Serving the Underserved: Caring for People Who Are Both Old and Mentally Retarded: A Handbook for Caregivers

By Mary C. Howell; Deirdre G. Gavin et al. | Go to book overview

courage this by their patience and by providing a supportive environment.

Occupational therapists working with people who are mentally retarded and old should encourage their clients and provide them with a sense of self-worth and uniqueness. Program planning is one way in which occupational therapists can bring their creativity and knowledge of purposeful activity, adaptive equipment, therapeutic interventions, and environmental modifications to develop programs that have meaning to all who participate in them. These skills are also used to consult with staff, family, and administration on the changing needs of clients.

However, just as important as encouraging skills is the need to be an advocate. Occupational therapists should explain changes they see in their clients, but also should observe what remains the same. John's illness may prevent him from physically engaging in many activities; however, he still likes slapstick humor and watches the Three Stooges, likes classical music and hates rock and roll.

Occupational therapists must advocate for the fact that old does not mean sitting around watching television all day. The person with mental retardation who is old is capable of enjoying life to the fullest.


14
PHYSICAL THERAPY EVALUATION

Stephanie Bowen

Physical therapy services are utilized both in the generalized problems associated with normal aging, and in the specific problems associated with disease processes commonly occurring in old age.

A clinical specialty in geriatrics is not required in order to be able to address the needs of people with mental retardation who are old, but the norms and expected evaluation results are best analyzed, and

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