5 Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Occupational therapy aims to help clients re-engage with life activities. Their focus is often on the activities that are meaningful and bring joy.  Occupational therapists work with many different populations that have different therapy goals. For seniors, occupational therapists can provide a significant amount of support. In this blog post, we discuss the 5 key benefits of providing occupational therapy for seniors. 

1. Accident Prevention

Occupational therapists often work with senior clients on ways to prevent falling and reinjuring themselves by working on cognitive skills, such as executive functioning, that help senior clients plan and execute movements more carefully. While movement planning seems like a goal of physical therapy, occupational therapists are trained to address the cognitive and psychological processes behind the movement. As part of a client’s care team, occupational therapists often work together with physical therapists to help bridge the gap between cognitive functioning and motor behavior. By building muscle and balance by strategic exercises, OTs and PTs can help their clients build strong bodies and stay stable when moving. 

2. Saving Time and Optimizing Opportunities for Success

Occupational therapists often work with senior clients on ways to prevent falling and reinjuring themselves by working on cognitive skills, such as executive functioning, that help senior clients plan and execute movements more carefully. While movement planning seems like a goal of physical therapy, occupational therapists are trained to address the cognitive and psychological processes behind the movement. As part of a client’s care team, occupational therapists often work together with physical therapists to help bridge the gap between cognitive functioning and motor behavior. By building muscle and balance by strategic exercises, OTs and PTs can help their clients build strong bodies and stay stable when moving. 

3. Self Advocacy

Self-advocacy is needed when someone needs modifications for a work environment or for accessing services. Many seniors have difficulty advocating for themselves as they begin to lose confidence in their ability to function independently. Occupational therapists can help their clients learn skills to not only function independently, but also to build confidence and self-advocate. OT’s can help their senior clients practice self-advocacy skills by creating situations that allow their client to practice speaking up, writing requests, and utilizing social services to get the things that they need. In this way, occupational therapists can act as life coaches. 

4. Increased Problem Solving and Less Giving Up

It is easy to encounter a problem and become discouraged. For seniors, some tasks may seem too overwhelming to attempt on their own. This is where occupational therapists can help. Showing their clients that they can do the once daunting task, not only teaches them problem solving skills but practices their problem solving skills. By doing this occupational therapists also help their emotional and cognitive confidence. Over time their clients learn that they can face problems head on instead of giving up. 

5. Improved Quality of Life

Independence and accomplishing simple tasks are more important than most people think. When we cannot do the things we want to do, it impacts not only how we feel about ourselves but our quality of life. Occupational therapists work with clients to help build the skills needed to participate in meaningful activities. Quality of life is made up of community and engagement with life. By working with an occupational therapist, senior clients can learn ways to stay engaged with their communities and get access to assistive resources needed. When a person ages to a point that they are in need of additional modifications, occupational therapists can help find them. While also providing education to help their clients adjust to the different challenges of life and not feel discouraged about the natural process of aging.

Conclusion

Occupational therapists touch upon a variety of areas of life. For senior citizens, occupational therapists play an important role in the aging process as new challenges arise with age.  By providing occupational therapy, occupational therapists provide the opportunity for their clients to empower themselves, accept changes, and learn ways to stay active and engaged in life thus leading to improved satisfaction with their quality of life.

Dustin Luchmee

Dustin is HappyNeuron Pro's Product Specialist. With research experience in stroke, Dustin learned how a stroke can change someone's life. He also learned how different kinds of therapists can work together to help a person get better. He is passionate about neuro-rehabilitation and finding the active ingredients for effective therapy.

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