What is Occupational Therapy and Who Needs It

At Odd Fellows Home, we provide occupational therapy to patients in need. This therapy helps our patients to  tend to their own day to day personal activities. Daily living activities  include dressing, home making, light meal prep and feeding skills. There are many people who do not understand what occupational therapy is and who uses it (ages range from children to the elderly). We found this great article from The Fund to Promote Awareness of Occupational Therapy that discusses what occupational therapy is,and how it is used on the elderly.

What is Occupational Therapy?

The person who needs occupational therapy could be your father or mother facing changes because of aging. It could be your child, frustrated with being unable to do the seemingly simple things the other children at school can do. It could be you or your spouse coping with illness or the results of an accident. It could be anyone who, for whatever reason, can’t do the things in life they want or need to do.

Occupational therapy is therapy based on performing the meaningful activities of daily life (self-care skills, education, work, or social interaction), especially to enable or enhance participation in such activities despite impairments or limitations in physical or mental functioning.* Occupational therapy is for individuals of all ages-to improve skills that help them perform daily tasks at home and at school, at work and at play.

Occupational therapy practitioners are skilled professionals. Their education includes the study of human growth and development, with specific emphasis on the social, emotional and physical effects of illness and injury. They help individuals with illnesses, injuries, certain conditions or disabilities get on with their “occupations” of living.

Occupational therapy practitioners are unique in that they look at the whole picture when it comes to a person’s treatment- the individual’s abilities, the task to be performed, and the environment in which the task takes place.

In a team of healthcare specialists, a surgeon, for example, will operate on your injured knee. A physical therapist will devise a series of exercises to help the knee heal properly with a maximum range of motion. An occupational therapist will ask, “What do you need your knee to do? What activities do you want to do, so you can adapt (the way you walk, drive, move around at home, etc.) to that knee,” thereby determining the right treatment for keeping you mobile and an active participant in your own life.

Occupational Therapy for Older Adults

Nearly one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work with older adults. They perform many types of activities, employing many types of therapies, with the overriding goal of helping older adults regain or maintain a level of independence that will allow them to age in place for as long as possible. Occupational therapy has been proven effective for seniors living with various medical conditions or recovering from surgery. In addition to working with individuals to increase strength or regain important life supporting skills, occupational therapists work throughout a community, counseling families, local governments, and community groups to ensure that each is doing what it can to help older adults maintain their independence.

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