Insight Comprehensive Therapy – April is Occupational Therapy Month, an excellent opportunity to celebrate our occupational therapists and share how people of all ages and abilities benefit from their services every day. Occupational therapy is a healthcare speciality that helps people with physical, cognitive, and sensory impairments overcome certain limitations and regain their independence. Although it is often confused with physical therapy, occupational therapists work beyond the physical aspects of healing, giving people skills to participate fully in their desired activities and prevent disruptions in daily living. Whether it’s learning to bathe and dress independently or gaining new skills to communicate clearly, occupational therapists work closely with each patient to develop a personalized plan that meets their goals. Here are six ways people of all ages can benefit from occupational therapy.
Losing the ability to perform daily tasks on your own can be incredibly frustrating for anyone at any age. It not only impacts your independence, but it also takes a large toll on your confidence and mental health. Occupational therapists work with people to improve specific self-care skills that are important for the individual’s daily life. This includes eating, dressing, hygiene tasks, and even paying bills. People with disabilities may also require specific home modifications and equipment, which an occupational therapist can recommend and help implement during therapy.
Range of Motion & Strength
Strokes, surgery, and chronic conditions like arthritis can all seriously impact a person’s range of motion and strength. In addition to limiting the ability to move like you once did, it can also impact the ability to perform daily tasks. An occupational therapist will analyze your movement abilities so they can develop activities and exercises tailored to meet your needs. As your performance improves, the occupational therapist will make adjustments to keep you challenged and on track to reach your goals.
Functional Cognition & Visual Impairment
In addition to the physical aspects of daily living, occupational therapists will also work with patients to address cognitive limitations that are necessary to perform tasks such as maintaining a calendar, problem-solving, and even returning to work. Occupational therapists will also work with people experiencing visual impairment. This may include assistance with home or work modifications, use of magnification tools, and color coding certain objects to make independence easier.
A common misconception about occupational therapists is that they only work with people experiencing physical limitations. However, they are also highly skilled in helping older adults with common memory loss issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Occupational therapy techniques such as games and puzzles help memory loss patients stay engaged, improve memory function, and even slow the progression of certain memory loss conditions.
Occupational therapy isn’t only for adults. Children with motor, cognitive, physical, and speech disabilities that require additional support often work with occupational therapists to gain or regain skills. Occupational therapists work closely with parents, educators, and pediatricians to assess a child’s needs for self-care, school readiness, play skills, and social/emotional regulation. Through a personalized treatment plan, children work to improve fine motor skills, sensory motor skills, and visual motor skills to gain independence and improve behavior.
When a loved one struggles with performing daily tasks, it can be just as frustrating for their caregiver trying to help. Whether it is a child with disabilities or elderly parents recovering from surgery, many people find themselves overwhelmed with how to help family members who are struggling. Part of an occupational therapist’s role is to also work with caregivers to explain any limitations their loved one is experiencing, answer questions, and give them resources or suggestions they can use at home to help the individual reach their independence goals. As families work closely with occupational therapists, they also become a trusted support system that caregivers and patients can confide in and look to for support and encouragement as they navigate challenging circumstances.
Occupational therapy plays an important role in helping people of all ages experiencing challenges or limited abilities perform daily tasks, regain independence, and live a fulfilling life. Whether your child is struggling with development issues or you are recovering from surgery or a medical condition, patients often see the best outcomes with dedication and early intervention. For more information about occupational therapy services at Insight Comprehensive Therapy and to schedule an appointment, contact us today.
Q: What are some common conditions occupational therapists treat?
A: Occupational therapists can help people experiencing daily struggles (e.g. walking, eating, bathing) that occur after certain conditions or post-surgery. People with arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, strokes, burns, memory loss, developmental issues, and other chronic conditions have all benefited from occupational therapy.
Q: When should I consider seeing an occupational therapist?
A: If you are experiencing pain, difficulty performing daily activities, memory issues, or challenges living your life to the fullest, you may be an excellent candidate for occupational therapy. Your primary care physician or an occupational therapist can answer your questions and help you get started.
Q: How long are occupational therapy sessions?
A: A typical occupational therapy session lasts approximately 45 minutes to one hour. The frequency of therapy services varies depending on each patient. A timeframe will be set after an assessment and treatment plan has been established.