What Is Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapy to improve daily living, or OT, is a type of treatment that helps people with disabilities and illnesses live their lives as independently as possible. It’s used for people of all ages and can help with things like walking or moving around the house, taking care of yourself, or going out in public. It can also be used to treat injuries like burns and fractures.
Your therapist will listen to you about the problems you have and how your health condition affects your daily life. Then they’ll come up with a plan of things to try that will help you do your everyday activities more easily and safely. This may include recommending special equipment or making changes to your home like removing rugs that could cause you to trip. It might mean showing you exercises and routines that will increase your strength or flexibility. Or it might be teaching you how to use a new piece of assistive equipment like a wheelchair or splint.
The goal is to get you back to the activities you enjoy and that make your life meaningful. Occupational therapists are trained to take all aspects of your well-being into consideration, including your physical, mental and social needs. They are experts in helping you find ways to overcome the challenges that arise from a serious illness, injury or age-related decline.
Most OTs have at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, such as nursing or physical therapy. Some have specialized training in certain areas, such as pediatrics, gerontology or hand rehabilitation. Others have earned a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy. If you’re thinking about becoming an OT, it’s important to find a program that offers supervised fieldwork in a real-life setting.
Occupational therapy is a growing field and job opportunities are increasing steadily. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the number of jobs in the field will grow by 14 percent through 2031. That’s much faster than the average for all occupations.
Seniors who need help with daily tasks can choose from a variety of options, including hiring a private caregiver or joining a senior care community like Visiting Angels. Choosing the right care option depends on your loved one’s health, financial situation and personal preferences. Be sure to discuss the matter carefully and respect their autonomy. If your loved one is resistant, try framing the issue as something that’s temporary instead of trying to impose a solution they don’t want.