The Role of Occupational Therapy in Assisted Living

Category: Assisted Living

As of 2022, 139,600 licensed occupational therapists worked in the United States. By 2032, that number is expected to rise to 155,600, representing job growth of 12%, which is notably higher than the expected 3% job growth rate for all occupations.

An occupational therapist assisting a patient in an assisted living facility.

Although occupational therapists have clients that fall into every age group, the aging population is a crucial factor driving demand for occupational therapists. These healthcare professionals provide treatments that help people regain or retain their ability to perform essential and preferential tasks.

Understanding occupational therapy’s crucial role in promoting independence and well-being ensures you know the benefits of choosing a skilled nursing facility or assisted living facility offering expert occupational therapy services. This knowledge is vital because it will help you understand what to look for when selecting the best senior care facility for yourself or a loved one.

What Is Occupational Therapy in Assisted Living Facilities?

Occupational therapists develop treatment plans based on each individual’s needs. Each person’s plan has the same basic goal: to promote independence and personal dignity. For many older persons, loss of independence causes shame and frustration, leading to struggles with their sense of self-worth.

Occupational therapists in assisted living facilities give residents the tools they need to preserve or regain their sense of self-worth. Sessions involve practicing tasks related to the individual’s short-term and long-term goals. Suppose an individual has suffered a stroke and currently needs to use a wheelchair but hopes to learn to use a walker and walk again instead of relying on their wheelchair. Their occupational therapist may have them exercise to strengthen the muscles needed to stand up and walk. They may use games or exercises that prompt the individual to build these muscles while teaching them how to use a walker.

Occupational therapists also ensure the individual’s community is prepared for their patient’s progress. They may recommend accommodations to the person’s bedroom or common areas to promote the patient’s safety while they regain their abilities.

What Is the Role of Occupational Therapy for the Elderly?

Occupational therapists support the physical and emotional well-being of older people. They design treatment plans that help patients develop hand-eye coordination, which helps them perform various tasks. Treatment plans also help the patients develop their gross and fine motor skills. They give patients the tools they need to eliminate the frustration and fear that often comes from losing their ability to care for themselves and efficiently complete tasks they used to perform.

Treatment programs focus on helping individuals perform essential personal care tasks, such as:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Sitting
  • Standing

Occupation therapists also help residents regain or retain their ability to engage in preferred activities. While performing daily living tasks is vital, the ability to perform preferred tasks ensures residents thrive. With an occupational therapist’s help, assisted living facility residents may be able to engage in hobbies and enjoyable activities, such as the following:

  • Cooking
  • Knitting
  • Painting
  • Playing games

Why Is Occupational Therapy Important for Older People?

Since older people are more likely to develop severe health issues, such as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis increases the risk of stroke, and both can cause physical problems that make it challenging for those affected to perform routine tasks, such as walking or buttoning a shirt. Older people may also have mobility issues because of hearing problems and are at a high risk of falling because of mobility issues.

Depression is also a severe health risk for older people. An inability to move freely or perform essential and preferred tasks can cause or compound depression because they may be frustrated by their inability to do things themselves or engage in activities they enjoy.

Occupational therapists provide the support individuals need to improve their balance and mobility and to use their hands. Occupational therapists also teach individuals how to use assistive devices to regain abilities affected by age or illness.

How Haven Health Helps Residents Regain and Retain Their Independence

Our Arizona nursing facilities offer essential services, including occupational therapy, behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy. Residents receive expert medical care onsite, enabling them to get the treatment they need without time-consuming trips to medical offices.

We offer occupational therapy services at our skilled nursing facilities in multiple locations throughout Arizona, ensuring you can find a new home for your loved one near your location. Keeping your loved ones close to home ensures you can visit regularly and that your loved one can remain in a familiar and comfortable area.

We work with our residents to ensure they receive the professional support they need to thrive during their senior years. Call us today to find out how we can support your elderly loved one.

Contact Haven Health to learn more about our skilled nursing facilities and healthcare services.


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Yeh, C., et al. (2021). Women With Osteoarthritis Are at Increased Risk of Ischemic Stroke: A Population-Based Cohort Study.