Occupational therapy can help people learn how to perform essential daily tasks after experiencing or recovering from a debilitating illness or injury.
Occupational therapy is a service that helps you adapt to everyday life when a health situation affects your ability to do routine daily tasks. It can teach you new ways to carry out tasks. It can help you regain old skills you may have lost. It can also teach you how to use wheelchairs and walking canes to make it easier for you to get around.
Losing your ability to do things on your own can be extremely frustrating. It can end up taking a significant toll on your confidence and independence. This therapy aims to help you overcome these challenges by making you more mobile and independent. It can also improve your quality of life.
Here are the top 10 reasons to seek occupational therapy. We also provide information about contacting Lompoc Valley Medical Center when you’re ready to learn more about our occupational medicine services.
1. You Are Recovering From An Injury
Injuries from contact sports or auto accidents may require several months or years of recovery. During that time, you’ll need to learn how to get around and carry out tasks on your own until your body has fully healed. This is important if you do not live with relatives or have a nurse who can help you in the meantime.
You may need this therapy if your injury prevents you from getting dressed, taking a shower, or driving a car. Your therapist can teach you how to do these tasks in specific ways that won’t worsen your injury or delay your healing. You may also learn how to carry out tasks without experiencing pain.
2. You Recently Had a Stroke
A stroke or brain injury can often affect your motor skills, strength, and range of motion. Many people who suffer from brain conditions may need long-term therapy before regaining independence. Having a stroke can lower your confidence. It can also make you feel frustrated when daily tasks become too overwhelming.
If you have had a stroke, an occupational therapist can help you change your home or living space to make it safer. They can teach you how to do specific tasks that have become more confusing or difficult for you to do. Buttoning a shirt, tying shoes, and heating a meal are tasks that can be challenging after a stroke. Occupational therapy after a stroke may last six months or longer. This usually depends on the severity of your stroke and recovery progress.
3. You Want To Avoid An Assisted-Living Community
As you grow older, health problems like joint pain and poor vision can make it more difficult for you to do things independently without help. In these cases, your family members may suggest that you move into an assisted living community. Nurses and staff in these communities will usually check in on you regularly to make sure you’re doing okay. They will also help you do tasks that you think are too difficult.
Occupational therapy can help you avoid moving into an assisted living community. If your goal is to maintain your independence and keep living at home, this therapy may be your ideal solution. It can prevent the need to move as long as you keep doing tasks safely without putting yourself or others at risk.
4. You Are Suffering From Dementia
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can make it hard for you to do things that require a good memory. Dementia can cause memory loss to make your life more difficult. Driving to and from the store and paying bills on time are tasks that become harder to do if you have dementia.
Occupational therapy for dementia usually involves making changes to your home in ways that can stimulate your memory. It may also include updating your home with gadgets and appliances that prevent accidents. For example, your therapist can help you put appliances in your kitchen that automatically turn off. This can prevent a fire if you forget you were cooking something.
5. You Have Started Using An Assistive Device
Wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers are some of the many assistive devices that can take some time to get used to. It can help to have someone around who can show you how to do everyday tasks while using these devices.
Your therapist can show you how to use assistive devices correctly and efficiently. They can also help you rearrange your home to fit large devices like wheelchairs and walkers.
6. You Have Arthritis Or Chronic Pain
Pain conditions like arthritis can often make it impossible to do certain tasks without feeling severe pain. If you have arthritis, your therapist can show you how to do things that protect your joints. They can also show you how to do tasks without making your pain worse.
Arthritis is a chronic condition that can often last a lifetime. If you have arthritis, working with your therapist can prevent you from feeling pain in every type of everyday situation and scenario. This therapy can improve your quality of life and make arthritis far more bearable.
7. You Have Or Are Recovering From Cancer
Fatigue, pain, and poor memory are common symptoms if you have cancer or are in recovery. Swelling, numbness, or tingling in the limbs is also common among those with cancer or recovery. All these symptoms can make it harder for you to do your usual activities and complete everyday tasks.
Your therapist can help you manage your daily life if side effects from treatments or cancer make you feel more weak or tired than usual. This therapy can also help you improve your mental wellness if cancer has caused you to suffer from chronic stress. Your therapy may also help you overcome depression or anxiety.
8. You Have a Severe Mental Illness
People with mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia can have psychotic episodes. Psychotic episodes can lead to self-harm, violence, or suicide. These mental illnesses may also cause other symptoms like hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. Symptoms like these can be challenging to manage and control without help.
In some cases, a mental illness like major depressive disorder or panic disorder can become severe to the point it prevents you from being able to do routine daily tasks. You may benefit from this therapy if you have a severe mental illness that affects your ability. It can also help if you want to become more independent.
Your therapist can teach you new healthy habits and behaviors that allow you to manage and control your symptoms. They can also help you improve your social skills. This will enable you to interact more confidently and comfortably with others in your community.
Mental health disorders are chronic, long-term conditions. Therefore, working with your therapist can be vital to having a healthier, safer lifestyle with your condition.
9. You Have Lost a Limb
Diabetes, car accidents, and cancer are common situations and conditions that can cause you to lose a limb. Losing a limb usually requires you to use a cane or wheelchair. You will need to adjust to an entirely new lifestyle after losing a limb.
This therapy can teach you how to live your life efficiently and independently without a limb. In addition to helping you adjust to your new health status, your therapist will address your mental and emotional health. This whole-person health approach helps ensure you experience a positive overall recovery.
10. You Have Lost Your Vision
Blindness and vision problems will often require learning to do things using all your other senses. Touching and hearing become more vital when you lose your vision.
Your therapist will train you to use special audio equipment and magnifying devices. They can help you change your home by removing clutter and furniture that can cause safety problems. They can also install labels around the house that allow you to identify specific objects. Your therapist will work with you to develop everyday strategies related to traveling, cooking, and bathing without relying on eyesight.
Occupational Therapy Can Be Customized
If you are thinking about receiving this therapy for your health condition, it’s essential to know that it will always be customized for your unique situation. Your therapist will focus on the areas you need the most help with and that you find most challenging. This therapy aims to improve your overall quality of life and your health condition, if possible.
Occupational Therapy With Lompoc Valley Medical Center
Lompoc Valley Medical Center offers occupational therapy for various health and medical conditions, including cancer, dementia, stroke, etc. Our large team of doctors and healthcare workers will be more than happy to discuss this therapy with you in more detail. We can also talk about how it can benefit you based on your condition.
Contact us today at (805) 737-3382 to learn more about this therapy and our many other healthcare services.