I hope you have enjoyed listening to the podcast about what ways Occupational Therapy can help you or your loved one regain a sense of independence and quality of life! When we think about proactivity in healthy ageing, we think of “future proofing” on functional activities – whether that be the goal of to shower safely, preparing a cup of tea, accessing the community in a motored mobility device.
What is Occupational Therapy?
An Occupational Therapist is a qualified health professional that play a key role in working with an individual - in this case older adults with age related conditions which change their ability to engage in meaningful activities of daily living in a safe manner. We can help look at implementing client-centered strategies, modify the task or environment and, rebuild or maintain an individual’s function/capacity!
What does a home visit involve?
An Occupational Therapist will visit your home and chat with you to:
Get to know what your routine is like
What tasks you are finding tricky to manage at home
What your goals may be
Suggest a plan on how these goals can be best achieved
They may ask you to demonstrate how you would typically perform the task to get a good understanding about what specific things about what is it about the task that makes the activity difficult. – OTs are experts at this!
If modifications to the home environment is essential and recommended, an Occupational Therapy may observe, conduct measurements or taking photos with your consent to help complete a drawing of the potential modification to the home. These may be sent to a builder to retrieve a quote for you or the relevant parties to review, before the modifications can take place.
If English isn’t your native language, an interpreter can be organised in advance or your family member may help join the session to make communication easier!
What are tasks you can do to stay proactive about the safety of your home environment?
We understand as people become older, there is an increased risk of falls in the home environment. Active and Healthy NSW have a fantastic checklist on helping you determine what are some considerations that may help boost that safety factor to prevent slips, trips and falls. It may good to go through with the checklist with a family member or friend.
Home Safety Checklist
If I am recommended any equipment from an Occupational Therapist, where can I find it?
Depending on what the Occupational Therapist has recommended for you or your loved one, equipment can be hired or purchased based on the product. Trial of equipment may also be relevant depending on the piece of equipment.
Your Occupational Therapist may have a list readily available to you on where to find these items in your local area and, help you compare what is most appropriate for your needs and environment.
Most pharmacies and chemists now stock self-care equipment like a shower chair, over toilet aid, toilet surround, manual wheelchairs.
Specialised equipment suppliers – national distributers are available and can be easily accessed online or a phone call away. If not, large companies may include Aidacare, Independent Living Specialists, Country Care and, boutique providers are available in the local area.
If you have further questions, most of these suppliers are able to provide details on how to set up and maintain products for effective use.
How do I find an OT in my local area?
Asking your GP – for local referrals in the area
Asking your Geriatrician – they may linked to Occupational Therapists in speciality areas such as for returning to drive, home modifications, managing with reduced cognition, neurological conditions such as a stroke or Parkinsons Disease
Visiting the Occupational Therapy Australia (OTAUS) https://otaus.com.au/find-an-ot