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Aging is a stage that is well known for wisdom and dignity. It begins at the age of 65 and above, when the individual has lived many experiences, has fulfilled many missions and roles and tends to enjoy his time with his family in his home. But sometimes during this stage the individual's body functions may start to decline making his daily tasks hard to complete. Here comes the role of the occupational therapist who works with elderly to improve their quality of life.











The Department of Occupational Therapy for the elderly focuses on the needs of the individual to help him achieve the highest level of independence, overcome obstacles, and adapt to life. Most importantly, an occupational therapist helps to enhance individuals' performance of daily activities and functions such as motor, social, and mental functions. The occupational therapist also believes that the elderly’s participation in voluntary, productive, social activities and interactions is important for achieving a healthy life. In addition, he helps the elder to adapt and manage his healthy life along with its challenges, and participate in activities that allow him to express himself.

Helping the elderly to perform daily activities independently, including sleep

  2. Instrumental daily life activities such as medication management, taking care of others and community mobility and accessibility.

  3. Improve physical abilities of individuals such as movement coordination, balance, and strength.

  4. Avoid the risk of falling

  5. Improve their memory or use strategies to compensate for the weakness

  6. Modify the home environment

  7. Help compensate for poor vision or hearing

  8. Provide assistance & guidance to caregivers

  9. Breathing or relaxation exercises

  10. Give guidance regarding urinary incontinence

  11. Driving

  12. Suggest Assistive devices for adaptation

The occupational therapist takes a holistic view of the person, taking into account the influence of his strengths and weaknesses on the completion of tasks, and the influence of the surrounding environment on the correct response and the individual’s desire to participate in the task.

So, the therapist's role begins with:

  1. Assessing the condition of the elder

  2. Assessing the extent of the barriers that impede an individual's completion of an activity

  3. Developing an appropriate treatment plan that may include:


The role of occupational therapy with the elderly:

  • Maintaining an individual’s current level of function

  • Restoring previous level of function if possible, by:

    • Providing exercises and training on specific skills

  • Adapting some activities to suit an individual’s needs, by:

    • Modifying some activities, introducing new activities, or suggesting some assistive tools that assist the elderly to perform their daily life activities in the simplest way possible

    • Providing advices and suggestions to make the home an appropriate environment for the individual's health, and this can be done by reducing the movement barriers that hinder the elderly

  • Preventing deterioration of the performance by avoiding some positions and movements, by:

    • Educating the elderly on some methods of preventing falls, etc.

As part of the normal development of a person, some functions decline, such as vision, hearing, immunity, memory, attention and others, which affects the individual functioning of daily activities. As a result, this may make them tense, angry or even embarrassed. Therefore, the occupational therapist provides the appropriate treatment for these natural declines.

As much as we care about the elder, we as well we provide care for the caregiver

as he needs to have a balance between his individual needs and the elder's needs. And that includes:

  • Demonstrating and providing appropriate instructions and guidance

  • Educating the caregiver about the importance of elder’s valued tasks and the consequences of eliminating them

  • Positions that facilitate the performance of required tasks

  • Providing psychological support

  •  Suggesting home modifications:

    • Home visit allows the occupational therapist to have an opportunity to take a comprehensive and real view of the elder’s life in his home, which is his primary environment. The occupational therapist knowledge about some details such as the number of family members, the area of the house, the number of rooms, available tools, the movement and participation of the elder, the strengths and weaknesses in performing the tasks, and other things helps him to apply some modifications to reduce the risks of fall and to improve medication management or he might give the individual a home program.

The occupational therapy department receives many cases, such as recurrent falls, Parkinson’s, chest infections, dementia or individuals who suffer from lack of sleep or nutrition (those who do not eat) for a period of time in  in Mubarak Hospital and others. Also, we have a role with elderly that has neurological or psychological issues whether in metal health hospital or neurology departments of several hospitals like Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Hospital, Ibn Sina Hospital, etc.(Look at the map)

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