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Understanding Activities of Daily Living

How ADLs and IADLs Factor Into Decision-Making

Unless you’re familiar with senior care, you might not have reason to think about the ways age can take a toll on certain functions of daily life. Two acronyms – ADL and IADL – are ones that come into increasing use when dealing with the process of aging and understanding the questions you need to ask as you determine a loved one’s ability to remain independent.

As you discuss plans for the future of a loved one who is advancing in years, it is important to understand and assess the factors that will help you get a better perspective of the steps that might need to be taken and when.

The Basics of ADLs

ADLs – or activities of daily living – are tasks that are required for the very basic level of self-care. These are the functions that someone must be able to perform in order to live.  Age can cause a decline in one’s ability to perform them independently, which means living alone and without assistance can be dangerous.

ADLs include:

  •       Bathing
  •       Dressing
  •       Getting into and out of bed
  •       Hobbies
  •       Oral care
  •       Personal grooming
  •       Rising from a chair
  •       Social activities
  •       Using the bathroom
  •       Walking

Getting Complex with IADLs

Memory and cognitive function are greatly affected by age, and IADLs – or instrumental actives of daily living – can become more of a challenge. These tasks are more complex and require greater mental focus, organizational skill, and memory. In order to live independently and safely, IADLs should be well-managed, as health can decline as these functions decline.

IADLs include:

  •       Cleaning
  •       Driving
  •       Laundry
  •       Maintenance of household chores
  •       Managing medication
  •       Managing money
  •       Meal preparation
  •       Pet care
  •       Shopping
  •       Using phones and other communication devices

Being able to live alone and without any assistance requires that ADLs and IADLs are properly managed.  As age begins to take its toll, these daily activities can become more and more of a challenge. As limitations increase, it’s important to discuss and develop a care plan to ensure that safety is maintained and your loved one’s wishes are respected. Consult with a senior care expert on services available to develop a plan and learn the signs you should watch for to make wise choices as the need arises.

Daily life shouldn’t be a challenge you face alone! Call the knowledgeable team of senior care experts at Watermark of Gulf Breeze Assisted Living & Memory Care to learn more about the assistance services and community living options we provide today!