OT Treatment Idea: Coupon Activity for Cognition

OT Cognition Treatments: Coupon Intervention Idea

As OT practitioners, we try to have our sessions and OT cognition treatments be as individualized as possible. Best practice calls for using the client’s own interests and roles. With a full caseload, and especially with patients who are harder to motivate, it is sometimes easy to get stuck in a therapy rut or a routine.

We know that, as clinicians, we are encouraged to step away from the repetitive pegboards and exercise. But in a busy SNF, you can feel limited by what materials are available and the set up/clean up time required.

One activity that covers a lot of ground is coupon clipping. This is a real-life task, and can even be a prior leisure activity for some.

Elderly patients may enjoy looking at old advertisements or favorite products. Patients who go shopping may need to get back to doing this chore after discharge from rehab.

The list of functional skills this activity would address goes on and on, including:

  • cognition
  • attention
  • working memory
  • visual search and scan
  • fine motor
  • IADLs and even
  • community reintegration

In this article, we are going to be sharing 3 ways to use this coupon activity specifically in your OT practice including:

  • Cognition treatments
  • Fine motor activities
  • Safety training

Let’s Start With The Coupon Supplies:

The supplies are relatively easy and cheap to get.

All you need are:

  • scissors
  • coupons from local newspapers and ads
  • coupon organizer or index card holder

Occupational therapy treatment idea using coupon clipping and organization | OTflourish.com #occupationaltherapy #OTtreatmentideas #SNFOT #homehealthOT #neuroOT

 

I like to use plastic organizers with labels that have separate slots. These would open like a book or an accordion. The slots can be labeled by month, grocery item, or whatever makes sense to divide up a client’s coupons by. I will use “month” for this example.

How Do I Use Coupons in Occupational Therapy Cognition Treatments?

This is a great intervention for OT cognitive therapy techniques.

In a typical session, I would start by writing down month categories and a corresponding shopping list for each one. This may look like:

  • June needs ice cream
  • July needs canned goods
  • August needs dry good products, etc.

The list can be specific or very broad – below is a free coupon organization shopping list and some coupons to get you going or if you are a member of the OT Flourish Membership, download the entire coupon list and examples in the Clinical Resource Section of the membership.

Cognition treatments like this involves planning, following directions, and sequencing. This could be used and graded for patients that have had a stroke, acquired brain injury or even for someone with dementia.

Not feeling confident working with older adults in your OT practice? If you are new to working in SNF or Home Health, we are here to level up your practice! Join the OT Flourish Membership today! | OTflourish.com

Then, have them organize the coupon into the proper month’s slot as seen in the example below.

Occupational therapy treatment idea using coupon clipping and organization | OTflourish.com #occupationaltherapy #OTtreatmentideas #SNFOT #homehealthOT #neuroOT

Grading the Activity: Cognition Treatments

 

To Grade Down

It is also simple to grade this challenge up or down. For patients that are low-level with dementia, you can have the coupons precut and spaced out on the table. Limit the amount to organize, such as placing only 1 item in each slot or using color-coded visual cues. All of the non-edible items could be highlighted in red, and the matching plastic label for the month would also be red.

Hand-over-hand guidance is always a good option for CVA patients. You could find modified scissors or just help them tear the coupons out by hand.

For social skills and stimulation, patients may simply enjoy looking at the pictures and discussing how to use each item (think Q-tips, wrapping paper, small appliances).

To Grade Up

For a higher-level challenge, we can have them create the shopping list themselves. This will encourage recall, judgement, following a recipe, or even budgeting money.

To Use this Activity Focusing on Fine Motor

If using this to focus on hand therapy, direct skills are grasp, in-hand manipulation, tool use, lateral key pinch, and forearm supination/pronation when turning the pages.

Your patient will then search through the coupons using fine motor shift and pinch. They will use scissor skills and hand-eye coordination to accurately cut out the square.

They will need to use appropriate force and strength so as to not crinkle the paper.

Bilateral coordination comes into play when having to hold the slots open and keep the container still. Have them continue down the list until the organizer is all filled up!

Occupational therapy treatment idea using coupon clipping and organization | OTflourish.com #occupationaltherapy #OTtreatmentideas #SNFOT #homehealthOT #neuroOT

Grading the Activity: Fine Motor Activities

To Grade Down

It is also simple to grade this challenge up or down. For patients that are low-level with dementia, you can have the coupons precut and spaced out on the table. Limit the amount to organize, such as placing only 1 item in each slot or using color-coded visual cues. All of the non-edible items could be highlighted in red, and the matching plastic label for the month would also be red.

Hand-over-hand guidance is always a good option for CVA patients. You could find modified scissors or just help them tear the coupons out by hand.

For social skills and stimulation, patients may simply enjoy looking at the pictures and discussing how to use each item (think Q-tips, wrapping paper, small appliances).

To Grade Up

For a higher-level challenge, we can have them create the shopping list themselves. This will encourage recall, judgement, following a recipe, or even budgeting money.

To Use this Activity to Assess Safety

As a way to assess safety as part of the patient’s cognition treatments, you can see if they are able to find all of the frozen foods. Making errors in this might suggest they’ll return home and leave meat out of the fridge or boxed TV dinners on the counter.

You could also have them identify items they would need in a natural disaster or loss of power- batteries, coolers, canned goods, flashlights, etc.

Grading the Activity: Safety Training

To Grade Down

It is also simple to grade this challenge up or down. For patients that are low-level with dementia, you can have the coupons precut and spaced out on the table. Limit the amount to organize, such as placing only 1 item in each slot or using color-coded visual cues. All of the non-edible items could be highlighted in red, and the matching plastic label for the month would also be red.

Hand-over-hand guidance is always a good option for CVA patients. You could find modified scissors or just help them tear the coupons out by hand.

For social skills and stimulation, patients may simply enjoy looking at the pictures and discussing how to use each item (think Q-tips, wrapping paper, small appliances).

To Grade Up

For a higher-level challenge, we can have them create the shopping list themselves. This will encourage recall, judgement, following a recipe, or even budgeting money.

This activity can be stretched to last a few sessions or can be done in 15 minutes. It has been helpful with patients who don’t particularly like tabletop games or puzzles.

Your patients may respond better to using “real” community objects. Incorporating familiar household items is generally a good idea, especially in dementia care.

How else could newspapers or spare ads be used in occupational therapy sessions? Comment below!

Not feeling confident working with older adults in your OT practice? If you are new to working in SNF or Home Health, we are here to level up your practice! Join the OT Flourish Membership today! | OTflourish.com

by Bri Giruzzi, OTR/L MS

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