How does occupational therapy help me with activities of daily living?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Osteoarthritis (OA) occurs when the cartilage that supports and cushions the joints of the hands, spine, hips and knees wears away, causing bones to rub against each other. This leads to debilitating pain, stiffness and reduced mobility that can make it difficult to perform activities of daily living.

An occupational therapist (OT) can recommend adjustments to furniture and fixtures, to make it easier and safer for you to get around the home and perform daily tasks without assistance. The OT may suggest moving furniture to create plenty of space to walk around, adding a non-slip carpet pad or double-sided tape to the underside of a rug to keep the edges from curling up, removing clutter from the floor and keeping lamp cords tucked away, making sure rooms and stairways are well-lit, and adding back and neck support to chairs, sofas and beds.

Occupational therapists may also recommend installing a raised toilet seat, replacing your tub with a walk-in model or with a shower stall, and adding sturdy handrails on staircases and in bathrooms. 

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)
An occupational therapist (OT) specializes in helping people learn how to manage well in everyday life despite limitations, such as osteoarthritis (OA). Your OT can teach you new ways to perform the normal activities of daily living, such as getting dressed or making a meal, that put less stress on your painful joints. Your OT can also show you how to use assistive and adaptive devices that make daily life easier. You can even get toothbrushes with thicker handles that are easier on arthritic hands! OTs are also experts in making the simple changes to your home that make living with OA easier.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.