Mariana D’Amico; Update on Productive Aging in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy 2011. Am J Occup Ther 2012;66(4):e61-e72. doi: 10.5014/ajot.2012.005207.
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A review of the productive aging articles published in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy during 2011 was conducted and discussed in light of meeting the Centennial Vision charge of supporting practice through evidence. Twelve articles that specifically addressed productive aging were published in AJOT in 2011. The review of these 12 articles found seven Level I studies. Six of the articles were systematic reviews identifying effective interventions for people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias and their caregivers, and 1 was a randomized controlled trial of fall prevention in community-dwelling older adults. Five were basic research studies. Two of the 5 studies researched professional issues, and 3 addressed client-based issues. The quantity of productive aging research published in 2011 was consistent with the quantity reported in 2009 and 2010. More studies building the body of evidence about the effectiveness of occupational therapy with older adults are needed.
Effectiveness studies supporting practice,
Instrument testing to establish reliability and validity for occupational therapy assessments,
Correlational and descriptive studies that demonstrate linkages between occupational engagement and health,
Studies that answer important questions about topics related to the direction of the profession’s growth, and
Basic research studies that provide information about disabilities and their impact on functional participation (Gutman, 2008).
Individually tailoring and adapting leisure activities improves quality of life for both clients and caregivers.
Occupational therapy intervention that promotes clients’ abilities in ADLs and IADLs and educates caregivers in such methods improves satisfaction, participation, and quality of life for both the clients and the caregivers.
Educating caregivers and involving clients in motor-based occupations, exercises, and activities increase balance and decrease falls.
Caregiver education is essential, whether a family member or other health care provider, to improve the relationships, health, and participation of persons with Alzheimer's disease or related dementias.
Community-dwelling older adults benefit from multimedia training about fall prevention that is personally relevant to the participants.
Occupational therapists need to advocate for funding for community-based driving and mobility programs.
Occupational therapists should be engaged in assessing clients who desire to resume driving after a cerebral insult before a behind-the-wheel assessment recommendation is made.
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