Occupational therapy is a type of medical treatment that focuses on the improvement of fine motor skills and development. While physiotherapy is about larger motor movements, the point of occupational therapy is to improve and strengthen the link of smaller movements to the brain. Someone might require occupational therapy after they have been in an accident or had a stroke. In other cases, occupational therapy services can also be necessary to repair other types of motor damage, such as arthritis. It is possible for someone at any age to need an occupational therapist (OT), however, elderly people are more likely to need the assistance of an occupational therapist.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do for Aging Adults?

As you get older, it’s completely normal for your motor skills to begin to worsen. Occupational therapy is there to help patients close the gap. Contrary to popular opinion, occupational therapy is not just for when emergencies or accidents occur. In fact, OT is a great way for aging adults to maintain fine motor skills and improve their range of motion so they can remain living independently.

What Does an Occupational Therapist Do?

Occupational therapists work to improve the body’s fine motor skills in patients of all ages. Typically, this involves hand coordination, hand-eye coordination, and other fine skills that might have degenerated. An occupational therapist is not a once-off appointment. In fact, regaining the ability to perform tasks of daily living can take several appointments spread over weeks or months.

When guiding occupational therapy for seniors, an occupational therapist will need to work closely with the patient. Usually, this means developing a close relationship with them around which particular therapies need the most urgent aid.

Who Needs an Occupational Therapist?

An occupational therapist can be necessary at any age due to rehabilitation or a specific physical condition.

Age can physically slow you down, and getting older can mean that you are more affected by health conditions such as arthritis and discomfort in the joints. While an occupational therapist can be necessary after a life-changing event such as a stroke or accident, this is not the most common reason people see an occupational therapist.

Anyone who notices a decline in the mobility of their joints and general movement could benefit from occupational therapy as well as physiotherapy. Although medication can make a big difference and reduce pain and discomfort, this is a temporary solution. Instead, the introduction of occupational therapy programs can make a huge difference in relieving symptoms long term.

Key Benefits of Occupational Therapy?

The goal of occupational therapy is to reduce inflammation and pain, while also promoting physical longevity and fine motor skills. A professional occupational therapist will work with older adults to focus on the quality of life, and quality of movement. Although rehabilitation from an injury is a common reason to see an occupational therapist, it’s not the only one.

For elderly patients, an occupational therapist will angle their therapies toward treating the most common consequences of age. Again, quality of life and movement are the point of long-term occupational therapy appointments.

As you get older, some daily activities become harder. One key benefit of occupational therapy is that it is aimed at making everyday tasks easy again. If mobility or reflexes have reduced due to age, then an occupational therapist is likely the appointment that’s most important to make next.

Who Are Aging Adults?

The term elderly typically refers to anyone above the age of 65. This is the point at which the body starts to respond in different ways. Things such as collagen and bone don’t grow or heal as fast as they used to. At this age, conditions like arthritis might also become a real problem.

When the signs of these conditions begin to show up, see an occupational therapist as soon as possible. Occupational therapists work in conjunction with physical therapists on strength and balance training to help prevent falls. Don’t wait until a serious emergency or injury happens to make occupational therapy a priority. It can benefit someone’s health in many ways to look for a good occupational therapist earlier rather than later.

How to Find an Occupational Therapist Near You

If you want to find a trusted occupational therapist in your area, head to Google and search for an “occupational therapist near you”. Consider reviews, and look for an occupational therapist that matches your needs the most. Never be afraid to call several, and never be afraid to switch from one occupational therapist to another. Finding the best occupational therapist for you can lead to a better quality of life and movement.

At Nye Health Services, we offer outpatient therapy at all of our five locations in Fremont, Lincoln, Norfolk, NE, and the surrounding areas. We have licensed occupational therapists on staff to help along with complimentary transportation. We also take Medicare, Medicaid, and most private health insurance. With outpatient therapy services, you get access to experienced professionals and personalized treatment plans to fit your needs.

Additional Information: Occupational Therapy Interventions for Productive Aging Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults 

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