As we age, it is natural for us to need assistance for tasks we could once complete on our own. If you are caring for an elderly loved one, you may have noticed some physical or cognitive decline that makes certain activities more challenging than they once were.
If you believe your loved one’s functional status has changed and they can longer make it through the day without assistance, you will want to begin researching the next steps. Many options are available, including at-home personal care services, adult daycare centers, and personal care residences.
If you’re planning to take this next step, senior care providers, like Senior Health Care Solutions, will need to determine the level of care your loved one needs through their ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs). Keep reading to learn about activities of daily living for the elderly and why ADLs are important.
What Are Basic Activities of Daily Living?
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are activities performed daily that are necessary for independent living. Healthcare professionals use this term when judging whether a person can care for themselves. They are also sometimes used to measure a senior’s functional status, especially when they have disabilities.
Basic ADLs (sometimes called BADLs) are the basic self-care tasks people are taught as children. Most people can perform these basic tasks every day without assistance.
The six basic ADLs include but are not limited to the following activities:
- Bathing: The ability to maintain one’s hygiene, including brushing teeth, showering, combing hair, etc.
- Dressing: The ability to select weather-appropriate clothing and dress independently.
- Eating: The ability to get food from a plate to the mouth, chew, and swallow (does not include cooking/meal preparation).
- Continence: Having complete control over bowels and bladder
- Toileting: The ability to get on, use, and get off the toilet without assistance.
- Transferring: The ability to walk or move from place to place, including in and out of a chair or bed.
As our loved ones age, these tasks become more difficult to perform. Health concerns such as a stroke or a fall can make ADLs more difficult for seniors.
What Are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
In addition to basic activities of daily living for seniors, there are more complex ADLs that must be considered, too. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are tasks and activities we perform to care for ourselves, our families, and our homes.
IADLs include but are not limited to the following:
- Cleaning and housekeeping, including laundry and home maintenance
- Money management, such as paying bills
- Shopping for groceries and other necessities
- Preparing meals
- Managing medications and taking them as prescribed
- Transportation, including moving residences
- Using a telephone or computer
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living for the elderly require more thinking and organizational skills than BADLs. You may notice a decline in IADLs first.
Why Are Activities of Daily Living Important
ADLs are important in the elderly because they help to measure our loved ones’ functional status and their ability to care for themselves. At Senior Health Care Solutions, we believe that it is important for seniors to live independently; however, that independence cannot come at the cost of their overall health and well-being.
As a caregiver, it is important to pay attention to track your loved one’s health and functional capabilities. Doing so will better enable you to notice signs of deterioration or improvement. For instance, a decline in your loved one’s ability to perform IADLs may indicate a health problem, such as early dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Tracking Activities of Daily Living in elderly parents and loved ones will help you answer important questions about their ongoing care, such as the following:
- Does your aging parent need someone to check in on them more frequently?
- Does your elderly loved one require physical, occupational, or speech therapy?
- Is it safe for them to live independently?
- Would your senior loved one benefit from personal care services?
- Does your loved one require around-the-clock care, such as at a skilled nursing and rehabilitation center?
Share any changes you notice in your aging loved one’s ADLs with their physician to ensure the best course of action.
How Senior Health Care Solutions Makes Seniors’ Lives Easier
Keeping seniors healthy and safe is our top priority. If you feel that your elderly loved one can no longer live independently, we can help. We have short- and long-term care facilities in Delaware Valley, Pottsville, Tower City, and Sayre, and a skilled nursing staff to help your elderly loved ones maintain or recover their independence to continue living in dignity.
You can contact us at our main office in Scranton at (570) 969-2188 or email us at email@example.com.