Activities of Daily Living: What Are ADL’s and IADL’s?

An elderly woman with her caregiver in central park new york city

Oftentimes, patients begin noticing that an illness, medical condition, or injury has started to make their daily living activities, too difficult. This may simply occur as part of the aging process as well. They want to improve their circumstances and stay in the comfort of home, but prefer not to depend on their family for fear that they could be burdening their loved ones.

Many find hope with Alvita Care. Alvita Care is a reliable provider that’s tailored home healthcare services meet the needs of individuals while encouraging independence at home.

We understand that families face difficulties when a loved one is no longer able to accomplish basic daily living activities without assistance. Activities such as eating, climbing the stairs on their own or dressing. Alvita can help.
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We are an home health care agency that provides in-home caregivers to seniors living in New York City and Long Island though our proprietary matching process.

Mature senior Caucasian couple having breakfast together.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)?

Let’s consider activities of daily living (ADLs) as basically categorized self-care tasks, similar to the kinds of motor skills that we usually learned in early childhood. Most senior care providers and health professionals group the activities of daily living into the following six categories:

  • Bathing: consists of grooming tasks such as brushing teeth, shaving and brushing hair
  • Dressing: choosing garments that are appropriate. Capable of dressing and undressing. Zippers, buttons, or other fasteners are easily managed
  • Eating: feeding oneself
  • Transferring: able to walk independently, or, if not ambulatory, being able to transfer oneself from wheelchair to bed and back
  • Continence: able to control bowels and bladder, or is able to manage incontinence independently
  • Toileting: capable of using the toilet

ADLs are often mentioned by geriatric-care professionals in connection with instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs; see below), which are slightly more complex skills.

ADLs are occasionally referred to as basic activities of daily living (BADLs).

Polite senior man helps his wife down the stairs of their transpo bus or motor home.

What are instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)?

Complex skills called Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are needed in order to continue to live independently. Usually, these are learned during our teenage years and include:

  • Telephone use: capable of dialing numbers, looking up numbers, etc.
  • Medication management: taking the correct dosages of medications on time
  • Preparing meals: making appropriate food choices and preparing meals safely
  • Caring for the home: performing housekeeping and laundry duties or arranging for services
  • Managing finances: difficulty paying bills on time, paying mortgage/rent, budgeting, etc.
  • Shopping: not being able to grocery shop or shop for other necessities. Able to manage transportation of purchases from the store to their home
  • Using transportation: being able to drive or use public transportation for appointments, shopping, etc.

Together, ADLs and IADLs represent the skills and abilities that elder seniors usually need to manage and live on their own independently.

When assessing an older person’s functions, rehabilitation specialists, doctors, and geriatric social workers,will assess ADLs and IADLs to determine the abilities of the patient and whether or not additional care is required. Some difficulties can occur when managing IADLs in those with dementias and early Alzheimer’s. Assessing IADLs is a helpful guide in a diagnosing and evaluating a patient, which can determine what kind of assistance an older person may need on a day-to-day basis.

Alvita Care’s dependable and professional caregivers provide assistance with many daily living activities ensuring that you or a loved one is remaining healthy and safe, with services ranging anywhere from a few hours to 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.

A registered nurse or caregiver in New York City that works for Alvita Home Health Care Agency
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