Occupational therapy (OT) refers to a healthcare intervention involving the use of everyday exercises and activities. It helps people, most especially children, with physical, cognitive, or sensory problems so they can be independent.
Occupational therapy aids in social and emotional adjustments following an illness or injury among adults. For older adults, occupational therapists help them overcome physical challenges by teaching self-care skills. That being said, is occupational therapy still effective for adults?
Here’s how OT can still be effective for adults:
With The Right Approach
When it comes to occupational therapy, the best approach is a combination of outcome-based theories and fun, personalized activities proven to improve functioning in life, the reestablishment of health, and better people engagement. A good occupational therapy provider, such as Fired Up People, offers a wide array of fun activities to keep you engaged to the point that you don’t even realize you’re undergoing therapy.
A holistic approach that occupational therapists usually employ is functional rehabilitation, which is described as the process of supporting a client return to their previous participation level of functioning or daily activities.
With The Right Assessment
With the help of an occupational therapist, adults can maximize their lives early on. But for occupational therapy to be successful, proper assessment, such as assessing musculoskeletal disorders, should be carried out. The individual’s previous level of functioning takes into account the capabilities before an accident, illness, or injury, ascertained through history taking and conversation.
Also, the current abilities and prognosis of the client are considered to help the occupational therapist set rehabilitation goals. To do this, a functional assessment is performed, which includes the following:
- Taking accurate client history.
- Reviewing medical records.
- Asking the client about activities they consider important.
- Setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely) goals to guide intervention and rehabilitation.
- Analyzing the client while completing activities of daily living (ADL) such as motor control, balance, and coordination, orientation to the task, planning skills, sequencing of the task, level of fatigue during activities, and safety awareness.
By Identifying Influencing Factors
It’s crucial to determine the influencing factors that may affect the level of functioning among adults that need occupational therapy. Adults, most especially women, can be severely impacted by different health tasks, such as child-rearing, caring for others, health management and maintenance, communication management, and even spiritual and religious activities.
Experts have agreed that the role of occupational therapy in women’s health is important, including the following:
- Understanding how work, leisure, education, social participation, and rest and sleep interplay with a woman’s level of functioning.
- Taking into consideration the environment of an individual when creating a holistic approach to a functional intervention that’s client-centered.
- Implementing a biopsychosocial approach that impacts meaningful progress in the outcomes of the client’s function and overall quality of life. This is achieved with increased awareness of biopsychosocial factors when creating a plan of care. A biopsychosocial approach unifies the value of intervention by considering physical, psychological, and sociocultural factors.
By Making Your Home Safer
Older adults highly benefit from the services of an occupational therapist by ensuring a safer home to stay, most especially when newly moved. Figuring out how to get the most efficient use of a living space can be challenging, which involves determining the right features and furnishings that can provide greater mobility, ease-of-use, comfort, and safety.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) explains how occupational therapy can help make your home safer, most especially for older adults:
- Occupational therapists work with individuals, families, and other significant people to identify solutions to achieve your desired goals. An occupational therapist will also make recommendations to enhance safety and function in the home environment.
- Occupational therapists have training and experience in basic home assessments, including certifications such as Specialty Certification in Environmental Modifications (SCEM) under the supervision of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
- An occupational therapist recommends changes to increase the safety inside the home by identifying equipment, techniques, and furnishings that can help with daily activities, such as ergonomically optimizing a desk to prevent arm aches. To meet the safety requirements of all family members, most especially older adults, there needs to be a collaboration among family members and a home builder or contractor.
- Occupational therapy can help adults perform essential activities easier or possible by working with clients after equipment modifications or first-time use of specialized products.
Adults still find occupational therapy effective for a lot of reasons. Identifying the important factors that influence an adult’s level of functioning and overall health is vital for OT to be successful.
With the right approach, occupational therapists can help people live a quality of life by assisting them on how to use mobility equipment, teaching them self-care skills, and helping them make their homes safer to stay in.