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Monday, July 25, 2011


Occupational Therapy

What is Occupational Therapy?  Basically, it is the treatment of people with disabilities and disorders that affect their daily living.  The idea originated during the war, when thousands of soldiers sat around bored.  It was soon discovered that involvement in goal-oriented activities lead to a speedier recovery and more importantly, they were happier. The use of activities as a means of therapy has been a major focus in health care.  The activities we do in everyday life were analyzed and are now put to use to help people.

1.  To assess their strengths and weaknesses.
2.  Find a creative way of treating and training people.

I can remember spending many hours at college determining the muscles used when one cut out a piece of material, when one used a sewing machine, etc. etc., all because it was felt that if a person was happily occupied he would use the particular muscles more, and therefore get better quicker.  Mentally, people are happier when they are occupied, as we all know from our own experiences.  If we are feeling unhappy, going out or becoming involved in something will often make us feel better and we will come back with a different outlook on life.

The idea of daily living is to use activities to reach a particular goal with a patient.  This involved analyzing the activity and the person and putting them together.  It involves knowing the activity and the person involved, not all of us like the same things, and what might benefit one person, need not necessarily benefit another.  A person who does not like knitting will not get much pleasure from the activity, it will soon become a chore and produce any number of feelings - none of which is therapeutic.

Occupational Therapy is a happy profession, in that, as "O.T's"  we are involved in trying to make people happier, more content, able to function more competently and more effectively.  If people are happy they open up more, express themselves more freely, have more confidence and achieve more.  If we look at ourselves we know that this is true.  Often, we say let's go out and have some fun, just to get a little release from the tension and stress of everyday life.  It is often a chance to get to know people better, to put things in perspective, and to learn more.  This all might sound simplistic, but the power of a positive mood is never to be underestimated.  O.T. is a very important profession and has a lot to offer, not only in mental hospitals, general hospitals and the community, but in dealing with everyday life.

Rosemary Garside
Occupational Therapist (Retired)

Originally published by Patricia Clay Thomspon - Publisher


Thoughts about dealing with life

Nobody ever promised that life would be easy.  For most people it is not.

People are left to cope with the ups and downs of life as it winds and turns. 

Some people’s lives appear more complicated and traumatic than others, and at times people can get to the point of wondering if it is all worth it.

The struggle, the unhappiness, the lost dreams…..

It is indeed strange, that somehow people do cope, even under the most horrendous circumstances and make the best of their situation.

They learn from their experiences.  People, at times, see magic in life. It is a lovely world if one takes the time to stand and stare and to reflect on life’s rich pattern.  It can inspire and most important of all, give hope. 

It is my belief, that peoples’ lives can change for the better and that problems can be solved.  There is a light at the end of the tunnel!

People do grumble at times and we should do all we can to improve our situations, whenever possible.  It will not happen overnight.  Time and persistence is needed to fulfill one’s dreams.  We all have strengths and weaknesses

We need to count our blessings so that we come to terms with life.   The kind word, the thoughtful gesture, growing relationships and trying to look at the positive side of things that happen to each one of us can add meaning to our lives and help us be more productive.

Personally I believe in the words from Phil 4. vs. 13 in The Holy Bible,

’”I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me “.

What ever motivates one to achieve things, a positive attitude is essential and can indeed make dreams come true.

©Rosemary Garside2011

Hello, my name is Rosemary Garside and I was born in England.  I have been in Canada 43 years and although I love visiting England, I feel Canada is my home.

I have a son and a daughter and seven grandsons and one grandchild on its way.  I am divorced.  My family is very important to me and plays an important part in my life.

I am a retired Occupational Therapist and a Consumer Survivor, and am very much involved in Peer Support and volunteer for several organizations which deal with people who suffer from mental illness and various mental health issues.

Apart from volunteering, I enjoy going to the theatre, spending time with my friends and family,  and listening to music.  I love opera and reading.  I belong to a book club which I thoroughly enjoy.  I am also very fortunate in the fact that my daughter and her husband live in Hamilton and I love spending time with them.

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