Happy senior woman sitting outside with granddaughter

What are Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Getting out of bed, dressing, bathing, eating — these daily activities feel natural and effortless to most people, and are done without a second thought. Almost everyone has experienced how these routines can be disrupted by illness or injury, and how a touch of help goes a long way toward making things easier. For older adults finding these daily activities are getting harder, assisted living communities, like Eagle Senior Living, be a good option. Their needs can be addressed through personalized assisted living care for them and available around the clock.

Understanding activities of daily living (ADLs)

The ordinary activities we perform each day contribute to our feelings of independence and allow us to thrive. For example, to get out of bed, we naturally sit up and put ourselves in a position to stand up. Then we walk to the bathroom to use the toilet, shower, and brush our teeth. We then dress ourselves with clothing appropriate for the weather, fastening buttons or pulling up zippers, and bending over to put on socks and footwear. Most of us would then walk to our kitchen to prepare and eat breakfast unassisted and clean up afterward. Following this, activities such as walking to public transport, driving a car, meeting friends for an activity, shopping, and carrying and unloading grocery bags might be part of our regular routine.

What are instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs)?

Another level of daily activities goes beyond personal hygiene, continence management, dressing, feeding and ambulation. Called instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs, they’re somewhat more complex than ADLs, as they involve more reasoning and decision-making. However they’re also essential for seniors to live independently. They include:

·Maintaining the home by doing household chores, laundry, and the like
· Dealing with personal finances, such as monitoring household expenses and paying bills on time
· Planning meals, shopping for groceries and other necessities.
·Taking medications on time and in the correct dosage
· Using a phone or computer for recreation and communication
· Scheduling and attending doctors appointments for preventive and medical care
· Caring for a pet, including feeding, exercising, and getting to vet appointments
· Feeling personal safety and having the  ability to get help in an emergency

How are ADLs used in senior living communities?

Together, ADLs and IADLs are the skills seniors need to successfully live independently. Knowing which skills someone is struggling with allows caregivers in an assisted living community to determine where they are on a sliding scale of needing a little to a lot of help. This understanding is the basis of planning the right level of assistance for both current and future needs.

In an assisted living community, each resident’s need for care or therapies to maintain ADL and IADL skills is carefully evaluated. You and your family will be consulted, and personal preferences will be worked into an appropriate plan of senior care to make sure all needs are met. The plan of care will encompass:

·Performance of activities of daily living
·Current list of medications, dosages and frequency
·Contact information for primary care physician, pharmacist, relatives, and other important people
·Personal history such as profession, hobbies, habits, faith background, and so on
·Any safety concerns if you or your loved one is living at home

Why are ADLs important?

Whether it’s for yourself or a loved one, identifying specific needs will help you plan for proper care; doing so can be the difference between aging gracefully and independently or being fully dependent on others. It also plays a part in determining financial eligibility and cost coverage by programs such as Medicare or long-term care insurance.

Medicare doesn’t fund long-term care at home or in an assisted living facility, but most long-term care policies at least cover a portion of the costs. However, there are certain triggers that will determine eligibility for benefits. Insurers would require a specific assessment form to be filled out to qualify. In an assisted living community, this task is usually performed by the assessing nurse or other member of the team, who will confirm that you or your loved one meets the necessary criteria for reimbursement.

A higher caliber of assisted living

To age gracefully and stay active and independent, you may need some level of assistance at varying points in your life. Eagle Communities offer a range of living options that match where you are in the health continuum. Our communities are not like nursing homes — instead, they’re vibrant communities where our person-centered approach ensures you receive the right balance of assistance, tailor-made to your preferences, needs and wants. All the while, you can enjoy dining, recreational and cultural activities, and an active social lifestyle with your neighbors. And if more care is ever needed, we’re ready with the right programs, providing round-the-clock, long-term support for conditions such as Parkinson’s.

At Eagle communities, we take great pride in providing high-quality assisted living for a wide range of senior health conditions. If you feel that your health, or that of a loved one’s, is changing, look for an Eagle community near you, and reach out for more information.