What Does an Occupational Therapist Do in Aged Care?

28 Mar, 2022

As people age, they may experience a decline in their physical abilities. This can make performing everyday activities difficult and leave older adults feeling isolated and frustrated. That’s where occupational therapy can help.

 

The Role of Occupational Therapists in Aged Care

There are many things an OT can do to help an ageing patient. Here are some of the most common:

1. Assessing a Senior’s Ability to Perform ADLs

When working with seniors, one of the first things an OT will do is assess their ability to perform everyday activities or Activities of Daily Living. This includes tasks such as bathing, dressing, cooking, and cleaning.

Based on the results of the assessment, the OT will create a customised care plan that can help improve the patient’s ability to perform everyday tasks. This may include exercises, assistive devices, and more.

2. Helping with Mobility

It’s a known fact that as we age, our mobility decreases. This can make it difficult to get around, both at home and in the community. OTs can help seniors regain or maintain their mobility by designing custom exercise programs, providing mobility aids, and teaching patients how to navigate their environment safely.

3. Developing and Implementing Customised Treatment Plans

OTs work with seniors on a one-on-one basis, enabling them to develop customised treatment plans that address the patient’s specific needs. This may include referrals to other therapies such as speech and physical therapy, as well as lifestyle modifications.

4. Ergonomic Education

Musculoskeletal issues such as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, and back pain, are synonymous to ageing. Even the smallest movements uncomfortable or painful. Luckily, an OT can help alleviate these issues by providing ergonomic education. This includes teaching seniors how to adjust their home environments to make everyday tasks easier and exercises to help relieve pain.

Ergonomic Education in aged care | Gen Physio
5. Managing Overwhelm

As we get older, it’s normal to feel overwhelmed at times. This can be due to changes in our physical abilities, living situation, or simply because there’s so much on our plate. An OT can help seniors manage this overwhelm by providing coping mechanisms and strategies.

6. Home Modifications

As mentioned before, our physical abilities decline as we age, which means your loved one may need some home modifications to make their home more accessible. An OT can help assess the home and make recommendations for changes that will make it easier for the senior to live there independently. This may include installing grab bars in the bathroom, widening doorways, or adding a wheelchair ramp.

Here are more things occupational therapists can do in aged care:

  • Creating customised adaptive equipment and teaching older adults how to use them
  • Providing mental stimulation
  • Providing therapeutic exercises
  • Encouraging social and recreational activities

 

The Bottom Line

Occupational therapy is an important part of aged care and can help older adults with various challenges. If you are considering engaging an OT for your loved one, do not hesitate to reach out to Gen Physio. Our team of experienced therapists can help assess your loved one’s needs and create a care plan that’ll help improve their independence, safety, and quality of life. Contact us today to book our mobile occupational therapy service!

 

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