Aging in place, safely and productively

Story by Brooke Edge, HealthBack Home Health 

Occupational Therapists help patients who may or may not have injuries, disabilities, and illnesses to recover, improve, and develop skills needed for daily living and/or working to help become more productive and independent. Occupational therapy also aids in emotional and social adjustment following injury or illness.

In fact, over one-third of occupational therapy practitioners work with older adults. When an elderly person is affected by illness, accident, injury, disability, or a mental health condition, occupational therapists are the guiding light on the road to recovery and aging in place safely and productively. 

*Occupational Therapy’s role:

Low Vision– For patients with vision problems, the Occupational Therapist  works to improve visual acuity, the ability to discern patterns, and perceptual skills through a variety of methods including but not limited to:

  • Programming a telephone to speed dial emergency numbers
  • Magnifying equipment to help a person read 
  • Re-organizing the kitchen
  • Color coding 

Dementia– The therapist may guide a person with dementia to make lists and use other prompts to aid recall. For example:

  • Limit clothing selection to fit the current season
  • Energy conservation activities
  • Work simplification
  • Valued hobbies or loves, feeding a pet or simple crosswords

Home Safety– To promote aging-in-place, occupational therapists can be brought in to consult on home safety. 

  • Make the environment safer and easier to navigate.
  • Recommend adaptive equipment
  • Instructions for eliminating environmental hazards that contribute to falls

*There are different specializations under the occupational therapy umbrella such as hand therapy, acute care, post-operative, traumatic brain injury, and many more. 

About Aging Advocates

Aging Advocates, a group of area businesses and agencies in the Payne County area meet monthly to advocate for older adults. From their experiences, they innovate ideas and raise awareness of older adult issues. It is important to look at the developing needs of the aging population and support, educate, and identify services valuable to a life fully lived.