May The Force Be With You! 3 Tips to Aging Strong With Occupational Therapy

What do Star Wars creator George Lucas, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and diesel mechanic and AgeSTRONG Care at Home client Doug Hinkle have in common?

They’ve all experienced The Force –– the back-to-life breakthroughs that come from working with an occupational therapist after a physical or mental set-back.


What is Occupational Therapy?

Occupational therapy is a medical profession – based on research and evidence – that helps people of all ages get back to performing their daily activities, despite temporary or long term mental, physical or cognitive challenges. Life-disruptions like hospital stays, strokes, falls, memory loss, injuries or emotional distress, often make us lose the skills we need to do the things we love and those that keep us independent and strong: personal hygiene care, safely moving about our homes, enjoying our favorite hobbies, continue driving our cars, effectively communicating or safely managing medications.

Occupational therapists help us regain our life skills.

For George Lucas, that meant performing better at school and later, creating movie magic –– despite his dyslexia. For Michael Phelps it meant improving his fine motor skills –– and later, winning Olympic gold.

And for Doug Hinkle that meant returning to his home and his mechanic’s shop, after a devastating stroke.


What Matters Most to You?

After his stroke and lengthy hospital stay, Doug moved to Marquis Newberg where he began post-acute rehabilitation with occupational therapist, Michelle Wood. True to our therapists’ mission, Michelle asked Doug, “what matters most to you?”

Mission accomplished when Michelle’s OT strategies not only enabled Doug to move back home, but back to his shop where he’s taking on small projects for customers.

And because AgeSTRONG therapists can follow clients from their rehab facilities and back to their homes, Doug is continuing his OT in the comfort of his house and shop –– what matters most to him!


3 Tips to Getting the Most Out of Your Occupational Therapy

As part of April’s Occupational Therapy Month and this year’s theme, “Bring Possibilities Back to Life” we’re sharing three ways you can experience the rehabilitative force of OT. These tips come from Lori Taylor, OTR/L, MBA, one of Consonus Rehab’s highly educated and experienced occupational therapists and the President of the Occupational Therapy Association of Oregon.

“Occupational therapists are problem solvers!” says Lori. “We love partnering with seniors to help them successfully age in place and, despite a setback, continue doing what they love most. Here are three ways you can succeed.”

Tip #1 Be Transparent Regarding What Matters Most To You

“Those of us in the occupational therapy profession, pride ourselves on being client centered. From our baseline analysis to our treatments and discharge planning, every aspect of OT care is rooted in driving what matters most to you, our client. So, before we embark on your wellness journey, we encourage you to take plenty of time for reflection on what you want and what you envision for your future. It’s vital we have honest communications regarding your daily activities and hobbies. Then we can create your unique program that leads to success. Your OT will be mindful and considerate of any evolving realities.”


Tip #2 Stay Open to the Possibilities

“Your occupational therapy practitioner is an innovator and problem solver! From trying an adaptive tool so you can dress independently, to establishing a strength-based program for better balance, occupational therapists can offer unique solutions to issues you may be facing. Stay open to the possibilities!”


Tip #3 Commit to the Program

“You are the key to your success! It’s important you follow the program and all recommendations outlined in your OT session. Current research shows that OT can significantly reduce re-hospitalizations. By establishing client centered routines and identifying solutions for both fall reduction and medication management, following your OT program will keep you safe and healthy!”


And may the OT Force be with you!