Aging is a physiologically inevitable process with chronological, social and psychological dimensions. Due to the physiological and physical changes that occur in the elderly in this process, some activities of the individuals are restricted or prevented from realizing these activities. These changes cause individuals to feel unhappy and especially affect their quality of life in terms of their health.
In the old age period, the negativity of individual characteristics (poor socio‐economic situation, low education level, gender, etc.), functional disorder, decrease in level of daily living activity, decrease in mobility, falling anxiety due to movement and vision problems, sleep problems, cognitive changes, other conditions and situations that cause disability lead to decrease in quality of life and social participation. The quality of life for the elderly in occupational therapy and social participation of examining the factors influencing factors within the framework of a holistic approach to people and the environment are examined.
Overcome the Struggles of Everyday Life
A big part of an occupational therapist’s job is to help their patients overcome the struggles
of everyday life.
For many elderly people, partaking in normal daily activities (such as walking, eating, etc)
can be a huge, exhausting task. Oftentimes, they will become frustrated and give up halfway.
And, when they can’t perform basic daily tasks, they’re also often less inclined to attempt
to participate in other aspects of life, such as social gatherings, family outings, and
hobbies. This can quickly lead to feelings of depression and isolation.
And this is why the role of an occupational therapist is so important. Occupational
therapists work with elderly patients and teach them exercise and rehabilitation
techniques that make completing daily tasks, such as dressing, eating, and bathing, much easier.
Occupational therapists help patients improve their fine and basic motor skills, strength, dexterity, and their range of motion. Even small improvements in these areas can make all the difference when it comes to completing an everyday task.
While falls may seem like a minor issue, these statistics highlight just how dangerous it can be for an elderly person to fall.
The thought of your parents falling without anyone around to help them is very scary.
Luckily, you can put your mind at ease by enrolling your parents in occupational therapy.
Occupational therapists are well aware of the prevalence of falls among elderly patients.
Therefore, therapists teach their patients methods that can prevent falls. They also teach them balancing and muscle-building exercises that help keep their bodies strong and alert for years to come.
When people think about occupational therapy, they mostly think about the physical
benefits it provides. However, occupational therapy provides a number of mental benefits
When occupational therapists first meet with their patients, they will evaluate their
cognitive abilities as well as their physical abilities.
For example, if your elderly parent has dementia, their occupational therapist will assess
their areas of strength and weakness, and then they will develop a care plan that involves
maintaining the strong areas and strengthening the weak areas.
All elderly people suffer from some degree of memory loss. Here are some of the different ways occupational therapists help elderly patients regain their memory skills:
- Engaging in memory-enhancing activities, such as puzzles, crossword puzzles, or matching games
- Placing stop signs on front doors or gates for elderly patients who get easily disoriented and wander
- Teaching caregivers non-defensive techniques to help them deal with patients who experience sudden personality changes
- Teaching caregivers techniques that won’t further confuse the patient’s memory, such as placing out a limited number of clothing options in case their patient forgets what season it is.
These are just a few examples of ways an occupational therapist can help improve a patient’s memory and make coping with memory loss easier.
While we go through many transitions throughout our life, a majority of the tough ones
happens when we are older.
Elderly people have to go through tough transitions like retirement, widowhood, and
relocation. Many elderly people also have to say goodbye to a large number of friends who
pass before they do.
All of these transitions can be tough to deal with. And, if your parent does not have a
partner, these transitions can make them feel particularly alone.
Occupational therapists can help elderly parents deal with these big life transitions by
educating them on healthy coping skills.
Recommendation for Patients With Dementia
It is estimated that 1 in 10 men and 1 in 6 women who live past the age of 55 will develop
dementia in their lifetime.
Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to stop the progression of dementia once it’s
However, that doesn’t mean that occupational therapists can’t help patients with dementia
live a better life. If your elderly parent suffers from dementia, their OT can provide them
with recommendations that will make life a little easier.
For example, they may suggest eating certain foods with pleasing textures in case eating becomes difficult. Or, they may suggest listening to certain types of soothing music or stretching exercises to help eliminate pain.
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