More and more seniors are choosing to age at home, in their familiar surroundings. There are many advantages in remaining at home, but someone who has suffered an illness or injury can find it harder to maintain their independence and normal routines. Occupational therapy at home can help to minimize risks for seniors at home, improve their quality of life, and provide greater peace of mind to their relatives. Many agencies that offer home services like home health care and hospice care also have trained occupational therapists who do home visits.
Aging at home in safety
America’s population is aging rapidly, and each day around 10,000 people cross the age of 65 years. Most people now hope to remain in their own homes as they age, in their familiar surroundings. Such independent living options allow them to remain connected to their friends, communities and regular routines. However, it’s not always safe for them to be at home on their own, especially if they have suffered an illness or stroke.
Illness, injuries and cognitive impairment can all make it harder and more risky for seniors to live at home. Occupational therapy can help them to recover from injuries and surgery, and to live safely at home. It helps them to perform their daily activities like taking showers, getting dressed, and walking around inside the home. It can help to improve their quality of life.
Occupational therapy for seniors
Occupational therapists devise a plan for each individual, based on their health history, medications, and the layout of the home. The goal is to make the patient comfortable in the home environment for independent living. The first step is a visit from the occupational therapist, who will do a physical and cognitive assessment.
Typically, a 60-day plan is created to help the patient meet the challenges of daily living. They learn how to manage their condition and medications, and how to negotiate their living environment. Care plans usually set short-term and long-term goals, and are approved by a doctor before beginning.
For many seniors, aging at home is preferable to moving to new and unfamiliar surroundings. Occupational therapy can help them to remain safely at home. Many agencies that specialize in skilled nursing services and hospice care also employ occupational therapists.