Aging Population: Emerging Job Roles for Occupational Therapy

The demand for Occupational Therapists (OTs) — professionals who help individuals with physical, cognitive or emotional limitations achieve independence in their daily living or working environments — is on the up. The OT job outlook for the next 10 years shows almost a 30% growth. Although job opportunities in hospitals, schools and other traditional settings remain strong, many OTs are blazing trails in areas connected with the aging population.

Support for ‘Aging in Place’

Members of our aging population find it more comfortable to stay in their own homes rather than enter long-term-care facilities, and OTs help make that desire a reality. Occupational Therapists consult with elderly individuals, families and architects on designing or modifying homes so they are more accessible and less dangerous for people with poor mobility, vision loss or other limitations. OTs also work with architects and city officials to help them understand and incorporate the needs of seniors into city planning.

Ergonomics Consulting

Older workers make up one of the fastest-growing segments of the workforce, and OTs are working with employers to develop strategies that support older workers’ productivity. Furthermore, as employers become more aware of the link between ergonomics and workplace injury, OTs are stepping in as injury-prevention and workplace-modification consultants.

Driver Assessments and Road Safety

Making sure older drivers do not injure themselves, or anyone else, on the road is another growth area for OTs. Because more doctors are addressing driver safety issues with their patients, the demand for evaluating questionable drivers is growing. OTs are equipped to perform driver screenings, evaluations and interventions.

Technological Advances with Apps and Robotics

OTs are at the forefront in using technology to help individuals compensate for cognitive, functional or mobility limitations. With the explosive growth of apps and other technologies OT’s have been able to create new programs to help their aging patients For example, OTs are involved in developing robots that climb steps and perform simple tasks for people with disabilities.

If you are an Occupational Therapist looking to try out some of these emerging roles, please reach out to our Strategic Search Consultants and we can provide nationwide opportunities that encourage these new practices.

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