After sixteen years as an Occupational Therapist in skilled nursing facilities, Jennifer Huff now takes therapy and care to patients in their homes through her service, Your Aging Therapist. “I started feeling like I had less autonomy with my decision making as a therapist and being able to really care for the patients like they needed,” says Jennifer. “Now, I have the freedom, autonomy, and the ability to really feel like I’m able to do occupational therapy and help older adults.”
Functional therapy best describes the focus of occupational therapists. “If you or your loved one are not functioning well, we can assess and find where a breakdown is occurring in the task and determine a way to address it,” explains Jennifer. “We’re problem solvers. We’re looking to find the safest and easiest way to perform any task that is challenging to the patient.”
“Occupational therapists focus a lot on the patient being able to return to what they were doing before a stroke, injury, or surgery,” she continues. “I do a lot of self-care independence, so we can adapt and modify tasks to help them relearn how to do something.”
Anyone who has noticed a change in their physical ability to perform tasks easily, whether the tasks are routine or connected with a hobby or sport, would be a good candidate for occupational therapy. “I feel like occupational therapy is beneficial for everyone in almost every scenario,” says Jennifer. “Occupational therapists are big on function, what is important to the client, and allowing clients to continue doing things they love by learning how to adapt the task so that they can still participate.”
After a hospitalization, patients are often prescribed home health care as part of their recovery. Jennifer steps in as home health care finishes. “Once the home health time is over, there are a lot of cases where there are additional things to be done or covered and that’s where I come in,” explains Jennifer. She can assess for further care, train care givers, or make sure patients continue any exercise or activities put in place by home health.
Therapy provided through Your Aging Therapist is billed as outpatient services and Jennifer files paperwork on behalf of her patients to Medicare and supplemental insurance companies, just as when a patient is in a facility. The largest benefit of Your Aging Therapist is that she comes into the home. “Care givers and people who have been in the hospital are recovering at home and they don’t want to have to go to a facility for outpatient therapy,” says Jennifer. “This is a way to have that therapy come to you in the comfort of your home. People are more comfortable in their homes as well. It creates a scenario of feeling comfortable and being more willing to participate.”
It's important to note that Jennifer can provide preventative care. “I’m a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist and focus on helping older adults remain in the home and age in place, meaning not having to go to assisted living or a skilled nursing facility, if possible,” says Jennifer. “My niche is home safety and home program development. I’ve also found that families appreciate me helping them come up with a schedule for their loved one and assessing the safety in the home to prevent falls.”
“I feel like you have a therapist for life and one of the most fulfilling parts of my job is being able to build relationships with the patient and their families,” she shares. “I take pride in being one of the people in their caregiver team and becoming like family.”
For more information, call 706-252-9184 or visit www.youragingtherapistllc.com. You can also find the Your Aging Therapist on Facebook.