April is National Occupational Therapy month; PACE occupational therapists Cat Balentine and Susan Misciagno go above and beyond to encourage our seniors to be active members in their treatment plans and in their community. For example, each OT leads exercise groups to facilitate healthy lifestyles.
Cat Balentine in Burlington leads a Walk and Roll program each day where participants can either walk or roll around the day center for exercise. Staff members sponsor laps around the center and donate at the end of each month depending on the total laps completed by the participants. Each month the participants donate the proceeds to a chosen nonprofit organization.
Susan Misciagno is the OT at the Pittsboro location and also leads an exercise group for the participants to encourage group participation and social interaction. Occupational therapy uses assessment and treatment to develop, recover or maintain the daily living and work skills of people with a physical, mental or cognitive disorder. OTs also focus much of their work on identifying and eliminating environmental barriers to independence and participation in daily activities.
Occupational therapy is a client-centered practice that places emphasis on progressing toward the client’s goals. Occupational therapy interventions focus on adapting the environment, modifying the task, teaching the skill and educating the client and family to increase participation in and performance of daily activities, particularly those that are meaningful to the client. Occupational therapists often work closely with professionals in physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, social work and the community. PACE would not be the same without these therapists. They help seniors maintain the highest level of functional ability, as well as maintain optimal safety in the home, helping to reach the overall goal of the PACE program.