George’s Story

Meet George: Senior Living at Home

George is a 70-year-old retired man. He is independent with activities of daily living, but he is also a caregiver for his 74-year-old wife who is in frail health. They have limited support from family and Home Care. George worries about his wife constantly and has been neglecting his own self-care. They eat less often, and their home is becoming cluttered. There are some repairs that have been delayed, but this could lead to long-term damage to the home. At times George thinks that life does not seem to be worth living. He does not know where to turn to for help.

George’s son suggested that George consult his private health plan to determine if he could access some support. George realized that he had funding for occupational therapy through his private health insurance plan and used the Find an OT search feature to find an OT nearby with an interest in working with older adults.

How occupational therapy assisted George:

  • Met with George to better understand his concerns and difficulties, met his wife and reviewed their home to better understand if there were any immediate safety concerns.
  • Helped George to develop and prioritize his needs and goals.
  • Helped George to understand and use the skills and resources he already had to address his challenges with looking after himself, his wife and their home.
  • Provided practical guidance for where to access resources and support for both himself and his wife using government or community funded supports.
  • Filled in gaps when other funded resources were limited or hard to find. This included education, listening, coaching, advocacy, and support.

Outcome for George:

  • After a few weeks, George reported an improvement in his mood and his ability to manage.
  • With help from OT and community supports George felt able to prioritize immediate and long-term needs. He felt better able to make a reasonable action plan to look after himself, his wife and their home so that they could continue to live safely in their home.
  • George is better informed about the community resources available to him and his wife to assist them now and in the future, and if there is a cost for the support.

- Kevyn T.

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Society of Alberta Occupational Therapists