Besides elder care services, community services and the family physician, there are few aspects of assisting elderly loved ones that are as important as occupational therapy. Since April is designated as National Occupational Therapy Month, it’s the perfect opportunity to tap into this valuable resource that provides so much to the elderly in helping them manage their self-care. Occupational therapy is a part of the health care field that focuses on helping people with different physical disabilities to achieve as much independence as possible.

Here are 6 frequently asked questions that many family caregivers have about occupational therapy:

1. What exactly is occupational therapy?

Occupational therapy is the practice of assisting people of all ages to engage in the activities they want to, despite any limitations due to age, illness, injury or disability. Occupational therapists design a program that helps patients to successfully complete daily living tasks and solve problems that might hinder full participation in life.

2. Do occupational therapists help people get jobs?

No. Even though many people associate the word “occupation” with jobs and careers, in this case it refers to participation in daily activities. Occupational therapists work with the patients on their physical accomplishments and also help them adapt to their environment, despite their limitations.

3. How are occupational therapists trained?

Occupational therapists are members of the health profession and must achieve at least a master’s degree in occupational therapy. They must also be licensed by the state in which they practice. Along with their education, they gain plenty of clinical experience as they work toward graduation. Home care and elder care aides are not trained in occupational therapy, although they may assist their patients in performing recommended exercises.

4. Are occupational therapists and occupational therapist assistants the same thing?

No. An occupational therapist assistant must have an associate’s degree from an accredited program recognized by the American Occupational Therapy Association. They must pass a national certification exam to begin working.

5. Will seniors benefit from occupational therapy?

Absolutely. Seniors experience various degrees of decline due to age-related illnesses and conditions. They are more likely to suffer from strokes and heart attacks, which can further limit what they can achieve independently. As they age, the elderly often become reliant on elder care, meal delivery services and family caregivers. Occupational therapy can help seniors slow down age-related issues and boost their independence and increase safety.

6. What kinds of things will occupational therapists do during a session?

When working with a patient, occupational therapists use well-planned activities and exercises that enhance the development of certain skills. These activities are often fun and motivating so seniors will want to complete them. The therapy helps them grow stronger in the areas they need to complete certain daily tasks. As the patient achieves the goal of performing the meaningful activity, the occupational therapist makes plans for even more growth and development.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Woodbury, MN, and the surrounding areas, please contact the friendly staff at CareBuilders at Home Minnesota. Call today 612-260-2273.