Main Navigation

Occupational Therapy Can Help You Stay Independent

occupational therapy and independenceOccupational therapy focuses on helping you perform activities of daily living. These activities may include:in

  • Dressing yourself
  • Bathing yourself
  • Feeding yourself
  • Maintaining control over bathroom habits
  • Moving around your home (such as standing or sitting) on your own
  • Other tasks important to a healthy life, such as cleaning your home or managing medications

Being able to perform these tasks is vital for maintaining your independence as you age. But a variety of illnesses and injuries, from falls to strokes, can threaten your ability to perform these tasks each day.

That’s where occupational therapists can step in and help you. Occupational therapists focus solely on these activities of daily living, helping you regain these abilities or coming up with new strategies for performing tasks safely and independently. Your occupational therapy plan may include:

Exercises for Your Upper Body

While physical therapists focus on big movements like standing or walking, occupational therapists focus on the smaller movements that make taking care of yourself possible. Your occupational therapy plan may include exercises to do regularly at home that will help you:

  • Increase upper body strength
  • Improve dexterity in your hands and fingers
  • Increase your range of motion and reach

These exercises help retrain your muscles and your brain to perform movements after illness or injury.

Special Items to Make Life Easier

Some tasks, like buttoning your shirt or tying your shoes, require more dexterity than you think. Instead of continuing to struggle with these activities, it may be easier to simply change up what items you wear. For instance, you may choose shoes that slide on or Velcro shut. You may avoid clothes with buttons and stick with zippers or Velcro instead.

Other items like specially designed eating utensils or reacher-grabbers can help you go about your day more easily, too. Your occupational therapist can help you access the items you need to maintain your independence.

New Techniques for Old Tasks

In some cases, you may need to switch up how you once performed tasks. For instance, if you lose function in your right hand, you’ll now need to use your left to eat or write. Your occupational therapist can practice these tasks with you and provide exercises to help improve your abilities. They may also teach you strategies such as placing important items on your left instead of your right side, making them easier to reach.

Other techniques can make tasks easier. You might learn easier ways to get dressed or prepare food. Your occupational therapist can design your treatment plan to help you regain the abilities you want.

At Bon Secours, our therapists provide personalized care to help you regain your ability to perform activities of daily living and maintain your independence. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.