Occupational Therapy a Way for Seniors to Improve Skills and Relax

Knitting is Good for Seniors

Occupational Therapy for Seniors has Nothing to do with Having an Occupation

The main goal of occupational therapy is to raise the quality of life in seniors stricken with various diseases, disabilities and cognitive problems by engaging them in beneficial activities to keep their minds and fingers busy in order to have a better quality of life.

Helps to Restore Lost Motor Skills

Occupational therapy can engage seniors in relaxing and enjoyable hand crafts to help restore lost motor skills in seniors with Parkinson’s disease, arthritis or after a stroke. The repetitive hand and finger motions used in knitting, crocheting, quilting, embroidery, French knitting and some kinds of woven ornamentation can help with brain eye hand coordination. Simple weaving like making a woven pot holder can be very therapeutic and a lot of fun.

Hand Crafts Help to Reduce Anxiety, Stress, Depression and Lower Blood Pressure

The fact that these kinds of crafts have survived in popularity for thousands of years may be that they are so relaxing. Studies have shown actually that these kinds of activities reduce anxiety, stress and lower blood pressure. They also help combat depression.

Minimizes Aches and Pains and Improves Socialization

Hand crafts also help take the minds of seniors off of their aches and pains, especially if they are in a lively group of like-minded people enjoying themselves and showing off their lovely hand-made things to each other.

Helps Prevent Cognitive Decline – Reminiscent Therapy for Memory Loss

The repetitive hand motions also help to prevent cognitive decline. In some cases long forgotten skills come back and there are also instances where hand crafts have a kind of reminiscent therapy for those with memory loss and dementia.


Bingo always is popular as are card games. Even playing solitaire can get the mind and hands to work better together. These also can overlap with recreational therapy.

The Computer Age

Besides all kinds of crafts, occupational therapists have all kinds of software and computer games and programs to also help with memory loss, prevent cognitive decline and just have a good relaxing time.

Cooking and Baking

This is a very enjoyable way to spend time by making pizza, cookies, cakes and decorating them. When someone who has been afflicted with a stroke can turn out a cake or a batch of cookies it not only helps to restore lost skills, but also boosts self-esteem.

Gardening Therapy

Even a frail senior in a wheel chair can plant some seeds in a pot and care for them as they sprout and grow. More vigorous outdoor gardening therapy is becoming a separate therapeutic treatment. Please see our blog from March 7, 2018 about Gardening Therapy.

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing

The Van Duyn Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing overlooking Syracuse NY has great occupational therapy programs under skilled therapists. They offer both short-term and long-term rehabilitation and nursing. Nearby hospitals and health centers are:

St. Joseph’s Health

Community-general Hospital of Greater Syracuse

Crouse Hospital

Upstate University Hospital


Occupational therapy is a part of the daily life for many seniors that are in short and long-term rehab and care facilities. When you go to check out a residential rehab center for your loved one be sure to ask to see what kind of occupational therapy options they have.


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