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Balancing Act... /
A Balancing Act: Simple Steps to Help
Seniors See the Need for Home Modifications
By Mary Becker-Omvig, MS, OTR/Lfa
What are you not doing now that you used
to be able to do, or that you still want to do?
What are the reasons you donít do those things?
Which feel unsafe and which are you unable to do?
Itís important to problem-solve together. If you
strongly impose your own ideas, they run the risk of
being ignored. Approach the subject by letting your
family members know that you are concerned about their
health and safety and assure them that you donít assume
that getting older means self-awareness and
understanding are diminished.
3. Consult a Professional
The truth is, no matter how prepared you might be, no
matter what kind of approach you take, you should count
on a certain amount of resistance to your offer of help.
A soft, patient approach is key, but in the end, it may
not be all that is required.
An occupational therapist can match an environment to a
personís abilities so they can do what they want and
need to do at home. The occupational therapistís unique,
three-pronged approach Ė looking at the person, the task
and the environment Ė results in an individualized
assessment that matches a personís physical and
cognitive abilities to the features of the physical
environment allowing them to do what they want and need
to do. It enables people to live what they consider to
be full and meaningful lives.
To be honest, while utilizing the resources of an
occupational therapist may provide enormous benefit to
your loved one, it also relieves an enormous amount of
pressure from the caregiver. The external professional
can come in and ask questions in a way that produces the
kind of responses that help lead to the development of
an action plan.
An OT can walk into the home and immediately begin to
identify what a person is doing well and can emphasize
the personís success. For example, she might say, ďI
notice you have cleared everything out which really
helps in preventing falls. Are there other areas that
you would like to focus on?Ē