Older man and woman cooking together in the kitchen.

An occupational therapist (OT) helps people with everyday tasks, known as activities of daily living (ADLs). These are things you do each day, like getting dressed, taking a bath and grooming yourself. OT treatment focuses on making sure you can do these activities independently. This might involve learning new ways to do things or using special tools called adaptive equipment, like a reacher or a sock aid, to make tasks easier.

If you feel that you are having challenges caring for yourself and/or are losing some of your independence in daily life, speak to your primary care provider.

Even if you’re currently managing ADLs well, it’s wise to prepare your home for successful aging in place. An OT can help assess your home environment and recommend modifications tailored to your needs. Consider the following questions:

  • Is your bedroom on the first floor of the home?
  • Are any of your rugs a trip hazard? Is your carpet a trip hazard?
  • Do you have an easy way to access your home? Do you have a no-step entry way into the home?
  • Are your doors wide enough to maneuver a wheelchair through them?
  • Do your chairs that have armrests?
  • Is your home cluttered? Do you step on items when walking through your hallways?
  • Do you have a walk-in shower? A walk-in shower is easier to access and reduces your risk of falling.
  • Do you have a place to sit in your walk-in shower, such as a shower chair?
  • Do you have a hand held showerhead so that you may sit to rinse off when tired?
  • Are there grab bars attached to the shower stall walls or near the toilet?

Aging in place focuses on ensuring safety and maintaining meaningful activities at home. If you are unsure about your home’s safety or accessibility, you can use resources like the Aging-in-Place Safe-at-Home Checklist  provided by the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Talk to your provider if you feel that your home is not set up to successfully age in place and consider asking for a referral to occupational therapy to discuss your home setup further, as well as learn about identification of compensatory or modification strategies or techniques, and adaptive equipment that may be beneficial.

Island Physical, Occupational & Speech Therapy is here to support your needs. Referrals are required for occupational therapy. Call 360.299.1328 for more information or to schedule an appointment.



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