What’s the Difference Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy for Seniors?

Difference Between Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy for Seniors?

Both physical therapy and occupational therapy are integral components of a senior rehabilitation program, helping individuals maximize their abilities and maintain the highest level of independence possible. However, there’s generally some confusion surrounding these two forms of therapy, which are often prescribed simultaneously following an illness, injury or surgery. Some people may even think they are one in the same, when in fact they work together and complement each other.

Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Programs for Seniors

Physical therapy and occupational therapy do have some similarities, but they are very different in certain aspects. While both allow individuals to lead more active, healthier lives, they are necessary for varying reasons. Let’s take a closer look at both forms, as well as the benefits they provide to older adults.

Physical Therapy for Seniors

Physical therapy is probably the better-known version of these two types of therapy. Physical therapy services are provided within a hospital, rehabilitation center, skilled nursing center, outpatient health care center, or even in one’s home. The goal of a physical therapy program is to improve strength, balance, and mobility so individuals can move about easily and safely while also decreasing their pain levels.

Physical therapy is most often needed following an elective surgery like a knee or hip replacement, to help individuals recover from an accident like a fall, or to provide relief from chronic conditions like osteoporosis or osteoarthritis.

The benefits of participating in physical therapy for seniors include a speedier recovery time, as strength and mobility may improve at a quicker pace. Additionally, participants experience a decrease in their overall pain and an improvement in their balance and endurance. Physical therapy can help you not only get back to the healthy lifestyle you enjoy, but it can also help enhance your overall quality of life.

Occupational Therapy for Seniors

Occupational therapy emerged in the United States around a century ago as a treatment to help people improve certain life skills, restore abilities, and maintain the level of independence they are accustomed to. Occupational therapists design individualized programs that focus on adapting one’s environment to their lifestyle through the completion of specific exercises, as well as meaningful activities that promote participation in daily life. In other words, the goal of occupational therapy is to enable individuals to better complete everyday tasks like dressing, eating and bathing.

Individuals often participate in occupational therapy following an illness or injury, and it also plays an important role in stroke recovery. Additionally, occupational therapy can improve the lives of those dealing with cognitive issues, like individuals in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and other mental, psychological and physical changes.

The main benefit of occupational therapy for seniors and other individuals is restoring their independence to allow them to be less reliant on others to complete those activities of daily life. Occupational therapists are able to provide the right tools to make caring for oneself easier, and they can also suggest making certain modifications to the home to ensure a safe environment.

Our Mission is Your Recovery at ACV Rehab at Advent Christian Village

Find excellence in individualized short- and long-term rehabilitation at Advent Christian Village. We offer inpatient, outpatient, and home health care, with one-on-one treatment from licensed, caring professionals. Learn more about how our team is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of our patients with innovative physical, occupational and speech therapies. Contact us to schedule a tour or to request more information.

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