All About MN Outdoor Journal

Occupational Therapy A Holistic Approach To Elder Care

Nov 10

Occupational therapy, or OT, helps people perform activities that are important to them and can improve their quality of life. Occupational therapy to improve daily living is a holistic approach that takes into account the physical, psychological and social aspects of an individual. It is an alternative to traditional medicine and can be used for patients recovering from illness, injury or aging. Occupational therapy practitioners have diverse backgrounds and can work in many settings including hospitals, private practice, senior homes, assisted living facilities (ALFs) and even schools.

A good occupational therapist can help you perform daily tasks safely and independently if your health condition has affected your movements or impaired your hand-eye coordination or mobility. They can train you to use adaptive equipment like splints, walkers and wheelchairs. They can recommend home safety improvements such as removing rugs that might trip you or suggesting that you move furniture to reduce your risk of falls. They can also teach you to modify your activities so that you can handle them more easily, for example teaching you how to use a grab bar to assist with getting in and out of the bathtub.

An OT can help you participate in everyday activities that are meaningful to you, whether it’s eating, bathing, driving and shopping or playing with friends and family. It’s an individualized approach that takes into account your skills and abilities, your goals and needs, as well as your environment. This can help you manage your symptoms and prevent recurrence of symptoms or injury.

When choosing an OT for yourself or your loved one, make sure they have the appropriate qualifications. Ask for references from family and friends, or check with your local hospital or community organization to see if they can provide recommendations. You should also ensure that the OT has an OTR (occupational therapist) or COTA (occupational therapy assistant) credential, and that they are licensed by your state’s regulatory board.

Unlike doctors, who often focus on disease-specific treatments, an occupational therapist can offer a more holistic approach to a person’s health and wellness. They will have studied a range of subjects, from biological science and psychology to physics and anatomy, which allows them to consider the whole person and their unique contexts. They are also required to complete a demanding national certification exam, which Pacific graduates pass at above the national average.

In addition to their work with older adults, OTs can help children and teenagers, as well as people who are recovering from birth defects, burns, stroke, arthritis, traumatic brain injury or other injuries and illnesses. Occupational therapy can help these individuals to live life to the fullest, enjoy their independence and slow mental decline. The profession continues to evolve, with more research and new approaches being developed to support the health of all people. As a result, OTs are becoming recognized as leaders and influencers in healthcare. They are working to change policies, environments and complex systems for the better.

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