seniors working out
Many individuals who work in the aging field, will ask you whether you or a loved one needs help with “ADLs” or “IADLs“.
You will find the definition of ADLs and IADLs below:

ADLsActivities of Daily Living.

IADLsInstrumental Activities of Daily Living

These terms represent essential life tasks that people, especially as they age, may need help to manage in order to keep living at home and being independent.
For those of you who work as Senior Caregivers, it is important to familiarize yourself with these terms and the skills directly related to them.
In this article, we will cover basic ADLs and IADLs in more depth and detail, as well as how to determine if you or a loved one needs assistance with ADLs. Additionally, we will cover why ADLs and IADLs matter for Seniors.
Often, after major health challenges, seniors lose some of their independence. They often have to participate in hospitalizations, occupational therapy under the supervision of their primary care physician. With the lowering of one’s baseline health status or mental deterioration like dementia, the ability of seniors to handle daily tasks is diminished.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs).

Senior friends walking
When we are very young, we learn the basic self-care tasks which we use every day. Sometimes, these tasks are referred to as “Basic Activities of Daily Living” or (BSDLs). These include:
1. Feeding or Eating – AKA, the ability to get food from one’s plate into their mouths.
2. Walking – In other words, getting yourself around the house or outside. The official technical term for this activity is “ambulating”.
3. Grooming and Dressing – This refers to choosing outfits, dressing one’s self, and the ability to adequately manage one’s personal appearance.
4. Toileting – In this situation, we are talking in terms of getting to and from the toilet, using it correctly, and the personal hygiene involved with cleaning oneself afterward.
5. Bathing and Showering – Includes washing one’s face and body in the shower or bathtub.
6. Transferring and Mobility – The ability to move from one body position to another. Including the ability to move from a bed into a chair, or into a wheelchair. May also include the ability to stand up from a bed or chair, in order to grasp a walker.
If you, or a loved one, are not fully independent with ADLs, then it is recommended that they are assessed by a doctor to determine the level of assistance needed.
For each of the listed ADLs, individuals may vary from needing just a little assistance, to full dependency, in which case would require other people to do the tasks for them.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).

Senior financial planning
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are typically the self-care tasks we learn as teenagers. These tasks require more complex levels of thinking, including organizational skills. These tasks include:
1. Managing Transportation – This includes either driving or organizing other means of transportation for one’s self.
2. Managing Finances – Referring to paying bills and/or managing financial assets.
3. Meal Preparation and Shopping Needs – This covers everything required in order to get a healthy meal on the table. This section also covers shopping for clothing, as well as other items required for daily life.
4. House Cleaning & Home Maintenance – This includes keeping one’s living space clean and tidy, keeping up with home maintenance, and cleaning kitchens after having a meal.
5. Managing Communications – Referring to telephone calls and mail.
6. Managing Medications – One’s ability to obtain medications and take them as directed by a doctor.

Why do ADLs and IADLs Matter for Seniors?

In general, older-aged adults need to be able to manage their own ADLs and IADLs in order to live independently, without the assistance of another person.
One of the main duties of Geriatricians is to assess older persons and their ability to perform ADLs and IADLs. It is important to understand that any issues an individual may have following through with their ADLs and IADLs can reflect problems within their cognitive health and/or physical health. By identifying any daily functional difficulties, doctors can help diagnose patients and manage important health issues.
Above all else, Geriatricians work hard to identify these functional difficulties because it is essential to make sure older adults or seniors are receiving the help and support they need. Furthermore, these doctors must determine whether or not the individual may need help from family or friends, or if a licensed caregiver would better meet their needs.

Long-term Care-“>Long-term Care

Long term caregivers and long-term care services are trained to help seniors navigate the primary care and ADLs. Whether care providers assist a resident of an assisted living facility or help individuals navigate independent living, seniors don’t have to worry about personal care on their own.