A Deeper Dive Into Understanding Activities of Daily Living

Activities of Daily Living
Kevin Wenke

Kevin Wenke

CFP | CLU | Investing | Insurances | Taxes

      • Transferring – The ability to move from one position to another and walk independently,
      • Personal Hygiene – the ability to Bathe and groom oneself and maintain dental hygiene etc.,
      • Dressing – The ability to select appropriate clothes and put them on,
      • Eating – The ability to feed oneself,
      • Toileting – The ability to get to and from the toilet, using it, and cleaning oneself,
      • Continence – The ability to control bladder and bowel function.
      • Basic mobility – The ability to walk or move around independently, including getting in and out of a bed or chair and moving around the home or community.

    In the later stages of her life, I recall vividly how my grandmother faced challenges performing all seven of these activities due to her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. She passed away in August 2003, which was the same month I earned my insurance license, which started me on the path to being a CFP. Since then, I have worked with other families who have helped their loved ones who have struggled with ADLs both from aging AND illness or accidents. In fact, in 2016, I had difficulty with several of these activities when I battled esophageal cancer.

    I believe diving just a little deeper into our understanding of the different categories of ADLs can help caregivers and healthcare professionals identify areas where individuals may need assistance or support. As a financial planner, I find addressing the potential need for long-term care services is a topic that makes a lot of people anxious. Nobody wants to lose their independence, and that is why understanding, communicating, and planning are so important. 

    Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living - ADLs)

    Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living – ADLs) are the essential tasks that individuals must perform on a daily basis to maintain their personal hygiene and well-being. These tasks include bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and feeding. For many individuals, these tasks may seem simple and straightforward, but for those who struggle with ADLs, they can be challenging and daunting.

    Bathing

    Bathing is an essential ADL that involves the use of water to clean the body. For individuals who struggle with mobility, bathing can be a challenging task, and they may require assistance with washing and drying themselves. Additionally, individuals with cognitive or mental health impairments may require support to ensure their safety while bathing.

    Grooming

    Grooming is another ADL that involves maintaining personal hygiene and appearance. This includes brushing teeth, combing hair, and maintaining facial hair. For individuals who struggle with fine motor skills or vision impairments, grooming tasks can be challenging, and they may require assistance to complete these tasks.

    Dressing

    Dressing is an ADL that involves selecting appropriate clothing and putting it on independently. Individuals who struggle with dressing may require assistance with selecting clothing and putting it on. Additionally, individuals with physical disabilities may require adaptive clothing or devices to assist with dressing.

    Toileting

    Toileting is an ADL that involves managing personal hygiene and using the toilet or commode as necessary. For individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments, toileting can be a challenging task, and they may require assistance with managing personal hygiene and using the toilet or commode.

    Feeding

    Feeding is an ADL that involves the ability to feed oneself, including the use of utensils or other aids as needed. Individuals who struggle with fine motor skills or cognitive impairments may require assistance with feeding themselves, and they may require adaptive utensils or devices to assist with feeding.

    In conclusion, Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living – ADLs) are the most basic self-care tasks that individuals must perform to meet their personal needs. These tasks include bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and feeding. Individuals who struggle with ADLs may require assistance with these tasks to ensure their well-being and independence. It is essential to understand the challenges that individuals may face when performing ADLs and to provide the necessary support and assistance to promote their independence and quality of life.

    Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - iADLs)

    Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – iADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their daily routine and maintain their quality of life. These tasks are more complex than ADLs and require a higher level of cognitive functioning and problem-solving abilities. The iADLs include managing finances, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, and medication management. Each of these tasks plays a vital role in an individual’s ability to maintain their independence and quality of life.

    Managing finances

    Managing finances is a crucial iADL that involves managing money and paying bills. Individuals who struggle with managing finances may require assistance with budgeting, paying bills, and balancing checkbooks. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist individuals with financial management to ensure they have the necessary resources to meet their basic needs.

