Learn & Grow/Lifestyle/Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living

As we get older, we all want to maintain our independence. After a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, we deserve our retirement years to be fun and free. There are areas, though, where some older adults may benefit from additional assistance.

The level of independence that a person can maintain is measured by a list of basic skills, referred to by the term Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. If you have a family member who you think may benefit from some assistance, it will help to be aware of what these basic activities are and how they can be accurately evaluated.

There are two categories considered when evaluating a person’s activities of daily living: Basic and Instrumental. Here is a description of each:

Basic Activities of Daily Living

  • Ambulating – The ability to move from place to place, including standing from a sitting position, and walking with good balance and minimal risk of falling
  • Feeding – Meal preparation and the ability to feed oneself
  • Dressing – Putting on clothes independently, and choosing appropriate outfits
  • Personal hygiene – Independent bathing and grooming, including dental hygiene,    and nail and hair care
  • Toileting – The ability to independently use the toilet
  • Continence – Control of one’s bladder and bowel function

person folding back a comforter on a bed

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

  • Transportation and Shopping – Being able to provide oneself with groceries and clothing, and to attend social events, either by driving or arranging for transportation
  • Meal Preparation – The ability to use kitchen appliances and tools, and everything
    required to put a meal on the table
  • House Cleaning and Maintenance – Cleaning up after meals to keep the kitchen
    sanitary, keeping living areas neat and tidy, laundry, and keeping up with necessary home repairs
  • Managing Finances – Paying bills, banking and managing personal financial assets
  • Managing Medications – Obtaining medications, renewing prescriptions,
    understanding and remembering how to take medications as directed

How Do You Know?

The information above can be used as a basic daily living checklist, but these should be used only as a way to decide if evaluation from a professional might be helpful. The risk of self-evaluation, or the evaluation of a family member is that a person’s level of abilities can be easily overestimated or underestimated. Professional assessment is the best way to get accurate information and recommend a proper course of action. Also, it’s necessary for a professional to administer an ADL assessment to determine if a person is eligible for government assistance for personal care or home care.

elderly man having a cup of coffee with a nurse in a retirement home

The Importance of Evaluation

It’s important to identify any potential difficulties with the activities of daily living to make sure that older adults are getting the support they need to live a comfortable and purpose-filled life. It’s also important to make sure that family caregivers don’t become overwhelmed by the struggle to assist a loved one who may be increasingly in need of help. Everyone’s happiness and well-being is important, and must be taken into consideration.

Experts Are Here to Help

A team of experts, led by a qualified case manager, is the best way to ensure whole-life wellness. Nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, emotional health, social activity, and nutrition should all be part of the focus to ensure the best possible quality of life for your family member.

The talented and caring professionals at Beacon Hill are dedicated to meeting every need of our residents at every level of care. Whether you need long-term care or short-term rehabilitation, we have 5-Star rated support services. We consider the whole person, their happiness, wellness and fulfillment, today and every day, no matter what the future holds.

If you’re wondering about a daily living assessment for your loved one, you can start by looking at Beacon Hill’s Daily Living Checklist. This can help you begin the decision-making process. Just remember that professional guidance is considered to be the only truly reliable source for accurate evaluation and positive steps toward your loved one’s future. And if you have any questions whatsoever about care at our community, simply fill out the contact form at the bottom of the page. We’re here to help you.

Related Stories