What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Posted: August 3, 2022

Health & Wellness

What Are Activities of Daily Living?

A daily routine makes it easy to assess how well you live independently. In older adults, simple tasks can become slightly more difficult to complete or remember. 

By noticing the signs of this change in yourself or a loved one, you can become familiar with the idea of asking for help from trained professionals. In assisted living communities, staff members go to great lengths to make life easier for those who may find it challenging to keep up with daily routines. 

Activities of Daily Living Examples

The definition of activities of daily living for seniors is a set of personal care tasks performed throughout the day. Basic ADLs are how we monitor our abilities as independent beings. These self-care functions may increase in difficulty for older adults due to aging or health concerns. These factors can limit mobility or mental capacity. 

ADLs and IADLs

Similar to assessing how ADLs influence our independence, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) can help evaluate other necessary skills needed to function in a community or family. IADLs include tasks that allow us to socialize, maintain relationships and care for our assets. Examples of daily living include going to the bathroom, taking a shower or bath, getting dressed, eating and drinking, walking and getting out of bed. 

IADLs include:

  • Shopping
  • Using electronic communication such as talking on the phone or through email
  • Managing finances
  • Driving or arranging rides with others
  • Cooking meals
  • Doing housework such as laundry, cleaning and washing dishes
  • Taking medications at the right time in the correct portions

How ADLs Change With Age

How ADLs Change With Age

Being able to perform routine tasks and enforce self-care methods is essential for older people used to living independently. Giving older adults assistance with everyday activities that make their lives easier also significantly increases their satisfaction in life

Independence is crucial for many older adults and plays a significant role in deciding future living situations for many individuals. If an older person starts facing limited ADLs, they may feel less secure living at home, especially if they live alone. If their children live further away, an adult may need to ask a trusted friend or neighbor to check in on them as much as possible. 

Medical Conditions That Limit ADLs

Older adults can develop medical conditions that make it difficult to perform simple tasks such as moving, going to the bathroom and being aware of their current surroundings. A few of these conditions include: 

  • Arthritis.
  • Musculoskeletal pain.
  • Hearing and vision problems.
  • Diabetes.
  • Circulatory and respiratory issues.
  • Tumors.
  • Emotional and mental disorders. 

If a doctor prescribes medicine to help manage these conditions, memory complications can limit someone’s ability to take it as directed. 

Why Are ADLs Important?

Being able to complete ADLs on their own is an essential part of independence for older adults. These tasks allow them to stay active throughout the day while caring for themselves and their surroundings. It’s perfectly normal to need assistance with more challenging tasks such as fixing broken household objects or cleaning hard-to-reach places. However, taking notice of any significant changes in the ability to perform typical ADLs is essential for assessing an older person’s future within their current living space. 

ADLs Checklist

Recognizing when daily routines get more difficult to complete can be challenging without directly looking for the signs. Use this checklist to see how your or your parent’s independence correlates to these everyday activities. 

On a scale of one through three where one is total dependence, two is a need for some assistance and three is complete independence, rank these activities based on your findings from your or your parent’s capabilities each day:

  • Bathing
  • Eating
  • Walking
  • Climbing stairs
  • Dental care
  • Transferring from bed to wheelchair and vice versa
  • Dressing
  • Driving
  • Cooking
  • Shopping
  • Maintaining your house
  • Managing medications
  • Taking care of personal finances 

If the number exceeds fifteen, you may want to consider reaching out for help. Even if the signs of limited ADLs are minimal, it may be a good time to start investigating future treatment and care options. It may be challenging to come to terms with the reality of a loved one aging. However, there’s no shame in admitting that you or a loved one could benefit from receiving help. Rest assured that there are talented and dedicated communities that can help you or your parents continue to grow and find satisfaction in life. 

ADLs and Assisted Living

Aging can start to limit activities we once considered routine. Reaction times slow down, and thought processes take longer to complete. This change is a normal part of life — even without an underlying medical condition, ADLs can become more challenging over time. 

Limitations in ADLs may be the first indication of needing help from an assisted living community. Living safely on your own can grow more challenging as you age. While it’s rewarding to live independently, it can prove challenging to those who notice a difference in how they eat, move and care for their bodies. 

When selecting an assisted living community, staff members will ask about any limitations regarding ADLs. This question allows the team of qualified experts to become aware of an individual’s current health conditions and the help they may require upon moving in. Assisted living provides numerous services that allow residents to remain independent while receiving assistance in completing their everyday tasks.

These environments are a perfect solution for those who need assistance with ADLs. Residents can thrive in their own living spaces with the help of staff members who ensure comfort and satisfaction at every stage of the assisted living process. 

Trust Walnut Crossing to Care for Your Loved One’s Needs

If your parent shows signs of limited ADLs due to aging or health conditions, consider transitioning from independent living to assisted living. Sit down with them and come to terms with their current situation. Their comfort toward this change is essential to the success of their growth in an assisted living community. Ensure they understand the need for help from trusted staff before finalizing any decisions regarding their future. 

At Walnut Crossing, our top priority is every resident’s happiness and health. Our positive growth mindset allows everyone to reach new goals for themselves while still maintaining a sense of independence. Whether looking for care for yourself or your loved one, every moment is truly special for all parties as the road to life enrichment becomes more evident every day. 

Contact us today with questions about our community or services for enhancing ADLs. 

Trust Walnut Crossing to Care for Your Loved One's Needs

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