"Where we love is home - home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts." ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

How Can OT Help Me Age in Place

Occupational therapy practitioners look at people a person holistically and can adapt an environment so that it allows the client to function at his or her highest level of independence. “A lot of people can do home modifications,” says Carolyn Sithong,OTR/L, CAPS (AOTA, 2009). “Our ability as OTs helps us to focus uniquely on our client’s activities of daily living. This enables us to generate ideas for creating a unique environment that is totally centered on the client’s capabilities (AOTA, 2009).”
Occupational therapy promotes an active lifestyle for seniors to achieve independence and satisfaction in varying aspects of life. Self-care, leisure, work, community and domestic activities are just a few of the activities occupational therapists aid seniors in. By consulting with their families, caregivers and individuals, the occupational therapist will analyze and address the seniors’ capacity to perform and how it should be best addressed to provide the skills necessary to function in their community or chosen environment (AOTA, 2009).

Modifying the Home Environment

The truth is that many aging people face limitations on independence in their homes only because the design and arrangement of resources no longer meet their needs.
Enlist the help of an occupational therapist to aid you in identifying ways to improve safety in the home, to arrange resources, and to modify the environmnt to help compensate for disabilities individuals may be experiencing. Occupational therapists and occupational therapy assistants are specialists in helping people to deal with the effects of illness and injury on their ability to manage daily life.
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The therapist can also help you and the older individual explore implementing changes in ways that may make them more acceptable.

For example:
Consider offering financial assistance. Many older people are highly concerned about conserving resources for future needs for themselves or their spouses. Others have little experience with current costs and may fear being overcharge for materials and services.
Try building suggestions for change around "I" messages. "I worry about you falling on those dark basement stairs. As a birthday gift, we are going to make sure your stairs are safe and well-lighted."
The purpose of this fact sheet is not to offer medical advice. To discuss your particular problem or condition, contact your primary physician. Materials may be reproduced for purposes of education.

Outcomes:


Some of the potential outcomes have come from an occupational therapy program for the elders aging in place are increased physical health and functioning, increased mental health, increased social and community participation, improved quality of life and life satisfaction, and increased participation in meaningful occupations. (Matuska et al., 2003; Jackson et al., 1998).

Successful outcomes for this study will be measured through the provision of pre-intervention survey and a post-intervention survey discussing quality of life and occupational performance measures.


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