The Aging Workforce: How Occupational Therapists Aid Older Factory EmployeesWendy Grieco
As the American workforce ages, employees are staying employed far longer than in generations past. The result is that aging workers often face unique challenges that occupational therapists need to understand.
Fortunately, occupational therapists can help aging factory workers so they continue performing to the best of their abilities in spite of changes consistent with aging. Occupational therapy continuing education is the critical component in better understanding these challenges and aiding older employees.
Occupational Therapists Understand Challenges
The first step to helping employees meet their challenges head-on is to make every attempt to understand them. A variety of changes come with aging, including those linked to vision, strength, endurance, balance, and fluidity of movement. These changes require adaptations in work style, equipment use, and even social support. Occupational therapists look for ways to aid these adaptations.
One way to understand these challenges is to socialize with clients. Communication and openness create an environment in which clients feel comfortable discussing the effects of aging while on the job. Learning social skills that build such an atmosphere is useful.
Occupational Therapists Focus on Ergonomics
The role of occupational therapists is to focus on changing the context of an organization, often by focusing on aspects like social support. They also focus on altering the environment of the job by designing and modifying new tools catered to older employees. Ergonomics often allow aging employees to perform the same tasks with the same ease they once did.
Occupational Therapists Aid Injury Recovery
The role of an occupational therapist is often to aid injured employees in their transitional work so that they can resume their prior positions. Employees benefit from having regular working roles and responsibilities, especially when they build functional abilities at the same time.
Occupational therapists helping injured employees may focus on abilities like strength, endurance, cognition, and mobility as part of the transition process. Doing so also benefits employers because it provides a quick but safe way for the employee to re-enter the workforce.
Occupational Therapists Assess Employee Skills and Abilities
Cognitive functioning is one element that can change over time and with age. Occupational therapists assess the cognitive functioning of employees for the workplace. They address not only the needs of the workplace regarding safety essentials, but they also determine how the employee best benefits from being an asset to the company.
Additionally, occupational therapists focus on assessing physical capabilities in the workplace. Functional testing tests everything from the handling of materials (pushing, pulling, and lifting) to the ability to maintain certain positions (sitting, crouching, and walking). The therapist will monitor the pain of the patient to ensure that the movements are in line with the employee’s abilities and safe workplace requirements.
Occupational Therapists Continue Learning
Just as older employees adapt to new working environments and conditions, so do occupational therapists. In this position, you can attend occupational therapy continuing education courses to better focus on the needs and desires of your clients. As needs and conditions change, Occupational Therapy Courses allow you to evolve with the needs of your clients.