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Archive for category: Solutions For Living

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Solutions for Managing Passwords

Online security experts recommend creating strong passwords with a mix of special characters, numbers and letters which are different for each application you use.  However, remembering one simple password is often hard enough!  Especially for applications you don’t use often, it is recommended you keep a log of each password so you can easily retrieve it when needed.  This is particularly helpful for seniors, or anyone dealing with cognitive issues, who may have difficulty remembering passwords, or have trusted family members and/or caregivers who may need access to these.

Use our printable Password Keeper to record these important online passwords and user names, and keep it in a safe place for future use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more helpful tools please visit our Printable Resources Page.

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Book Review: Enabling Positive Change – Coaching Conversations in Occupational Therapy

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

I always love a good book, but have never been one for those fiction novels complete with wizards, sorcerers, love affairs and who-done-it (and some have all four!).  So, the books I read are ones that teach me something, help me to grow personally, or at the least are readable one slow chapter at a time to encourage reflection.

This summer, I have enjoyed reading Enabling Positive Change – Coaching Conversations in Occupational Therapy by Pentland, Isaacs-Young, Gash and Heinz.  By way of background, I have always found coaching fascinating.  My first experience with a business / life coach was probably 10 years ago when I was looking for some guidance and insight on how to run my business better.  A few years later I connected with a different coach who helped me confirm that the path I was on (I had doubts) and allowed me to realize that I was exactly where I wanted to be.  Then, as my business grew and I felt isolated as an owner, I participated in more of a group coaching process that helped me for several years to build business confidence, to make some great decisions and all of this helped me to take my business to the next level.  Most recently, my business partner and I worked with an amazing coach who facilitated very deep conversations about where we are at, where we are going, and what we are truly trying to create – with insight on how to get there.

In reflecting on my experience with coaching further, I now understand that it really is a form of “occupational therapy” for people with desires and wants to do, manage, or live differently or better.  So, with this insight I was thrilled to see the combination of these two concepts:  coaching and occupational therapy in Enabling Positive Change:  Coaching Conversations in Occupational Therapy.

The book is chaptered by Occupational Therapists all over the world that use a coaching approach in their practice, and each chapter speaks to how coaching adds immense value to the OT profession.  The book first describes the coaching process, relates this to OT theory, practice and research, uses case and client examples to show the reader what coaching really looks like.  Then, it moves to worldly examples of OT and coaching that speak to the core of the OT profession and those of us that practice it.  I particularly enjoyed OT’s personal accounts of using coaching and OT to help them in their own journey, but to also assist clients with many aspects of returning to function: managing chronic pain, going back to work, helping children and their families, facilitating groups, improving mental health, getting discharged from hospital, navigating the insurance process, and developing new programs to name a few.  My favorite chapters, however (as these speak to my phase of life), were the chapters on coaching and mid-life, coaching executives and professionals, and using coaching to prevent burnout of health professionals (like OT’s!).  The book concludes with two very helpful sections about coaching education and training for OT’s, and the future possibilities for coaching and OT.

Honestly this book has a chapter for every OT at every stage and phase of career and really life. While I have always had an interest in coaching, this book has heightened my awareness as to why I have always found it personally helpful, and has also inspired me to look at coaching and coaching training more seriously as the next stage for me in my journey as an OT.  I recommend this as a “must read” for OT’s all over the globe.

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Back to School: Make Ahead School Lunches

Packing your child’s lunch can seem like a daunting, never ending task, but with a little prep work you can suffer short term pain for long term gain!  With just over 10 days left before the big day, try some of these tips and recipes care of The Organized Housewife for lunches and snacks you can make ahead and freeze, which can save you some early morning stress in September and beyond.

The Organized Housewife:  50+ Freezer friendly lunch box food ideas

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Back to School: OT’s Help Kids Succeed in the Classroom

As it’s back to school time we wanted to shed some light on the awesome work Occupational Therapists do to help children succeed in the school system.  From helping with IEP’s, to modifying the classroom environment, an Occupational Therapist can help to enhance the learning experience based on the individual needs of the child they are working with.  Learn more about how OT’s help kids in schools in the following care of the Ontario Society of Occupational Therapists. 

OSOT:  How can I benefit from OT?  Succeed at School

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Back to School: Transition Planning for Children with Special Needs

No matter your age, whether you are starting school for the first time, returning to the same school, moving up to middle or high school, moving away to university or going back to school after years in the workforce, the words “Back to school” can bring on both excitement and anxiety.  Many feel excited for the opportunities and experiences that may come, however, many also feel frightened and anxious over what lies ahead.  For children with special needs any transition can be difficult, and parents and caregivers often find “back to school” one of the most difficult.

The following article published by Care.com discusses the some great strategies for helping plan for and make the transition of “back to school” as pleasant as possible for children with special needs.

