If your loved one is in an extended care facility, the services that they receive are second to none. With help with simple daily tasks to therapy with a licensed professional, your loved one deserves the best treatment there is. Within that setting, occupational therapists are trained to work with patients and their families. Occupational therapy in extended care living facilities is not only for those who have been diagnosed with a serious illness or injury, but also for people experiencing severe pain or disability. Occupational therapy can be used to treat any type of chronic condition or injury. It can also be used to treat conditions such as: Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, Parkinson’s Disease and many more. The goal of occupational therapy is to help your loved one live a healthy life by providing them with the tools and techniques that will help them achieve their goals and live their most independent life. 
Often, residents of an extended care facility may need help with simple tasks, or they may only need limited help with more difficult tasks. No matter the difficulty level, occupational therapists are there to help customize patient plans and learn to accomplish every task at their specific pace. The occupational therapist is responsible for helping the patient learn how to accomplish day to day tasks safely and effectively. When it comes to Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, the goal of occupational therapy for seniors is to help those who have trouble with everyday activities gain the independence to accomplish these tasks on their own. This includes helping them with things like:
-Dressing themselves
-Using the toilet independently
-Other grooming & Hygiene related tasks
An occupational therapist will often work in unison with physical therapists to assist in certain physical skill levels so the patient can begin to feel more confident and safe knowing that they can perform those maneuvers that may have been difficult before. The occupational therapists side of the spectrum can include upper body muscle strengthening, overall balance and endurance, splints for contracted muscles, pain management and more. In those abilities being learned/re-learned, they gain independence in their physical abilities that are necessary in completing basic everyday tasks. 
For those patients with Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, occupational therapy is an important part of their daily lives. Occupational therapists can help individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia by providing them with tools to improve cognitive function and cognitive functioning. The therapists will identify and help establish patterns with the patients, honing in on their procedural memory. Because this type of memory usually remains fairly stable, occupational therapy will rely heavily on this, while incorporating visual aids. These include visual aids that are used to assist the patient in remembering things they have seen or heard. These visual aids may be a picture, video clip, sound recording device or other visual aid. The therapist will also use pictures, diagrams and charts to help people understand what they are seeing. The more independent thinking the patient can establish, the more effective the treatment is. 
Aside from helping the patients within the extended care facility, occupational therapists also assist in training the other staff members in the area of occupational therapy. This includes: 

  • assisting with physical therapy 
  • assisting with occupational therapy skills such as hand-eye coordination and balance exercises 
  • knowing how to assist a patient with a problem that needs immediate attention 

These tools can not only better train the staff, but in doing so, the patients are also benefiting as well. In addition, occupational therapists can give critical insight and opinions into the architectural design of assisted living facilities that can be used for therapeutic purposes. 
Occupational therapy is crucial for patients in extended living facilities. In building physical strength, they also build confidence and independence, which is sometimes the most important skill for the elderly. If you want to know how occupational therapy can help your loved ones within an assisted living facility, Camelot Senior Living is ready to answer all of your questions and serve your loved ones with love and care.