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Virtus Care - Occupational therapy for the elderly

Occupational Therapy for Elderly Adults


Occupational therapy has been gaining a lot of popularity over the past few years, as life expectancy and the prevalence of debilitating medical conditions increased.

This field of medicine revolves around facilitating the elderly’s lives by addressing memory issues, physical disabilities, and the incapacity to perform day-to-to activities.

In this article, we will cover the major benefits of occupational therapy, especially in the elderly population.

The benefits of occupational therapy for elderly adults

Being part of occupational therapy provides several benefits for the elderly to help them restore their physical and mental functions.

Here is a shortlist of some of the benefits you may expect:

Fall prevention

One of the most common issues that older people face is recurrent falls, which may put them at risk for sprains, muscle strains, and fractures.

By being part of an occupational therapy program, you can regain some muscular strength to reinforce your posture, while also working on your balance.

The therapist will try to identify the causes of the falls to create an individualized plan that targets your weaknesses and invest in your strengths.

For instance, if you have weak legs, the therapist will insist on low-intensity resistance training to help you support your weight.

On the other hand, if you have a strong upper body, installing grab bars around the house may be a good idea.

Memory recovery

Neurodegenerative diseases are highly predilected towards older individuals and can be a cause for memory loss.

For instance, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are common causes of memory loss that lead to difficulty identifying close relatives, locations, and even objects.

Over time, this condition gets worse, and with the absence of curative treatment, the only option of these patients is a comprehensive occupational therapy program to help them retain their memories and slow down the damage.

Physical rehabilitation

Undergoing surgical procedures to replace articulations and bones is common amongst the elderly.

Unfortunately, patients need extensive post-operative rehabilitation to get used to the prosthetic body part and restore full functionality.

For instance, patients who undergo hip replacement may need weeks or months of physical rehabilitation to be able to perform some activities.

Home safety

Aside from addressing the damage and trying to minimize its consequences, occupational therapists can also be part of the preventive plan.

After visiting the house of the patient, the therapist can make suggestions about helpful modifications that may reduce the risk of injury.

Examples may include installing safety devices (e.g., grab bars, walk-in bathtubs), removing certain objects, and even redecorating the house.

Takeaway message

Occupational therapy is a prospering field that offers a myriad of health benefits to patients from all age groups, especially the elderly who suffer from physical and/or mental disabilities.

Hopefully, this article helped you appreciate the importance of occupational therapy and how it can improve your life or that of a loved one.

For any questions about occupational therapy, please don’t hesitate to contact us for more information.

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