Improving Your Life as a Senior: 7 Benefits of Occupational Therapy

By on December 6, 2019
Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy can be prescribed during any stage of life to help people recover, maintain, or develop the skills required to perform everyday activities. These services can be uniquely beneficial to aged populations. Read on to find out about just seven of the many benefits of occupational therapy for seniors.

Overcome Everyday Challenges

Occupational therapists can teach their clients techniques for making daily living tasks easier. They may prescribe range-of-motion exercises or teach new ways of performing normal tasks. Those looking for help for loved ones who are suffering from dementia can also see services from to learn how occupational therapy can be incorporated into dementia care plans.

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Increased Range of Motion

Occupational therapists often prescribe a range of motion exercises. Doing these exercises increases patients’ range of motion and mobility while decreasing their pain and stiffness. Those who suffer from arthritis often report substantial improvements after working with an occupational therapist and learning exercises that can reduce their pain and increase their ranges of motion.

Improve Independence

Seniors living at home can work with an occupational therapist to figure out what modifications need to be made for them to get around easier. Those living in assisted living or senior housing can learn how to use mobility aids like grab bars and walk-in bathtubs so they can bathe themselves without outside help. Either way, the result will be increased independence and peace of mind.

Support for Memory Loss

Memory loss affects around 40% of Americans over the age of 65 and in some cases, it can progress to dementia. While there is no cure for dementia, occupational therapists can help patients compensate for memory loss and develop new strategies for dealing with it. Occupational therapists can also teach family caregivers how to manage their loved ones’ dementia-related memory loss and personality changes.

Help with Vision Loss

Occupational therapists can help patients who are struggling with any form of degenerative vision loss make changes around their homes that will make life easier. This may include color-coding with bright labels or removing objects that could pose fall hazards.

Help Coping with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain can have a dramatic negative impact on elderly Americans’ abilities to live fulfilling and independent lives. Occupational therapists can help patients develop adaptive ways of performing daily activities that compensate for chronic pain. They often focus on areas like safe body mechanics, ergonomics, muscle tension reduction, and neuromuscular re-education in addition to providing proactive pain control.

Help with Communication

Occupational therapists can also help family caregivers by keeping them informed about their loved ones’ conditions, introducing them to new techniques that could help them around the home, and encouraging them to adopt a balanced lifestyle in which their own needs are also met. Occupational therapists working with patients in assisted living or skilled nursing facilities may still request meetings with family members to keep them informed.

The Bottom Line

Occupational therapists do more than just perform evaluations and teach patients new exercises, although those are certainly important aspects of providing care for aging loved ones. They also help with everything from memory care to developing an adaptive plan to compensate for vision loss, mobility impairment, and other age-related issues. Family members whose loved ones are having trouble performing daily activities because of pain, confusion, or decreased range of motion can get them the help they need by scheduling an initial evaluation with an occupational therapist.


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Improving Your Life as a Senior: 7 Benefits of Occupational Therapy