Professor Margareta Lilja, researchers in occupational therapy at LTU.

Live longer with the early adaptation of the home environment

Published: 6 December 2012

Short-term solutions are wasting social resources says Professor Margareta Lilja, researching the rehabilitation of the elderly.
- Once an meaningfulness are created you live longer. It requires a change in mindset and today a change far away.

Today it is assumed that the concept of independence means being able to take care of ones personal hygiene, but in fact, the individual can find going to the movies or be able to outdoor gives a sense of independence.
- Research has shown that meaningful activities are of great importance and makes life longer. It is important to individualize rehabilitation for people to feel independent and meaningful in everyday life.

Margaret also points out that it is important to understand that the frail elderly have rehabilitation potential, while many believe that at age 85 there is no point of rehabilitation. A large part of the rehabilitation is to work together with the older person and family to set up new long-term strategies to manage to live at home.
- It's also about giving hope where they can see the possibilities based on the individual's thinking.

Waste of resources and skills
The action taken today is based a lot from here and now, instead of seeing the overall picture and work more preventatively.
- It is a short-term solution that is used today. In the long run it will be enormously costly, instead of making an overall picture that is long-term in a early stages. Occupational and physical therapists are not allowed to have a longer-term planning, and it is a waste of social resources not to take advantage of the expertise available to get the right action.

In addition, research shows that older people need more time to achieve the optimal effect of rehabilitation which are also not taken into account in the rehabilitation conducted now.

Margaret predicts a changed way of thinking is very far away. There is already research done in the area, but it needs more studies pointing in the same direction and even political decisions has to be taken to affect a change.
- Today are resources and efforts in health care removed. Additionally, the discussions are complicated by various responsibilities have different money bags. Many instances affect the discussion, both county and municipality as well as the private healthcare companies, and it makes it difficult to implement a change.