved one is diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, they may eventually require occupational therapy in order to continue being able to carry out daily tasks and activities, especially if they are elderly and live alone. 

How does occupational therapy work?

Occupational therapy is highly customized to each person and their needs, and includes the person’s support team of family members, caregivers, or teachers. This type of therapy teaches the person and their support team how to best navigate their daily tasks and activities, as well as the appropriate ways to assist when needed. 

What are some benefits of occupational therapy for older adults?

  • Helps with memory retention and rehabilitation. Loss of mobility isn’t always strictly a physical issue for seniors, because some medical conditions and injuries can cause issues with cognitive function as well. Being unable to remember how to do your daily tasks can be hugely frustrating, especially for older adults who live alone. 
  • Can help prevent falls. Falls are a huge hazard for seniors who live independently, and many families constantly worry that their loved one may fall and suffer a serious injury. Occupational therapy works to strengthen stabilizing muscles, improve balance, and teach other important fall prevention methods.
  • Occupational therapists can make home modifications for a safer environment. For older adults who have lived in their homes for decades, there may be parts of their homes that simply are not safe anymore. Potential hazards include steep staircases, slippery floors especially in the bathroom, rugs that gather and bunch under foot, and sharp edges and corners.

Independent lifestyles for seniors in NJ

If you’re considering assisted living for your senior loved one, you’re likely worried about encountering resistance from them when you suggest it. Many older adults fear losing their independence and their sense of self, but at UMC at Collingswood, our assisted independent living (CCRC) community allows residents to continue living independently, while also having around the clock access to all types of care they need. 

We’ve found that occupational therapy greatly benefits our assisted living community. Just because your loved one moves into assisted living doesn’t mean they become totally reliant upon the associates there. Instead, we encourage all of our residents to remain as independent as possible for as long as it’s safe. Occupational therapists help our residents develop the skills necessary to continue their daily tasks and activities, while also enabling them to pursue new activities and interests. 

For more information about UMC at Collingswood, or if you have any questions, please contact our team today.