Learn & Grow/Rehabilitation/The Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

The Benefits of Occupational Therapy for Seniors

If you suffer from a decline in range of motion, it can have a dramatic impact on your daily life. Your range of motion is a measure of how well the muscles in your hips, knees, and shoulders can move. Not only can a decline in range of motion affect your mobility, it can also prevent you from completing even the simplest daily activities, including self-care tasks, housekeeping chores, and even social activities.  Maybe it takes you longer to bend down and pick something up off the floor. Perhaps you realize you can no longer easily reach the highest shelf in your kitchen.

One of the easiest ways to get ahead of and treat any range of motion issues is to work with an occupational therapist. Through goal setting and guided exercises, occupational therapy can help seniors regain a sense of independence and maintain their range of motion as best as possible.

Below, we’re outlining the definition and key benefits of occupational therapy for seniors, including why it can be beneficial to choose services like these from a senior living community where occupational therapy is available as part of the retirement community’s service offerings.

What Is Occupational Therapy for Seniors?

You’ve probably heard of physical therapy. Occupational therapy is not all that different, with one key exception. While senior physical therapy is limited to a specific movement of the body, occupational therapy takes a more holistic approach, focusing on your ability to perform daily activities.

An occupational therapist evaluates your current level of function and performs an activity analysis to determine how best to address your needs. By tailoring the therapy to your specific circumstances, the occupational therapist can develop activity modifications and compensatory techniques to help you perform daily activities at your greatest level of independence.

You would be involved in identifying and setting the goals for your therapy. Treatment plans can include therapeutic activities and exercise, orthotics, joint protection and energy modification, sensory re-education, mirror therapy, pain and scar management, work conditioning and training in activities of daily living, and adaptive or assistive devices.

Occupational Therapy Activities for Seniors by Motion Type

Freedom is essential to independent living — literally and figuratively. You need to be able to move around freely and perform activities of daily living on your own. That is why taking steps to improve or maintain a sufficient range of motion is so important to your health. At many senior living communities, occupational therapists work with residents to empower them and help them retain their independent lifestyles. Here are just a few of the occupational therapy interventions you may work through with a therapist based on your unique mobility goals.

Hip Range of Motion

If the range of motion in your hips is impaired or limited, an occupational therapist may recommend lower body dressing, tub transfers, navigation of steps, neuromuscular reeducation or positioning (if wheelchair- or bed-bound). You want to keep your hips as loose and flexible as possible. After all, they are the center of movement for your body. Improving or maintaining the range of motion in your hips can enable you to perform a variety of daily tasks.

Knee Range of Motion

You need to be able to bend and straighten your knees to perform any number of activities, from riding a bicycle to taking a stroll outside. Consider working with an occupational therapist if you are experiencing limited or impaired movement in your knees. They may develop a plan that includes lower body dressing, navigation of steps, neuromuscular reeducation, positioning (if wheelchair- or bed-bound) and performance of functional transfers to the toilet, tub or shower.

Shoulder Range of Motion

Think about how much you use your shoulders every day, often for tasks as simple as picking something up off the floor or bringing something down from a shelf. Limited range of motion in your shoulders can make daily life difficult. To help ensure you have sufficient range of motion in your shoulders, an occupational therapist may suggest a variety of treatments, including upper body dressing, upper body bathing, exercises with dowels, pulleys and a wall ladder, neuromuscular reeducation or neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES).

Regaining Senior Independence Through Occupational Therapy at Claridge Court

The health and well-being of our residents is an essential aspect of independent living at Claridge Court. We want to provide residents with the health services they need to live a fulfilling, independent life. That’s why we have occupational therapists on our team who can help residents measure their range of motion and develop a plan that ensures they’ll be able to perform the tasks of daily living.

If you are experiencing range of motion issues that are impacting your ability to complete daily activities, talk to the occupational therapy team at Claridge Court to see if they can help improve your mobility for enhanced functioning in your everyday life.

If you’d like to get more information on Claridge Court Health Services or about our community, fill out the form below or call us at 913-383-2085.

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