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Does Occupational Therapy Apply to Parkinson's?

Many people associate occupational therapy to those who are working. But, it is actually for anyone, including Parkinson’s patients. Occupational Therapists are like speech and physical therapists in that they may be a key component of your overall therapy regimen if you have Parkinson's. When you think of the word, "occupation," it may be more helpful to think of the term "activity" as in activities of daily living.

Occupational Therapists identify strategies that allow you to continue doing the activities that are most important to you, or critical to living a quality life. Each person's journey with PD is different; an Occupational Therapist can understand your specific interests and priorities and map out ways in which you can conduct these activities with greater ease.

​Your physician or neurologist can refer you to an occupational therapist in your local area. It's especially important to work with an Occupational Therapist that understands Parkinson's. Some of the key areas they can assist with are understanding the activities you enjoy and finding products or solutions that make the overall activity more accommodating. They can also help you assess your home and environment to determine what products may be needed to enhance safety and prevent falls.

If an occupational therapist isn't available in your area, you do have the ability to be your own therapist. Here are some questions to ask yourself when it comes to adapting your activities and home environment more suitably to your Parkinson's condition.

  • What are your current strengths and limitations?

  • How can you support these strengths and limitations with activities that might improve endurance?

  • How can you adapt your surroundings to better support your chosen activities?

  • Are there adaptive devices, such as a tub seat to make showering safer or a swivel seat cushion to make getting in and out of the car easier?

  • Think about your social environment and the places you choose to go - what tools do you need to make those outings easier?

  • How can you adapt activities you enjoy so that you can keep participating in them?

​An Occupational Therapist is a great opportunity to help you assess your home, environment, and activities with recommended solutions to make your overall journey with Parkinson's safer and easier. Additionally, they can assist with exercises that promote overall better hand-eye coordination, which is needed daily, from brushing your teeth to eating. Many products are available to make your life easier with Parkinson's - let an Occupational Therapist be your guide.

​Just like Speech and Physical Therapists can be LSVT BIG Certified, Occupational Therapists can as well, meaning they have been through Parkinson's specific training and certification courses to best serve those living with PD. Click on the link below for a listing of certified LSVT Occupational Therapists in Alabama.


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