Manage at Home
Whether you’re in your own home or in a long-term care home, OTs can help you live safely and independently. OTs take the time to get to know you, your physical, mental and social skills, your support system and the place where you live so they can come up with ways to help you live a full life. OT made all the difference for 78-year-old Betty, an active member of her community until a series of falls made her too nervous to leave home. Thanks to her OT, Betty felt more confident being at home and in her community. Read Betty’s story.
Ask your OT to help you with:
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Your OT can help you or your family member gain skills that support independence in doing daily tasks such as:
- dressing, bathing or grooming
- getting in and out of bed
- answering the phone
- controling the lights in your home
- getting help if you fall
- managing a budget
- coping with a busy family schedule
An OT can also help children develop independence and contribute to daily family life with strategies such as learning to do household chores and enjoying family play activities.
Your OT may break down daily activities into smaller steps to make them easier, or suggest adaptive devices and mobility equipment such as a bath seat or a walker. Changes to your home or long-term care residence may be needed to reduce risk or distraction, and support services may be brought in to help.
Changes to your home
To improve your safety or make it easier for you to function on your own, your OT will find out if there are any changes needed to your home such as:
- grab bars in the bathroom
- wheelchair ramps
- porch lifts
If you are thinking of renovating your home to make it more accessible, your OT can work with you and your architect or contractor to make sure the changes you’re planning will meet your specific needs.
If you have problems with stress or concentration, an OT can help you to create an environment with fewer distractions.
Your OT will work with you and your support systems to come up with effective solutions to help you or your family member manage regular housekeeping tasks such as meal preparation, vacuuming the carpet, or doing the laundry.
Leisure and play
Illness, living alone and disability can prevent you from doing the things you love. An OT can help people of all ages find ways to take part in leisure activities, sports, socializing with friends, and play.
Healthy aging at home
An important factor in seniors’ health is their ability to look after themselves and take part in meaningful activities. Your OT can help you or a family member live safely and independently at home for as long as possible. For example, by looking at your home’s safety and accessibility, your OT can provide solutions that will keep seniors safe and active. OTs can also identify and address any issues with thinking, remembering or reasoning that may make it harder to perform everyday tasks.
Support / consultation to family and caregivers
If you’re a relative or caregiver for someone with a disability, chronic disease, age-related limitations or dementia, then an OT can offer some much-needed support and education. Your OT can provide training on techniques for safe lifting, bathing or dressing, and share knowledge to promote independence and enable family members to help provide care. An OT can also help caregivers manage stress and prevent burnout, as well as suggest ways to manage the behaviour of people with dementia or mental health problems.
Is your home a long-term care home? OTs are there too
OTs also work in long-term care homes. In fact, rules in Ontario require long-term care homes to give residents access to the OT services they need, such as:
- assessments to find mobility and seating solutions (such as special chairs and wheelchairs)
- treatment to help people manage self-care, such as feeding, dressing and grooming
- seating and positioning solutions to help in wound management
- supports and recommendations to help manage the behaviour of people living with dementia or reduced cognitive ability