When we think about seniors, especially those who “age in place” and want to continue to live independently, we also must think about how instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are. ADLs are the basic things that we do day to day—self-care that keeps us physically and emotionally healthy. These daily life activities can include things such as showering, toileting, and grooming, as well as other daily tasks. Ensuring that the elderly can still perform these tasks is paramount to ensure their physical and mental well-being. Read on to learn more about the importance of activities of daily living, and what these daily activities at home may include for an elderly person.
Elderly Activities of Daily Living: Why Are They Important?
Many people don’t like change, especially seniors, who may have lived in their home or place of residence for quite some time. The thought of being moved somewhere else, away from their comfort zone, is scary and at the very least, unappealing. However, for the elderly to continue to live alone, they should be able to perform activities of daily living (ADL). But, what do ADL and IADL mean? ADL stands for activities of daily living, and IADL stands for instrumental activities of daily living, which are a little more complex when it comes to terms of function for activities of daily living for seniors.
Activities of Daily Living for Seniors: What Are the Activities of Daily Living?
When it comes to daily living skills activities, it would be worthwhile to make two separate checklists or worksheets: a daily living skills checklist and instrumental activities of daily living checklist. First, let’s take a look at the more basic ADL independent skills. At the very least, a person who is aging in place and living alone should be able to:
- Perform basic personal hygiene. This includes grooming and bathing, as well as oral care, nail care, and hair care.
- Feeding. This doesn’t refer to cooking, but being adequately able to feed one’s self.
- Toileting. Being able to properly use the bathroom in every toileting capacity is a must.
- Dressing. A person must be able to dress and undress themselves without assistance.
- Ambulating. A loved one or patient must be able to adequately move around their home.
It is important to note that if someone is in a wheelchair or walker, ambulation, dressing, toileting, and hygiene are possible regardless of age, provided that the proper modifications are in place. Activities of daily living for seniors need not be diminished just because someone is in a wheelchair. Wheelchairs can often increase mobility as opposed to decreasing it.
If you are trying to determine whether the person you are caring for or your loved one is able to perform ADLs, it may be a good idea to make an “activities of daily living” worksheet. Tally the results for several days to a week to see if your loved one is able to perform elderly activities of daily living or if they are struggling.
Activities of Daily Living for Seniors: Instrumental Activities
The importance of activities of daily living extends beyond just the basics. There are more advanced activities of daily living that are good to keep track of as well. Ideally, a person who is aging in place should be able to perform more than just the basics to live happily and comfortably, unless they are receiving frequent in-home assistance. The more advanced activities of daily living for seniors are known as instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs. These include activities such as:
- Shopping. Is a person still able to shop for themselves and visit the pharmacy on their own?
- Transportation. Is the patient still able to drive? If not, are they able to use public transportation without any problems?
- Social. Is your loved one still seeking out social relationships, and do they participate in social events, such as games or get-togethers at the local senior center?
- Cooking. Is the person still able to cook, or adequately prepare easy meals?
- Managing the home. Is the patient still able to do light cleaning, or keep the home in order?
- Financial. Is the patient still able to manage their finances?
- Medication. Can the patient handle and take their medication correctly?
As you can see, the importance of daily living doesn’t end at the basics. Of course, a person doesn’t need to be able to master all of the above to age in place. Perhaps they have some help, and they can do some of these tasks. Or, they have daily in-home assistance, and can handle their basic ADLs just fine.
For more information on elderly activities of daily living, or for more information on mobility products that could be life-changing, such as stairlifts or wheelchair ramps, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and their patients to live their best lives.