    Shopping

    Shopping is another iADL that involves purchasing food, clothing, and other household items. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with shopping or may rely on delivery services to have items brought to their homes. Healthcare professionals or caregivers can provide support in creating a shopping list, ordering items online, or driving individuals to the store.

    Meal Preparation

    Meal preparation is an iADL that involves preparing nutritious meals for oneself. For individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments, meal preparation can be challenging, and they may require assistance with planning meals, grocery shopping, or cooking. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with meal preparation to ensure individuals are receiving adequate nutrition.

    Transportation

    Transportation is an iADL that involves getting from one location to another, including medical appointments, grocery shopping, and social activities. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with transportation or rely on public transportation or ride-sharing services. Healthcare professionals or caregivers may assist with arranging transportation to ensure individuals can attend important appointments or events.

    Medication

    Medication management is an iADL that involves managing medications and adhering to prescribed medication schedules. For individuals who struggle with cognitive impairments or vision impairments, medication management can be challenging, and they may require assistance with organizing and taking medication. Healthcare professionals or caregivers may assist with medication management to ensure individuals are taking the appropriate medications at the right time.

    In conclusion, Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – iADLs) are the tasks that individuals perform to maintain their daily routine and quality of life. These tasks include managing finances, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, and medication management. Individuals who struggle with iADLs may require support from caregivers or healthcare professionals to maintain their independence and quality of life. It is essential to understand the challenges that individuals may face when performing iADLs and to provide the necessary support and assistance to promote their independence and well-being.

    Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living - dADLs)

    Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living – dADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their home and living environment. These tasks are essential for creating a safe, healthy, and comfortable living environment. The dADLs include cleaning, laundry, yard work, and home maintenance.

    Clearing

    Cleaning is a crucial dADL that involves keeping the home free of dirt, dust, and other contaminants. Individuals who struggle with mobility or respiratory issues may require assistance with cleaning to ensure a healthy living environment. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, and mopping.

    Laundry

    Laundry is another dADL that involves cleaning and maintaining clothing and linens. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with doing laundry, including sorting, washing, drying, and folding clothes. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with laundry tasks to ensure individuals have clean clothing and linens.

    Yard work

    Yard work is a dADL that involves maintaining the outdoor living environment. This includes tasks such as mowing the lawn, pruning bushes, and raking leaves. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with yard work or may rely on professional landscaping services. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with yard work tasks to ensure individuals have a safe and well-maintained outdoor environment.

    Home maintenance

    Home maintenance is a dADL that involves maintaining the home’s physical structure and systems. This includes tasks such as changing light bulbs, fixing leaky faucets, and replacing air filters. Individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments may require assistance with home maintenance tasks or may rely on professional home repair services. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with home maintenance tasks to ensure individuals have a safe and comfortable living environment.

    In conclusion, Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living – dADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their home and living environment. These tasks include cleaning, laundry, yard work, and home maintenance. Individuals who struggle with dADLs may require assistance with these tasks to ensure their living environment is safe and well-maintained. Caregivers and healthcare professionals can provide support and assistance with dADLs to ensure individuals maintain their independence and quality of life. Understanding the challenges that individuals may face when performing dADLs and providing the necessary support and assistance is crucial for promoting their well-being and independence.

    What You Can Do When Someone Needs Help With ADLs

    When Someone you care for needs help with ADLs TODAY.

    If you have someone in your life who currently needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), there are several steps you can take to provide support and assistance. The first and most crucial step is to communicate openly with them about their needs and the type of assistance they require. Engage in a frank and compassionate conversation about their abilities and limitations, and be sure to listen carefully to their responses. This will help you gain an understanding of how best to help them and provide them with the necessary support.

    The second step is to seek out assistance from healthcare professionals or caregivers who can provide specialized care and support. Depending on the severity of their condition, they may require assistance from trained professionals, such as occupational therapists or home health aides. These professionals can help individuals perform ADLs independently, manage medication, and monitor their health condition. They can also provide guidance on adaptive equipment or assistive technology that can help with mobility, communication, and other challenges.

