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What Are the Benefits of Occupational Therapy in Nursing Homes?

Senior reaping occupational therapy benefits with caregiver in occupational therapy

Occupational therapy (OT) benefits seniors experiencing physical or cognitive challenges impacting their abilities to perform everyday tasks. OT is often prescribed due to an illness, injury, surgery, or hospital stay. However, OT is also recommended for seniors experiencing age-related declines that impact their functioning. Occupational therapy benefits may significantly improve the lives of older adults in assisted living.

At Buckner Villas, we offer numerous services to ensure our residents are happy, healthy, and living independently to their highest ability. Our senior occupational therapy program helps residents maintain or regain independence by teaching them the skills to complete everyday tasks. Often, these skills are variations of standard approaches designed to accommodate physical or cognitive challenges. Call 512.580.9882 or contact us online to learn more.  

Signs You or a Loved One May Need Occupational Therapy 

Most people understand physical therapy (PT) but need clarification on occupational therapy. OT is a treatment process that helps people at all stages of life develop, recover, or maintain the skills needed to perform daily activities. These activities, or occupations, are classified into two categories: activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs). ADLs are required for survival (i.e., eating, grooming, dressing, toileting), while IADLs are essential for independent living (i.e. housekeeping, transportation, meal preparation, and managing medications). 

Difficulty managing ADLs and IADLs is a significant sign of the need for a senior occupational therapy program. Other indicators include the following: 

  • Chronic pain – OT can address chronic pain’s physical and psychological effects, teach pain management strategies, and reduce reliance on pain medications. 
  • Recent injury or illness – OT helps seniors regain strength, balance, mobility, and independence following illness or injury. 
  • Memory issues – OT helps seniors develop new strategies to cope with the effects of memory loss or cognitive decline.  
  • Balance issues – OT employs numerous approaches to help seniors improve their balance to reduce the risk of falls. 
  • Changes in hearing or vision – Hearing and vision loss are typical in seniors. OT helps them adapt to these changes and develop skills and techniques to compensate.  

The types of OT delivered vary greatly on individual needs. For example, a senior with Alzheimer’s will receive vastly different OT than a senior recovering from a broken hip. No matter the type, an occupational therapist’s job is to help seniors overcome their everyday struggles and help them achieve goals.  

Recognizing the Benefits of Senior Occupational Therapy 

Occupational therapy is a holistic approach that addresses the physical, psychological, environmental, and social factors impacting a senior’s daily functioning. For many seniors, everyday activities, such as dressing, eating, and walking, can be exhausting and overwhelming. In addition to the physical challenges of these tasks, seniors can experience frustration and embarrassment that make them want to give up and isolate themselves.  

One of the most significant advantages of senior occupational therapy is that it can allow seniors to lead fulfilling lives despite physical and cognitive changes. OT gives them the tools to adapt to these changes. Other crucial benefits of senior occupational therapy include the following: 

  • Preventing new or return hospital stays 
  • Regaining independence 
  • Fall prevention 
  • Development of memory aids 
  • Improving sleep/wake schedule 
  • Improving or accommodating declines in vision or hearing 
  • Implementing home modifications for safety 
  • Supporting life transitions with healthy coping skills 
  • Providing education and assistance to caregivers 
  • Making recommendations for seniors with dementia 

In sum, OT can provide seniors with a better outlook by fostering the confidence and determination to overcome everyday struggles and make the most out of their retirement years. Additionally, occupational therapists often become confidants as seniors may feel more comfortable talking with them than with friends or family members about specific struggles.  

Discover the Advantages of Senior Occupational Therapy at Buckner Villas 

At Buckner Villas, we understand the challenges many seniors face as they age and offer a full spectrum of services to help our residents lead their best lives. Contact our team at 512.580.9882 or online to discover the many advantages of senior occupational therapy.