Help your parent age-in-place with Occupational Therapy

Updated: May 23, 2018

According to the LIEN Foundation, nearly 75% of the elderly prefer to age-in-place. However, as our parents age, there is a tendency for them to develop health conditions that limit their mobility and independence, making ageing-in-place difficult, or even impossible.

According to the Journal of Aging Research, occupational therapists play a vital role in helping people maintain or regain independence through support, training and resources. In this article, we will explore four common health conditions among the elderly, and how occupational therapy makes it possible for them to age-in-place.

A. Dementia

Dementia is a condition that affects the brain and its ability to function, leading to symptoms such as memory loss, impaired judgement, disorientation and behavioural changes. An occupational therapist can help dementia patients to age-in-place by:

1. Providing a home assessment and modification plan

An occupational therapist may suggest placing important items, such as clocks and light switches, in prominent places. This helps the dementia patient carry out simple daily tasks while relying on caretakers.

2. Delay the effects of dementia

An occupational therapist may use mobile applications, such as e-journals, e-calendars, and word puzzles, to stimulate their brain and maintain mental acuity. This helps them stay mentally active, delaying the effects of dementia.

3. Re-training to carry out self-care tasks

Dementia patients may forget how to carry out activities of daily living that are required for self-care. An occupational therapist assists in re-learning these tasks, in the process, helping the patient to be independent.

B. Arthritis

Arthritis is a condition that causes pain and inflammation in the joints. Simple daily tasks, such as turning a key or using a kitchen knife, can become difficult and painful for arthritis patients. An occupational therapist can help arthritis patients age-in-place by:

1. Providing a home assessment and modification plan

An occupational therapist may recommend placing frequently used items at easily accessible places, to avoid over-exertion on the joints. Simple modifications such as installing grab bars provide additional physical support for the elderly.

2. Teaching them how to properly care for their joints

A good balance between rest and exercise is vital for arthritis patients. An occupational therapist may help arthritis patients plan their daily routines to incorporate in sufficient rest periods. This allows them to keep them fit and active without overworking their joints.

C. Stroke

The affected area of the brain loses its ability to control certain movements after a stroke, resulting in an inability to perform daily tasks. An occupational therapist can help stroke patients age-in-place by:

1. Providing a home assessment and modification plan

Home modifications may be recommended to help stroke patients move around the home with greater ease and support. Examples include non-slip floors, shower seats, and grab bars.

2. Re-training their sensory and motor skills

A stroke impairs one’s sense of balance and mobility, affecting the ability to carry our basic movements. An occupational therapist can help a stroke patient re-learn simple tasks, such as reaching for objects, through prescribed exercises and activities.

D. Reduced Vision

Reduced vision is common among the elderly, especially those with health conditions such as stroke, cataract and diabetes. Reduced vision makes performing daily tasks difficult as it impedes movement. An occupational therapist helps elderly with reduced vision age-in-place by:

1. Providing a home assessment and modification plan

Reduced vision makes it difficult for the elderly to move around the house safely and independently. Simple modifications such as clearing the walkway and improving room lighting help them to have greater awareness of the surroundings at home.

2. Prescribing assistive devices

An occupational therapist may prescribe mobility aids, such as walking canes, to prevent falls resulting from poor vision. They may also prescribe low vision aids, such as liquid level sensors and magnification devices, to help the elderly carry out their daily tasks independently.

Help your parent age-in-place comfortably and independently.
Call 626-515-00 to arrange a session with an occupational therapist at just $150 today!

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