Have you heard the term ADLs or IADLs and wonder what it means? If so, you are not alone, becoming familiar with senior care related acronyms can take some getting used to! ADL stands for activities of daily living and IADL stands for instrumental activities of daily living. So now that you now the acronym, let’s break down what they actually mean and how these activities may apply to you and your loved one.
Activities of Daily Living
When you think of the word activity, your mind may first go to recreational activities. After all, when was the last time you referred to brushing your hair or going to the restroom as an activity? When it comes to senior care however, basic self care tasks are the types of actions that are associated with ADLs within the industry. Knowing what these include can help you determine if assistance is needed for your loved one, especially if they are living independently. If your loved one is already receiving assistance, these terms will be useful to you when speaking to caregivers and other providers who are helping care for your relative.
- Oral care
- Life enriching activities
- Transferring in and out of bed/chair
Instrumental activities of daily living or (IADLs). These are more complex tasks which include organizational skills. IADLs are sometimes the first signs that a parent needs help. Have you been noticing changes in the home such as piled laundry, spoiled food in the fridge or missed medications? These are all indicators that he or she is having trouble managing on their own. Below is a complete list of IADLs.
- Medication management
- Pet care
- Managing finances
- Preparing meals
- Driving or managing other forms of transportation
- Home maintenance
- Cleaning and laundry
- Using communication devices such as a phone
Developing a care plan.
Generally, seniors living at home independently need to be able to manage the ADLs and IADLs above in order to live independently without any assistance. While staying independent is very important, no older adult should have to struggle with or be deprived of basic self care. Recognizing a loved one’s limitations is the first step in developing a plan of action also known as a care plan. A care plan will help you determine the appropriate type and level of assistance needed. If you are questioning whether or not in home care or other assistance is necessary, contact a geriatric care professional or a senior planning service. These types of service providers can help you determine the appropriate care needed specifically for your family member.