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How Does Occupational Therapy Help Your Senior Avoid a Fall?

Occupational Therapy at Home in Old Bridge NJ: Fall Prevention
Occupational Therapy at Home in Old Bridge NJ: Fall Prevention

If your aging family member has become more sedentary as she has aged, that’s not unusual. But her risk factors for falling may be higher than you or she might realize. Occupational therapy could have answers for your senior that help her to be able to stay as safe as possible and hopefully avoid a fall. They can do this by fully assessing her risk factors and using specific techniques and tools to give her what she needs to reduce the impact of those risk factors.


What Is Occupational Therapy?

If you’re not familiar with occupational therapy, the name can be a bit confusing. Activities of daily life, including eating and bathing, are considered occupations. Occupational therapy is all about helping anyone who is having difficulty with daily occupations to overcome those challenges. There are lots of ways that occupational therapists do this, and some of those techniques can come in handy if your elderly family member has an increased risk of falling.


Assessing Risk Factors for a Fall

The first step in occupational therapists helping your elderly family member to avoid a fall includes getting a full picture of her fall risk. Understanding all of the different factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic, allows the occupational therapist to put a full plan together. Intrinsic factors are ones that involve mental and physical changes your senior goes through as she ages. Extrinsic factors are environmental risk factors.


Teaching How to Manage Intrinsic Fall Risk Factors

Intrinsic risk factors are issues like muscle weakness, cognitive changes, bad balance, a fear of falling, and even side effects from medications. These are factors that your elderly family member cannot necessarily control but can learn to work around and manage. Addressing intrinsic fall risk factors can help your senior to reduce her fall risk and to feel safer in her own home. Over time, your senior can become stronger and less fearful of falling. Other factors may take longer to resolve, or your senior may need to use assistive tools in order to compensate. Occupational therapy can help her to do these things.


Managing Extrinsic Fall Risk Factors

Examples of extrinsic fall risk factors can include flooring issues, lack of proper lighting, clutter, and lack of handrails. These are factors that you and your senior may not immediately recognize as fall risk factors but handling them appropriately can significantly reduce your elderly family member’s likelihood of experiencing a fall. Some of these extrinsic factors may need to be continually reviewed to make sure that they’re not recurring factors in fall risk.

Occupational therapy can help to address other issues and concerns for your elderly family member as well. Issues with aphasia or trouble swallowing are just two of the possible concerns that an occupational therapist can work with your aging family member to improve. What matters most is that your senior is able to have the best possible quality of life and that she is as safe as possible in her chosen living situation and working with an occupational therapist can help with all of those goals.


If you or an aging loved-one is considering Occupational Therapy at Home in Old Bridge, NJ, or the surrounding area please contact the caring staff at Max Health & Wellness today. (732) 576-3550


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