As seniors get older they need to make some big decisions, and the largest decision is where they want to live as they get older. Most research shows seniors prefer to live at home as they get older, to no one’s surprise. It makes sense that seniors would want to stay in homes that they love, where they raised their kids, or where they have their happiest memories.
But, a valid concern remains that seniors and their families must know how to help maintain their senior’s care and independence as they get older if they choose to age in place. Keeping up a home and taking care of themselves can be challenging, especially if they develop medical conditions that limit their movement or cognitive ability.
Seniors who are worried about the future and who want to remain at home can start occupational therapy to give themselves a better chance of being able to take care of themselves at home for a long time. Occupational therapy can help seniors improve their ability to do daily tasks. If seniors do develop a debilitating condition, starting occupational therapy immediately after a diagnosis can help them stay independent for as long as possible.
Fine Motor Skills
As seniors get older, they often experience a decline in their manual dexterity and fine motor skills like gripping things, bending their wrists, and being able to pick up items or open drawers and cabinets using pulls. Occupational therapy includes exercises that are designed to keep those fine motor skills strong and make sure that seniors can do the tasks of daily living that they need to be able to do in order to stay independent.
Seniors can also do crafts and activities that improve fine motor skills like drawing, painting, or knitting. A combination of occupational therapy and dexterity building exercises will allow seniors to continue to do things like fold laundry, chop vegetables, and wash dishes.
Seniors also struggle with balance as they get older. Losing their balance can cause seniors to fall and if they fall too often or if they hurt themselves badly in a fall they could lose their independence. Occupational therapy includes exercises that will help seniors maintain their balance so that they are less likely to fall at home. Improving their balance can also improve their mobility and help them be more active, which will help their overall health.
Memory And Cognitive Skills
Memory and cognitive skills are also essential for seniors that want to live on their own, but some decline is expected as they age. Even if they don’t have a disease like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, which causes deterioration of cognitive skills.
Occupational therapy exercises will target cognitive skills to help seniors keep their skills sharp for as long as possible. They may not be able to restore lost cognitive skills but they can keep the existing skill set strong as long as possible.