From day one during my graduate studies in occupational therapy, my professors would always say “You need to have a 30 second OT elevator speech.” Five years later and I still am constantly changing that elevator speech and answering the questions: “What is it you do?” “What is Occupational Therapy (OT)?” “You are a Physical Therapist, right?”
I stumbled across this reflection last year while reading the American Occupational Therapy Association’s monthly magazine, OT Practice. It is titled “The Question” and in this short explanation and spot-on response, Randy Hollman, MS, OTR/L answers the questions patients and clients of all ages ask: ‘What is “Occupation”? Why is it therapy? I don’t need occupational therapy. I have been retired for years. How will it help me get well?’
“Occupation is life, the essence of you. You become who you are by what you consistently do. The tasks that you do, we call occupation. They differ with age and your life’s situation. Occupations are work, self-care and play – the tasks that you do that fill up each day. The tasks that you do, your routines and roles: They define who you are. They help accomplish your goals. Occupations bring meaning, control, sense of self, things you can’t find on a pharmacy shelf – Good health can’t be purchased by buying a pill. Health is built day by day with your hands, mind, and will. If you want to get well and become a new you, wellness is earned by what you consistently do. No matter your age or your life’s situation, engage and live fully. Life is occupation”1
Occupational therapy is not focused on one specific population because honestly, anyone can benefit from it. We all play a role, if not multiple roles in life, such as a friend, a parent, a spouse, a custodian, a nurse, a doctor or an artist. However, many do not view these as occupations until an injury, accident or illness comes along that makes these roles and the daily routines and habits that have developed, difficult to complete. With occupational therapy, it is about looking at the whole person and asking, “What is important to you?” Every individual is unique, therefore, the focus of one’s goals and plan of care should be on the tasks and things that one needs and wants to do in order for every individual to engage and live their life to the fullest.
The mission and vision of Live Your Life is “bringing innovative wellness, fitness, rehabilitative and preventative services to everyone’s journey towards maximized well-being while exceeding expectations” in order to “optimize health by transforming lifestyles across the lifespan from teenagers to seniors. Occupational therapy plays a pivotal role in the Live Your Life team by helping patients and clients build their health and earn their wellness in their home and community. It is never too late to help others’ empower their independence so they can engage and live fully – now that is occupational therapy!
Happy OT Month!
Amanda Blom, MS, OTR/L
Live Your LifeTM
Bringing Physical Therapy & Wellness to You!
Amanda Blom, MS, OTR/L is a Registered and Licensed Occupational Therapist in the state of Minnesota and Wisconsin. She is a member of the National Board of Certified Occupational Therapists and the American Occupational Therapy Association. She holds a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Minnesota and Bachelors of Science in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison.
During her journey to becoming an OT, she worked in a variety of settings with children, teenagers, and adults with developmental and physical disabilities. Through engagement in community activities, play and meaningful, daily routines each individual was able to flourish in their own environment and live a healthier and more independent lifestyle. Although she has only been practicing since 2015, she likes to believe that she has been an OT all her life and it is what she is meant to do in life.
Amanda had internships in Inpatient Behavioral Health at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Transitional Care Unit. She currently works for Minnesota Masonic Home in their Transitional Care and Long-Term Center helping residents achieve their goals towards independence and returning home.
Amanda enjoys spending her free time with her family, friends and rescue dog, Scout. She enjoys hiking, running and cheering on the Wisconsin Badgers.
1Hollman, Randy. “OT Reflections from the Heart.” OT Practice. 7 August 2017 Published: 32. American Occupational Therapy Association.