Care.com:  Easing the Back-to-School Transition for Kids with Special Needs

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Occupational Therapy Explained

Most people think Occupational Therapy is about getting people back to work following an injury, or designing functional work spaces and workstations because of the word “occupation” in the term.  While this is an important part of what Occupational Therapists do, their scope is actually much broader.

The following, written by Najma Rashid for the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association does a great job of explaining Occupational Therapy and the OT role in the litigation process.

Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Blog:  What is an Occupational Therapist?

For more information about the solutions for living Occupational Therapists provide, check out our OT-V episode, “What is Occupational Therapy?

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Back to School: How To Properly Select a Backpack

Julie Entwistle, MBA, BHSc (OT), BSc (Health / Gerontology)

Backpacks are a staple for every student. They travel back and forth between home and school, lugging books and school supplies. They are put through the unavoidable daily abuse of being thrown on the ground, trampled on, stuffed into a cubby or locker, saving a spot in line, and become over-stretched and over-used with the necessities of school. They are a necessary part of your child’s education, yet how much thought do you really put into the backpack your child wears aside from maybe price or color?  Have you considered the health implications of an improperly worn, fitted, or poorly supportive backpack?

Backpacks are meant to be worn over both shoulders so that the weight can be evenly distributed across some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. Due to this, backpacks are preferable to shoulder bags, however they must be worn properly in order to avoid postural issues and injuries to the back, shoulder, and/or neck. Additionally, backpacks that are too heavy or large increase a child’s risk of injury due to falling or tripping. The following are some simple tips to help ensure your child’s backpack is fitted properly in order to avoid any negative health implications.

First of all, when choosing a backpack look for the following features:

1.    Make sure the backpack is made of a lightweight material. Sure, some trendy materials may look cool, but these can also add unnecessary weight.

2.    The backpack should have two wide, padded shoulder straps that are adjustable. Thin, narrow straps can cut off circulation resulting in pain, tingling, and numbness.  Straps with a clip to secure them across the chest are best.

3.    Look for a padded back to increase comfort and also to protect your child from being poked by items inside the bag.

4.    Backpacks with a waist strap help distribute the weight more evenly and can protect the neck and shoulders from carrying the weight independently.

5.    Check out backpacks that have a roller option if allowed in your child’s school. This allows freedom to switch between wearing on the back (for example on snowy days when rolling is not practical) and rolling the bag on the ground to take stress off of the neck and shoulders.

6.    Ensure the backpack has multiple compartments as this helps to distribute the weight more evenly, and keeps things organized and separated.

Once you have found the perfect backpack, ensure the backpack is worn properly by following some of these general guidelines:

·        The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that backpack load should never exceed 10-20% of your child’s body weight. Make sure unnecessary items aren’t traveling back and forth – leave heavy items at home or school if possible.

·        When putting on a backpack, ensure your child bends at the knees (not the waist!) and uses both hands to lift it onto their shoulders. Watch for signs of strain or difficulty when putting it on – if any are present consider reducing the load in the bag by having your child carry a few items.

·        ALWAYS use both of the shoulder straps. No matter how “cool” your child thinks using one shoulder strap looks, it can cause muscle, spine and orthopedic injury down the road.

·        Tighten the shoulder straps and use the strap around the waist (if available). This helps to ensure even weight distribution. The bag should sit in the center of the back, about two inches above the waist (not down near the buttocks!).

·        When packing, ensure heavy items are near the center / back of the bag. Use all of the available compartments to help distribute the weight more evenly.

·        Talk to your child about making frequent trips to their locker, desk or cubby to avoid carrying extra weight around all day.

·        Consider the backpack as a possible culprit if your child starts complaining of back pain, numbness or tingling in the shoulders or arms, or discomfort in the upper body or lower back.  If so, consult with a professional about how to correct the issues, and prevent these from getting worse.  Core, back, or strengthening exercises might be needed if your child is having difficultly lugging around their school stuff – and consult a professional to have any exercises prescribed.

Then, make it fun!  Give your child a list of things to look for when picking out their backpack, and comment on the different features of the ones at the store.  Once purchased, load this up with different things so you can show them the difference when weight is distributed evenly, unevenly and gets too heavy.  Have them try the straps at different lengths so they can comment on what is most comfortable.  Encourage them to leave things at school that should stay there (like indoor shoes) and consider having a double set of school supplies at home so these don’t need to travel back and forth.  Make Friday “clean out your backpack day” for a special treat.

Remember that you get what you pay for.  A $10.00 backpack chosen on style or color may cost you a lot more in the long run.  Backpacks are not an item you should cheap out on!

For more informative articles on kids health check out our OT For Kids page and check out our OT-V Episode, Backpack Safety to learn more.

References:

1)      American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (2013).
2)      KidsHealth (2013)
3)      American Academy of Pediatrics (2014)