Occupational Therapy, Health and Wellbeing

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The occupational therapy perspective of occupation, health and wellbeing

To be able to participate in one 's own life, to do the things we want to do, and to competently perform the activities that form part of our daily, weekly or monthly routines, is a common goal for most people. This not only includes taking part in the basic activities of self-care, such as grooming and dressing, but also extends to our work and leisure activities. It is through doing things that we learn and develop as human beings. The occupational therapy profession believes that being prevented or hindered in some way from participating in the activities that are important to us could adversely affect our health and wellbeing.

Health is a complex term
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The idea of occupational balance can also be seen in older adulthood when, as a result of age, people lose their roles in life through being unable to perform the activities that make up that role. With the passing of time no longer taken up by meaningful activities these individuals become bored and ultimately depressed, quickly losing their sense of well-being. In the World Health Organisation’s Charter for Health Promotion, it suggests that in order to achieve the state of complete health it describes in its definition, it is necessary for individuals to be able to satisfy their basic needs, realise and achieve their goals, and cope within the changing world around them (Townsend and Polatajko, 2007).
Since these things are achieved through occupation, through doing things, the close link between health and occupation becomes clear (Wilcock, 2001). From an occupational perspective, doing things provides a sense of purpose and fulfilment and leads to a sense of well-being (Crepeau et al, 2009).

This link between occupation, health and well-being (i.e. the fact that people are occupational by nature and that engagement in meaningful occupation is essential to health) forms part of the core beliefs and values – the philosophy – of the occupational therapy (OT) profession (Kramer et al, 2003). OT has its foundations in both philosophy and science, but unlike other medical professions, it was the philosophy that came first
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