Occupational Therapists Can Help Your Parents Age in Place

April is Occupational Therapy Month! Do you know how an OT can help your parents – or other older loved ones – remain in their own homes?

They can help determine if the home is safe by evaluating the home to assess skills, abilities, and safety, and make recommendations that meet their needs and other family members. An occupational therapist will also evaluate your loved ones ability to get around in the community to get groceries, go to doctor appointments, attend religious services, participate in social activities, etc., and provide options for doing so.

Occupational Therapists can provide non-intrusive assistance. Recommend simple to complex home modifications, community support groups, options for getting around in the community, and other services that will help your parent continue to do valued activities safely and easily. Evaluate how well your parent is able to do the things he or she wants and needs to do, and provide personalized recommendations to increase safety, ease, and ability now and in the future. Suggestions may include adding adaptive equipment such as grab bars or stair lifts, lowering counter heights, adding railings, replacing door knobs with lever style handles, widening doorways, etc.

If you’re looking for ways to modify the home and on a fixed-budget an OT can suggest low-cost equipment and other changes (e.g., increase wattage or change the type of fixture for better lighting or reduced glare, use a reacher to avoid bending over or standing on a stool, use the microwave and not the stove to reduce fire hazards, etc.). An occupational therapist will also provide training on adaptive equipment and address any concerns to be sure it will be used.

Have you hugged an Occupational Therapist today? :-)

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