Productive Aging Area For OT

The baby boomer generation has reached the retirement age and the aging population needs more healthcare services than ever. When an elderly reaches this age, the independence and functioning of the body is reduced. This results to weaker bodies, which makes it more susceptible to sickness and diseases. The US government is putting a lot of money in prevention and with the help of occupational therapy. The aging population can still regain their independence and basic functioning. This is the focus of the productive aging practice area in OT.

4 Emerging Areas Of Productive Aging

  • Community Mobility and Older Drivers- It is expected that Americans 65 years and older will double in number in the coming years. In 2000, the figure was only 35 million and this is expected to rise up to 72 million by 2030. Because of this, elder driving safety has become an issue. The older people are quite reluctant to stop driving because this is a sense of independence for them. However, safety is very important and occupational therapy can help with this.
  • Aging In Place and Home Modifications-The aging population wants to stay in their homes as much as possible rather than being left along in nursing homes. This is why occupational therapy is looking into the possibility of proving long-term care services, which will allow the older people to age in their own place. They are more comfortable and safe in their own homes too. This will enhance their quality of life, which is what occupational therapy is about. In order to do this, home modifications should be done.
  • Low Vision- 18% of the aging population suffers from low vision. In addition, 30% of the population aged, 85 years old and up suffers from this. Low vision is a visual impairment, which may need the use of medication, eyeglasses, contact lenses or surgery. Occupational therapists who work with old patients should address this low vision issue because it affects the daily functioning of the patient. The goal is to keep the old people safe and independent but with low vision, this will be hard.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia-The government is now giving the same attention to Alzheimer’s disease just like for AIDS and cancer. Now, 5.3 million of Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease and this will triple by the year 2030. Proper prevention is needed. Moreover, occupational therapists will work harder to help patients suffering from this health condition to improve their lives as much as possible.

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