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When You Might Need Occupational Therapy

OT instructing woman on how to use a walkerOccupational therapy (OT) focuses on educating and treating the whole patient rather than treating a particular injury, ailment, or disability. Occupational therapy can provide patients with a variety of useful skills, including getting in and out of bed; walking safely through different parts of the home, and performing basic household tasks like cleaning and cooking. Therapy can also help assess the patient’s environment as well to make sure everything is safe and helpful.

Instances where you may need occupational therapy include:

  • A change in health condition. Recent major surgery, significant illness or mobility changes can create a need to learn different ways to get around one’s home or new ways to be safer. Some conditions such as a stroke or brain injury could also limit some abilities and skills. An occupational therapist can help assess what skills still can be performed or provide training for new ones.
  • OT helping woman with bathtub modificationsFalls/balance issues. If someone has balance and mobility issues they can be susceptible to falls that could be devastating, even fatal. An occupational therapist can provide guidance on ways to move around better, suggest tools to help reduce falls, or find ways to improve safety in one’s home, such as railings or bars.
  • Concerns about independence. If someone is beginning to wonder if they have the skills to remain on their own, occupational therapy could be a good way to make sure a person has what it takes to continue to do well on their own instead of having to relocate. Even minor home adjustments can have the biggest impact on the mobility of a senior homeowner, preventing unnecessary hospitalizations and nursing facility admission.
  • Lack of interest/memory problems. Occupational therapy doesn’t just teach physical skills but mental ones as well. Occupational therapists can offer various exercises to help memory or different ways to keep track of different tasks. Training and education on sensory strategies throughout the day can also help an individual feel calmer and regulated.
  • OT helping woman with ovenDealing with the effects of a chronic condition.An occupational therapist will teach exercises to address any weakness or muscle imbalance.  An OT will address specific trouble areas and can suggest helpful equipment for completion of tasks, such as cooking independently and with less pain. They can also provide training in the use of assistive devices, including raised toilet seats, shower chairs or wheelchairs.

If you or a loved one need occupational therapy services or more information contact the Occupational Therapy Institute (OTI) today.