Monday, April 23, 2012

What are ADLs?

Senior care professionals use a variety of medical terms to assess and communicate the needs of their patients. Activities of daily living, also called ADLs, are used by home care providers to determine the level of care patients require. In Durham, North Carolina, Pauline’s ability to perform ADLs was one of the first things her senior care provider determined before recommending an individualized care plan.
Pauline realized while cooking dinner one day that she was not able to perform all of the activities necessary to run her home on her own. A widow, she had taken care of her house by herself for the last ten years. Now she needed help. After calling in local home care professionals, Pauline discussed the several ADLs that she felt she needed assistance completing.
ADLs are commonly thought of as the basic activities associated with daily life. These activities include:
  1. Grooming
  2. Personal hygiene
  3. Dressing and undressing
  4. Eating
  5. Meal preparation
  6. Functional transfers (i.e. moving from the bed to a wheelchair, sitting on the toilet, etc.)
  7. Using the restroom
  8. Ambulation
These ADLs cover the basic activities one needs to complete in order to function from one day to the next. But functioning within society is different from simply living at home. Instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs, are not considered fundamental to survival but are important in the lives of active seniors. These include:

  1. Maintaining a clean house
  2. Taking prescribed medications
  3. Managing financial assets
  4. Shopping
  5. Using telephones, computers, and other communication devices
  6. Moving within the community
Pauline recognized the fact that she was facing difficulty maintaining her home. Although she could perform most ADLs without assistance, she wanted to continue to participate in the IADLs that she was accustomed to. To maintain her independence and continue living an active lifestyle, Pauline called in home care professionals to help her with some of these tasks.

ADLs and IADLs are standards of assessment when determining whether or not an elderly individual needs home care services. By calling in elder care professionals, as Pauline did, seniors can continue to live fulfilling, independent lives.

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