The Benefits of Occupational Therapy in Aged Care

occupational therapy in aged care

Ageing is a reality for everyone. As people grow older and enter into their 70s or 80s, they find it more and more difficult to perform tasks that they used to do mindlessly. A simple walk around the neighbourhood becomes exhausting. Cooking, cleaning, or gardening becomes challenging. Taking care of one’s personal hygiene becomes less and less personal as more assistance from others is required. When your elderly parent or grandparent starts experiencing this, it can stir up in them feelings of stress, frustration, and embarrassment.

The good thing is that they do not have to completely resign to the consequences of old age just yet – for as long as it can be helped. One of the ways that your senior loved one can gain back some control and independence is occupational therapy in aged care.

Learn all about occupational therapy and how it can improve the life of an elderly person.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy involves helping individuals perform daily tasks. Occupational therapists see individuals who face age or health-related hurdles in performing daily tasks; examples are the elderly and persons with disability. Daily living may be a breeze to others, but it is incredibly challenging to some, so occupational therapist help bridge that gap in ability. For aged care specifically, occupational therapists focus on the ability to recover.

Occupational therapy is not to be confused with physical therapy, although the two disciplines are closely related and often overlap. A physical therapist focuses on a specific impairment from a biomechanical perspective: realigning bones and joints, easing muscle pain, or improving mobility.

Benefits of Occupational Therapy in Aged Care

Providing holistic care

Occupational therapists offer a holistic approach to therapy: they work with a patient’s entire support team. In this case, your elderly loved one’s care and support team are your family, their aged care providers, and other medical professionals they see on a regular basis. Occupational therapists work closely with the support team to make sure that every person your parent or grandparent interacts with understands and assumes their role in the patient’s progress.

Since the goal of occupational therapy is to help an elderly person manage daily life better, everyone else who plays a part in their daily life can and should be involved in their therapy, too — not necessarily as professionals in the way that an occupational therapist or rehabilitation consultant is. Occupational therapists will encourage other individuals to provide support and care to the patient as well.

This improves and informs the work of the aged care provider who takes care of the patient. Aged care providers with patients undergoing occupational therapy often opt to leave the patients to do a task by themselves (while still keeping a close eye on them), only coming to the rescue when they see a need to. The patients’ doctors may also change their medication or recommended diet depending on the patients’ progress with occupational therapy – this varies from patient to patient, as the patient may also be managing a specific illness apart from being at an advanced age.

Finally, families come in to offer moral and emotional support to their loved one, which further encourages the patient to strive harder. Occupational therapy is, therefore, a shared journey.

Helping the elderly regain their independence

They may not express it in words all the time, but senior parents and grandparents constantly long to be taken back to the days when daily life was a breeze – when they could get up whenever they wanted to, do tasks and chores even on ‘autopilot’, and have as much fun as they wanted. Today, something as simple as chopping up vegetables to make dinner click here can be a daunting task for them.

This often leads to feelings of isolation, which can manifest in a range of ways. They may either be grumpier or more difficult to please, or they could fully repress these feelings, and the misery may only grow heavier and heavier. With how precious a person’s golden years are, families should endeavour to help their elderly loved ones regain skills to manage daily life. Performing a simple task may be nothing to a younger person, but it can mean so much to our elderly loved ones.

An occupational therapist will introduce exercises and rehabilitation techniques to make this happen. Aspects to be improved are fine and basic motor skills, strength, dexterity, and range of motion.

One popular focus is on hand therapy, as hands are a person’s most valuable tools for daily living. If you are browsing through occupational therapy in NSW, enquire about hand therapy services from your provider as well.

Recovering memory

Occupational therapy is not limited to regaining physical ability. Occupational therapists also perform memory rehabilitation exercises to improve the patient’s mental function. Examples are conducting memory-enhancing activities like puzzles or games or placing signs at strategic locations in the house to prevent the patient from getting lost.

The occupational therapist will also advise the aged care provider on how to deal with sudden changes in personality or mood. For patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a rehabilitation consultant will often recommend a program with special attention on memory and mental function.

Preventing falls and other accidents

With increased control and independence, patients can handle themselves better as they move around the house. Poor motor skills or lack of strength and dexterity can cause an elderly person to lose balance or grip as they walk up and down the staircase or even just walk around the house. To further prevent this from happening, you may also ask your occupational therapy NSW provider to assist you as you modify your parent’s home to include ramps, handrails, and other safety features.

If you are looking for experienced providers of occupational therapy in aged care, look no further than SR Occupational Therapy and Rehabilitation Consultants

We have served as providers of occupational and hand therapy in NSW for many years now, and as occupational therapists, we have fostered strong relationships with our clients. As such, we offer a personalised approach that is based on each client’s unique needs.

Why choose us?

  • We are flexible with travel.
  • We are registered with DVA, Medicare, and NDIS.
  • For hand therapy, we custom design splints, made to fit the patient.
  • We also sell equipment that can aid your parent in daily living.

Let us know how we can be of help. Call us at 02 9545 3590 or email us at info@srotrehab.com.au. You may also message us via our website’s enquiry form.