How Occupational Therapy Can Help You Regain Your Independence

A therapist helps a senior woman go through physical therapy exercises

Taking a shower. Getting dressed. Feeding ourselves. Going to the bathroom. Rehab therapists call them activities of daily living or ADLs. Normally, we don’t give them much thought.

But if you or someone you love is struggling with activities of daily living, it can dramatically affect the quality of life, leading to a loss of independence and withdrawal from the life you loved. Occupational therapy can teach you new ways to do daily activities you used to take for granted — restoring independence and improving quality of life.

What is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is often part of a therapy program for people who’ve had a stroke or surgery. It helps them relearn everyday activities and adjust to doing them differently. But occupational therapy can also make a difference for people struggling with the physical changes that accompany aging, such as hand arthritis or hip or knee problems that cause pain and problems with mobility.

Some of the activities of daily living occupational therapy helps improve or restore include:

  • Eating and feeding yourself
  • Bathing and showering
  • Mobility: getting in and out of a chair or bed, walking
  • Personal care: brushing teeth, combing hair, toileting
  • More complex daily activities like cooking, writing, cleaning, etc.

Not being able to perform what used to be simple activities can be extremely frustrating — even embarrassing. An occupational therapist can teach you techniques that make completing daily tasks much easier. Occupational therapy also helps improve fine motor skills that make favorite activities, like golf or cooking, doable again — improving quality of life. 

Let’s look at more ways occupational therapy helps you do the things you want and need to do: 

Prevent falls — As a leading cause of injury and death among seniors, falls are a major cause for concern for older adults. Occupational therapists teach techniques to help prevent falls, conserve energy and stay active.

Create safer living spaces An occupational therapist will look at your home and make recommendations for making it safer, such as grab bars or seating in the shower, slip-resistant flooring, and/or home monitoring systems.

Improve well-being — Occupational therapy enables seniors to remain active, which promotes better health. By learning how to overcome daily challenges, seniors can regain self-confidence and renew their positive outlook on life.

Help with vision loss — Occupational therapists help improve perceptual vision, pattern detection and overall visual awareness. Simple changes, such as adding lighting, putting bright stickers on appliances, or placing magnifiers in the home, can make everyday life less of a struggle.

Our top-rated rehabilitation team is ready to help.

If you or a loved one would benefit from occupational therapy, you can learn more about our rehabilitative services. Ridge Crest, our top-rated senior health center, offers a multidisciplinary team of physical, occupational, speech and respiratory therapists. Recognized as one of the top senior rehabilitation centers in the country by U.S. News & World Report, we can provide the quality care and personalized treatment you or your loved one needs.  

We offer both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. For tips on what to look for when choosing outpatient rehabilitation, read our blog.