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What is Occupational Therapy?

An occupational therapist assisting a female older adult with using a resistance band to improve arm strength.Occupational therapy helps people, from children to older adults, participate in the things they want and need to do through the therapeutic use of everyday activities.

Occupational therapists take a holistic approach and create customized plans that adapt the environment and tasks to fit the patient. For example, our team creates customized recovery plans that focus on an individual recovering as quickly as possible and to the best of his/her ability. Because of this approach, occupational therapists often ask, “what matters to you” instead of “what’s that matter with you?”

The customized approach includes:

  • Evaluation
    Typically involves determining goal(s) the patient wants to achieve and may include evaluating his/her home and workplace.
  • Interventions
    Activities that aim to improve the patient’s ability to perform daily activities and reach his/her goals. Depending on the activities, these may be performed with at the patient’s home, workplace and/or community as well as the occupational therapist’s facility.
  • Outcomes
    Evaluations that measure whether goals are being met and if changes need to be made to the intervention plan.

Occupational therapist addresses all aspects of aging, from wellness strategies to treatment. With a focus on function, occupational therapists help keep older adults independent and safe, reducing hospitalization and institutional care.

The science-driven profession can be effective at treating gerontology issues such as:

  • Improving physical functioning and occupational performance related to health management of older adults who are frail and/or have osteoarthritis and macular degeneration
  • Reducing functional decline and improving safety with home modification and adaptive equipment
  • Increasing exercises of functional activities
  • Reducing falls and injuries with progressive resistance training that focuses on improving strength, balance and walking
  • Improving driving knowledge and skills with short-term classroom and on-the road instruction as well as using bioptics for those with visual impairments

To learn about CLV’s occupational therapy, as well as physical and speech therapy services we provide to our residents and the residents in Carroll and surrounding counties, view our Rehabilitation web page or call 443-605-4137.

About the Author

Michael Winebrenner is the director of rehabilitation at Carroll Lutheran Village. He has his doctorate in physical therapy and has worked in the field for over 20 years.

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