Occupations of Elders…last post of the night, I almost promise

I’m almost done sharing new insights from lectures/readings and more. Now I’m caught up.

Today we discussed the Occupations of Elders. We talked about accessibility and how cruises are a popular destination for the elderly because the cruises are so accessible in terms of ramps, wide halls, etc. Also, that wellness & prevention are very important, and that elders shouldn’t automatically accept “You feel this way because you are old” as a legitimate answer from a doctor. Sometimes it’s true, but sometimes it’s a lot more than that.

We discussed how elderly tend to be vulnerable to solicitations and advertisements, like for supplements that promise to give you energy – and how that can be dangerous when they are already on a bunch of other drugs! Also, the elderly metabolize drugs differently.

We talked about how ideally the elderly would be seen by gerontologists, geriatric consultants, and such – since the elderly have specific and unique issues.

One thing I thought was cool is she pointed out that a lot of times, nurses or CNAs or whatever, will bring a tray of food into the room for the elderly person, then leave, without setting it up at all in any way. Many elderly people can’t handle all the opening of food containers, arranging the food, cutting up the food, feeding themselves…and so then the assistant comes back in to collect the tray and it is uneaten and they report that the elder has no appetite…when in reality it may be the person just didn’t get the help he/she needed. I thought that was an interesting and important point. I know that when I followed an OT in a rehab hospital, she always offered to help set up the food for the patient, as needed.

We also talked about how important it is to reminisce – try to find things from decades past to talk about, or show….old movies, old songs, old products, whatever. Memories are so important.

Hmmm…we talked about lots of other things – how the elderly enjoy a lot of the same leisure everyone else does, their roles, what they can be vulnerable to, their attitudes, medication, and more. It’s very fascinating.

It will be interesting to see how society adapts to there being so many more older people alive than ever before – maybe we’ll see things in bigger text, with more contrast, better handrails and ramp access, wheelchair acceptance….the list goes on and on.

Ok…I think I’m caught up. Hope some of this was interesting to some of you. The thing I love most about OT is the diversity. We can work with anyone – a newborn, a five year old, a teen, an adult, an elder….we have something to offer them all. Work hardening, burn-care, education, hand therapy, handwriting, development, injuries, consultation, advocacy, efficiency, geriatric help…we can potentially do it all.

Jan 25, 2008 | Category: Occupational Therapy | Comments: none

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