Each October the Victorian Government supports Seniors Week, a week long festival to honour
seniors in Victoria, that this year kicks off on October 2 at Federation Square in Melbourne. Many local governments also have free or low cost events scheduled for Seniors Week often marketed as a come and try to encourage community engagement and participation. Public transport is free to seniors with a valid Seniors Card.
Seniors Week is an opportunity to encourage and support “Positive Ageing”. The Australian Psychological Association defines positive ageing as “the process of maintaining a positive attitude, feeling good about yourself, keeping fit and healthy and engaging fully in life as you age”.
Healthy ageing is multifactorial, and a key component of the World Health Organizations active/positive-ageing framework considers broad determinates such as:
Health and social service system
Behavioural determinants – i.e. physical activity, medications, nutrition
Physical environments –i.e. housing, safety of home environment,
Social environment – i.e. social supports
Personal determinants – i.e. biology, genetics
Economic determinants – i.e. income
Many Seniors Week activities include opportunities for social connection and conversation (addressing social environment determinants), exercise and physical activity (behavioural determinants), technology education (assisting with access to social services systems).
As a person ages natural change often happens (personal determinants), this may include reduced balance, mobility, eyesight, memory and confidence. These changes can impact upon a persons ability to manage safely and independently at home and in the community.
Access OT Services can enable a person to participate in activities of everyday life within the home environment, thus supporting Positive Ageing and this can be achieved by –
An Occupational Therapy Assessment and Recommendation for specialized equipment
An Assessment of the Home Environment to improve safety and reduce risks/hazards identified which may lead to falls
Assessment for minor home modifications (i.e. rails at stairs, or in bathrooms) or major home modifications (i.e. ramps, bathroom adaptions). See below for examples.