Gerontology is the study of aging, and the various processes, aspects and challenges associated with it as adults reach the later stages of life. As an occupational therapy assistant, you can help members of this population reclaim or maintain their independence and quality of life, whether through assisting them with tasks like dressing, cleaning, moving into a wheelchair from their bed, or helping prepare meals.
In a medical context, geriatrics zeroes in on how to care for members of the elderly population properly and effectively. Occupational therapy can help older clients maintain as much of their independence as they can, even if their mobility is limited or they currently live in a long-term care facility such as a nursing home. Here’s why learning about gerontology is such an important step in succeeding as an occupational therapy assistant.
Occupational Therapy Helps Older People Maintain Independence and Avoid Health Risks
There are many ways in which occupational therapy can be a boon for your elderly clients, not the least of which includes how they can maintain their independence and personal freedom. This is especially since older adults may have various medical needs of a complex nature and require assistance from an occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistant. Additionally, their ability to carry out day-to-day tasks may be impeded by age-related factors.
During your career, you’ll be monitoring the progress of older clients under an occupational therapist’s supervision. You’ll help clients reach certain goals while keeping their safety a top priority. For example, you and the occupational therapist you work under can help these adults come up with strategies to avoid problems related to balance or mobility. This could include eliminating risks inside the home that could cause falls, such as rugs, unlit hallways, or stairs without railings. You’ll be helping find solutions to help older clients maintain or regain their autonomy, which is one of the most satisfying aspects of being an occupational therapy assistant. In order to better help you care for this particular population, you’ll learn about gerontology during your occupational therapy assistant program.
Working with This Population Can Boost Their Morale and Quality of Life
To become an occupational therapy assistant, it’s important to work towards a goal of improving clients’ quality of life and overall sense of happiness, as well as to help them make up for certain personal restrictions, such as mobility, preparing meals, or issues with motor skills. Working closely with a senior citizen in this way can also help build a solid relationship between you and the client.
This will also allow you to practice your strong communication and interpersonal skills in order to succeed in the field, regardless of the age of your clients. While an elderly client may not be able to care for themselves the way they used to, having a caring, empathetic occupational therapy assistant around to help them can improve their morale and make things that much easier for them.
Do you want to take an occupational therapist assistant course?
Contact KLC College for more information!