The role of Occupational Therapy and Aging in Place

July 3, 2010 at 9:26 am 3 comments

I have been an Occupational Therapist (OT) for 15 years and I continue to love what I do.  However, as mentioned in previous posts, I am frequently still educating the public about what Occupational Therapy is.  I am dedicating this blog post to continuing to educate about OT and promote our work with Aging in Place.

According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), OT is “a science-driven, evidence based profession that enables people of all ages to live life to its fullest by helping them promote health and prevent—or live with—illness, injury or disability”.  Essentially, the person who needs OT can be anyone, for whatever reason, that cannot do the things in life that they want or need to do.  We look at a person’s occupations (work, education, leisure, play, social participation, sleep, etc.) that are meaningful to them and work to maximize the person’s participation and independence with completion of these tasks.

As Occupational Therapists, we look holistically at the person, taking into consideration their strengths and limitations and how this will impact the task to be performed.  We are also considering the environment in which the task is to be performed and how the environment may also impact the person’s health, wellness and participation.

So, what is an OT’s role with Aging in Place?  Part of AOTA’s 2017 Centennial Vision “is to meet society’s occupational needs”.  This can be done with the aging population by helping them to age in place and “live life to its fullest” (AOTA slogan).  By utilizing our science-driven background, we are able to assess how a person may function in their home and participate in activities of daily living (ADLs).  We gather this information and make recommendations to improve a person’s independence and safety within their home.  These recommendations may include simple, or more involved environmental modifications such as recommending rocker switches, the addition of more lighting, lever handles on doors to the installation of grab bars, a curbless roll-in shower or the adjustment of a counter to allow for wheelchair accessibility.

As an Occupational Therapist that specializes in environmental modifications, I feel I bring a unique perspective to the aging in place and home modifications team.  We (OTs, contractors, builders, interior designers, product vendors, architects) are all pieces of the puzzle, but together best meet the needs of the client for aging in place home modifications.

Advertisements

Entry filed under: Aging-In-Place design, occupational therapy. Tags: , , , , , , .

Cyber Care: Robots and Aging in Place How does your modified garden grow?

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Adam Griff  |  July 6, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    The occupational therapist’s greatest contribution is the perspective of the specific user. They understand the abilities and of limitations of an individual and can inform the architect, designer, general contractor, about the unique needs of the individual and help them think holistically. As an trained architect, I know most of the design world focuses on generic standards for accessibility.

    I also would argue that home-modification is not enough for successful aging in place. To age well you must continue to be active. The best way to be active is to get out of the house, whether that’s for yourself or the one you are caring for.

    Adam Griff
    sarahcare.com

    Reply
    • 2. empowerability  |  July 6, 2010 at 4:10 pm

      Hi Adam,
      Thank you for your comment. I completely agree with your insight regarding staying active. Providing solutions for a person within their home not only increases their participation with in-home activities, but also promotes participation in activities outside of the home as well.
      Cheers,
      –Debra

      Reply
  • 3. Gael Tannenbaum  |  July 8, 2010 at 9:01 am

    We couldn’t agree with you more! OTs are absolutely invaluable as part of an aging in place team. Thank you for taking the time to explain your role so well!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed


Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 2,029 other followers

Recently Tweeted:

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.

Find posts on highlighted dates:

July 2010
M T W T F S S
« Jun   Aug »
 1234
567891011
12131415161718
19202122232425
262728293031  

%d bloggers like this: