Occupational Therapists and Your Home
by Gina Kroetsch, Occupational Therapist, Executive Certificate in Home Modification
Home modifications are changes people make to their homes in order to optimize their overall function as it relates to disability or aging. This is different from a renovation or remodelling which focuses on aesthetics, as its goal is to adapt the living environment to support independence and safety in everyday activities. Home modification can be minor (installing wall grab bars or using a bath seat) or major (installing wheelchair lifts or a curb-less shower).
An occupational therapist (OT) is an important member of your home modification team. An OT is a university trained, regulated health professional with expertise in person-environment-occupation fit. An OT uses a client-centred approach together with knowledge of disability and aging to assess how you perform your daily activities (“occupations”) around the house, (e.g. dressing, bathing or cooking). An OT listens to what is meaningful to you and assesses how physical, cognitive and emotional impairments affect your ability to perform these activities. An OT then uses all of this knowledge to adapt the home environment to best support your independence and safety when performing your daily activities.
An OT works with building and design professionals to provide recommendations for changes or adaptations made to your home environment to ensure the best fit for your unique situation and needs. An OT will also assist you with accessing any funding options through the government or private insurance on your behalf.
Ask about adding an OT to your home modification team!