Let occupational therapy help you

By Leanne Wolters, WoltersL@Findlay.edu

Many people know that April showers bring May flowers; however, most don’t know that April is also National Occupational Therapy month.

To those who don’t know, occupational therapy helps individuals get back to the daily activities they want to or need to do by helping them achieve physical, emotional and social goals. Occupational therapists treat clients across their lifespan to help them engage in meaningful activities, like taking care of themselves and their families, volunteering, working, going to school and participating in leisure activities, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Since occupational therapists look at the whole person and create treatment plans that support each clients’ unique needs, they differ from other healthcare providers. They assist clients in creating and establishing healthy habits and routines, while helping them adapt and modify daily activities to promote the most safety and independence, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Occupational therapists work with clients in many different avenues of life. They help clients who have challenges with daily routine activities like getting dressed, eating and bathing. They assist clients with daily life in the home and community activities, such as being able to care for children, manage their house, shop and prepare meals. Occupational therapy can also work with clients to improve their health management abilities, including helping them build routines to manage medications, communicate in the health care system and manage conditions and symptoms. Occupational therapy can also benefit individuals who may have difficulty in engaging in sleep or rest, play, and social participation, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Benefits from occupational therapy include improving health and symptom management, recovering from illness or injury, building healthy habits and routines, reestablishing and strengthening roles, and adding more meaning to daily life. Therapists assist clients to become more independent in daily activities and routines.

To help their clients in the best way possible, the therapists get to know clients in their entirety and within their environments, which helps them to better modify tasks and environments to meet clients at their current ability levels. This helps clients progress in their therapy process and achieve their goals, which ultimately leads to better health outcomes.

Occupational therapy also works with clients in all avenues of their lives and does not just focus on physical health. Mental health plays a huge role in occupational therapy. Occupational therapists can help teach clients coping skills and stress management strategies to decrease the negative effects of mental health challenges, according to Very Well Health.

This type of healthcare meets clients where they are and establishes treatment plans that best support each client’s needs. Occupational therapy helps clients find their motivation, meaning, strengths and challenge areas in their lives, so that they can better engage in the necessary and desired occupations of daily life.