Understanding the Benefits of Occupational Therapy


Given that April is Occupational Therapy Month, it is a great time to highlight the benefits this type of therapy can provide to seniors. Occupational therapy researchers at the University of Southern California found that seniors who made manageable, healthy lifestyle changes and participated in fulfilling activities aged well. These seniors, who incorporated small changes into their routines at the guidance of occupational therapists, reported lower rates of depression and more satisfaction with their quality of life.

So what exactly is occupational therapy? According to the American Occupational Therapy Association, or AOTA, occupational therapists help people of all ages engage in the day-to-day activities that they need and want to do. They tailor programs to aid people in overcoming personal challenges. For example, a child with learning disabilities may need special assistance learning to fit into the public school system, and an elderly person recovering from a hip surgery or suffering from dementia may need help re-learning skills or adapting to the mental and physical changes they are going through.  An occupational therapist typically starts with an individualized evaluation to determine the needs and goals of the client. Once an evaluation is performed the OT can begin a customized intervention to help the client achieve their goals.

Aging seniors often face physical or mental setbacks that can really affect their confidence. An OT can help them overcome their limitations and fears and get them back to doing the things they’ve always loved to do, such as playing golf or using public transportation to get to where they need to go. Many experts see OT as a way to help an aging population that is living longer age better.  Do you know someone who has used an occupational therapist? We would love to hear about your experience!

For more information on occupational therapy, visit the American Occupational Therapy Association’s website.

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