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Occupational Therapy Activities for Elderly

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Senior people stretching out in the fitness room.

What do you want to do to improve or maintain your quality of life? Is it the ability to walk into the backyard and plant flowers, cook a meal, write a letter to your grandkids, or play cards with your friends once more? 

Occupational therapy is an excellent tool for seniors to continue exercising physically and mentally and allows them to live a more independent life for longer.

Occupational therapists will consider your goals when planning customized occupational therapy activities to improve your ability to perform daily tasks and will evaluate your progress toward achieving your goals.

Some examples of occupational therapy for the elderly include:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Physical exercises
  • Personal activities
  • Cognitive exercises
  • Recreational activities

What Is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy (OT)  is a technique for assisting people in living independent and productive lives by allowing them to recover or develop the skills required to complete daily tasks. While anyone of any age can benefit from occupational therapy, it’s been shown to be especially beneficial for seniors who feel they are no longer able to meet day-to-day challenges, both physically and mentally.

Many seniors receive occupational therapy to assist them in performing activities of daily living (ADLs), which can range from bathing and toileting to dressing in the morning. Certain conditions, such as arthritis or diabetes, can make these activities much more difficult to perform as we age.

The goal is to assist seniors in learning to move, function, and overcome physical challenges despite a limited range of motion and mobility. Having said that, occupational therapy is more than just improving physical functionality. Therapists can employ a variety of techniques to aid in the improvement of memory and cognitive ability.

Occupational Therapy Activities

One of the most important things you can do before starting occupational therapy is to set realistic expectations for how long it will take to start seeing improvements. The degree of success and the rate at which specific milestones are met are entirely determined by your circumstances and willingness to participate.

Occupational therapy for the elderly is a pretty diversified practice, there are many different styles that can be beneficial. Activities will generally fall into one of these categories:

  • Relaxation techniques
  • Physical exercises
  • Personal activities
  • Cognitive exercises
  • Recreational activities

Relaxation Techniques

Senior OT programs usually include activities that help patients feel less stressed and anxious. Relaxation techniques include breathing exercises because they assist the patient in putting their body into a state of rest. You can practice breathing exercises on your own, and if you do them before bed or during a nap, they may even help you get better sleep.

Physical Exercises

Increasing flexibility can make a big difference for seniors! By stretching, the body can become less rigid. As a result, there are fewer chances of suffering an injury like a muscle pull or strain. Additionally, it can ease the difficulty of routine tasks like vacuuming, gardening, or walking.

Numerous techniques can be used as a treatment to increase the range of motion. An occupational therapist might advise seniors to perform:

  • A series of stretches
  • Practice dressing your upper body
  • Work on shoulder-specific strength training exercises, for instance, to increase shoulder flexibility.
  • Leg extensions: A simple exercise that you can do while sitting. You sit in a chair with your hands next to your sides and your feet flat on the floor. Then you straighten one leg in front of you slowly. Hold your leg in this extended position for a few seconds before repeating the exercise with the other leg.

Personal Activities

These are one of the most frequently used occupational therapy activities. Personal care, bathing, dressing and undressing, and other daily activities are included.

Ultimately, the goal of occupational therapy activities is to help adults and seniors enjoy a higher quality of life. To accomplish this, you must first consider which specific issues you wish to address and work with your occupational therapist to achieve your goals.

A group of seniors are playing guitars in the music room.

Cognitive Exercises

Occupational therapists are trained to assess cognitive abilities as well as physical abilities. There are numerous techniques available to improve cognitive function.

Memory-boosting activities such as crossword puzzles and brain teaser games are quite often recommended to keep the mind sharp. An occupational therapist may also break down difficult tasks into a series of simple steps and cues, making them easier for those with memory loss to complete.

Recreational Activities

Examples of recreational therapy activities can be:

  • Games
  • Dancing
  • Music
  • Arts and crafts
  • Sports
  • Exercise

Activities can be completed in a group setting or individually with a loved one, friend, or caregiver. Recreational activities are important for all seniors, but they can be especially beneficial for those who have had a stroke or those who have Alzheimer’s or dementia, physical disabilities, or mental health issues.

See What Meadowcrest at Middletown Has to Offer

The more elderly people who can incorporate occupational therapies into their daily or weekly routines, the easier it will be for them to remain physically active, mentally fit, and independent.

Meadowcrest at Middletown team members are happy to assist those we serve with occupational therapy strategies. We’re here to help you or the special senior in your life with everything from daily exercise to adaptive strategies! Contact us if you have any questions about the lifestyle and level of care at our senior living community.

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