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The Benefits of Maintaining an Occupational Therapy Routine Throughout the Winter


Posted on: January 6th, 2021 by | No Comments

Occupational therapy programs are highly effective at boosting motor skills and enhancing a person’s ability to perform self-care activities. During winter, it’s crucial for patients to maintain an occupational therapy routine – and NewAldaya Lifescapes explains why.

Equipment Adaptivity

Occupational Therapists (OTs) offer adaptive equipment suggestions to patients. And whether this equipment is related to helping the patient learn how to dress following hip surgery, or mastering ways to maintain safety in the bathroom, it must adapt not just with the patient’s improvement but also the time of year. An icy stairway might require modifications to make it safe for use, and likewise, an OT might focus on a patient wanting to shovel or use a snowblower. Whatever the case, practice makes perfect and it’s important that the patient maintains this seasonal routine so that it becomes muscle memory.

Caregiver Training

Over the winter and especially during the holidays, a patient might spend extended time with friends and family. In response, the OT will need to implement a plan for both the patient and family members to practice – for example, how to support a patient when walking on a slick sidewalk, how to prep a hot shower, and reinforcement of the general routine related to sleeping, dressing, eating, and using the bathroom. Then, when the OT is out of the picture, it4’s up to the patient and their family to stick with this “winter routine” so that the patient remains comfortable and confident throughout the day.

Cognitive Skills

Whether for inpatient or outpatient occupational therapy, cognitive skills hold year-round importance. Cognitive skills are required to pay bills, order items online, organize a daily calendar, do puzzles, and much more. Many of these tasks take place just as frequently in winter as they do any other time of year, and it’s equally important to practice them in order to enhance cognitive skills such as organization, attention, problem solving, and reasoning.

Strength and Exercise

Exercise and strength activities are commonplace in Occupational Therapy, and they’re important to engage in all year. It’s the responsibility of the OT to creatively implement activities and exercises designed to build upon the individual’s current abilities in order to improve autonomy. What’s feasible in the summer may not be so in winter, which is why the patient and OT must work together on seasonal, novel activities that continue the patient’s progress towards increasing overall health. This is arguably most important in the winter when cold temps and short days require patients to be kept interested and challenged.

Independence

Independence is of course the end-goal of every Occupational Therapy patient, and the attainment of independence should be enough motivation for patients to maintain their routine during the winter. All of the specific self-care skills that an OT and patient work together on – eating, dressing, toileting, bathing, etc. – are just as important in December as they are in July. A 12-month, 24/7 commitment to the routine created by the OT is essential.

Contact Us Today

As one of the leading senior living facilities near Cedar Falls, NewAldaya Lifescapes employs highly trained OTs who understand the importance of focusing on the individual as a whole, while providing the support and insights valued by the patient’s family. Contact us today and let’s talk about how we can realize your Occupational Therapy goals.