When caring for your senior loved one, you may notice that as they age, they struggle more with eating, getting dressed and other daily activities. You may have heard your loved one’s doctor talk about occupational therapy, and they may recommend it for your loved one.
What is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational therapy is designed to enable people to enhance their abilities in order to maintain independence in daily activities. Occupational therapists often work with patients that have a physical or mental health problem that prevents them from being fully functional. Occupational therapists may work in health care settings, but they are also available to come to your home to work with your loved one.
How Do I Decide Whether My Loved One Needs an Occupational Therapist?
Your loved one should be assessed by an occupational therapist if they have been hospitalized or has lost abilities to fully function. This assessment should include the caregiver to talk about a treatment program that will maximize the level of functional ability that your loved one can achieve.
The occupational therapist should provide you with a list of recommendations, which may include the use of adaptive or assistive equipment for your loved one to use at home. This equipment may be available through the hospital, or you may need to purchase it privately.
What Can I Expect From Occupational Therapy?
There are many tasks an occupational therapist can help your loved one to accomplish. They might, for instance, help a patient struggling with arthritis learn to do tasks in a way that protect the joints and conserves energy. Another specific task is helping someone with a limited range of movement learn stretching exercises and how to use adaptive equipment.
For a patient that has limited abilities following a stroke, for example, the occupational therapist may help them learn to eat with specialized utensils, and provide other adaptive equipment for getting dressed.
Does an Occupational Therapist Help With Dementia?
Yes, occupational therapists can help your loved one with dementia by training them in activities like bathing, dressing and eating, but they can do even more. Occupational therapists can provide resources for protecting against the worsening of dementia through leisure activities that allow for intellectual and social stimulation.
Occupational Therapists Help You, Too
If you are considering whether to employ an occupational therapist for your loved one, don’t forget to examine the potential impact on your own well-being, too. If your loved one is needing assistance in getting dressed and eating, you may find yourself feeling burned out and exhausted. An occupational therapist can prevent caregiver burnout by providing your loved one with the tools and training that they need to remain independent in some of their daily activities.
If you are considering occupational therapy for your loved one, please call Freudenthal Home Health (816-676-8050) with your questions and we will help you get occupational therapy setup for your loved one. We provide support for families that want to keep their loved ones in the comfort of their own home.