    Finally, you can consider implementing assistive technology or equipment to help individuals perform ADLs independently. There are various assistive devices available, such as walking aids, shower chairs, adaptive clothing, and eating utensils. These devices can help individuals with mobility issues or cognitive impairments perform ADLs more independently and comfortably. In addition, technology such as smart home devices, wearable sensors, and voice-activated assistants can help individuals with ADLs and improve their safety and quality of life.

    It is essential to approach these conversations with empathy and sensitivity, as it can be challenging for individuals to accept help or admit to needing assistance with ADLs. It is crucial to reassure them that receiving assistance does not diminish their independence or sense of dignity and that the support provided will help them maintain their quality of life. Furthermore, seeking assistance from healthcare professionals and caregivers can help alleviate the burden of caregiving and prevent burnout among family members.

    Long-Term Care Planning

    For individuals who are still 100% independent, it is essential to put a plan in place for a time when they may require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).

     A comprehensive plan should include information about their medical history, medications, and emergency contacts, as well as any other relevant information that would be helpful for their care. Additionally, they should also consider setting up a durable power of attorney for healthcare and financial matters. This will ensure that their wishes are followed in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Having these plans in place can help ensure that they receive the best care possible and are not a burden to those caring for them. It is important to consider the type of care they would like to receive and to document it in the plan. This includes the type of medical care they would like to receive, such as whether they would prefer to receive palliative care or aggressive treatments. 

    Additionally, they should also consider their wishes for end-of-life care, such as whether they would like to be kept alive on life support or if they would prefer to be allowed to die naturally. It is also important to consider the type of living arrangements they would like. This includes whether they want to remain in their own home or if they would prefer to move into an assisted living facility. 

    Additionally, they should also consider who they would like to make decisions for them in the event that they are unable to do so. This could be a family member, a close friend, or a professional guardian. 

    Having a plan in place can help ensure that individuals receive the care they need and that their wishes are respected. It can also help to ease the burden on those caring for them and provide peace of mind that their wishes will be followed. It is important to create a plan that is comprehensive and up-to-date in order to ensure that all of the individual’s wishes are taken into consideration.

     

    The 7 ADLs

    Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are the basic self-care tasks an individual needs to perform on a daily basis to live independently. The medical and Insurance fields name 6, sometimes 7 ADLs, to define whether a person is able to be self-sufficient. These ADL’s include:

      • Transferring – The ability to move from one position to another and walk independently,
      • Personal Hygiene – the ability to Bathe and groom oneself and maintain dental hygiene etc.,
      • Dressing – The ability to select appropriate clothes and put them on,
      • Eating – The ability to feed oneself,
      • Toileting – The ability to get to and from the toilet, using it, and cleaning oneself,
      • Continence – The ability to control bladder and bowel function.
      • Basic mobility – The ability to walk or move around independently, including getting in and out of a bed or chair and moving around the home or community.

    In the later stages of her life, I recall vividly how my grandmother faced challenges performing all seven of these activities due to her diagnosis of Parkinson’s Disease. She passed away in August 2003, which was the same month I earned my insurance license, which started me on the path to being a CFP. Since then, I have worked with other families who have helped their loved ones who have struggled with ADLs both from aging AND illness or accidents. In fact, in 2016, I had difficulty with several of these activities when I battled esophageal cancer.

    I believe diving just a little deeper into our understanding of the different categories of ADLs can help caregivers and healthcare professionals identify areas where individuals may need assistance or support. As a financial planner, I find addressing the potential need for long-term care services is a topic that makes a lot of people anxious. Nobody wants to lose their independence, and that is why understanding, communicating, and planning are so important. 

    Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living - ADLs)

    Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living – ADLs) are the essential tasks that individuals must perform on a daily basis to maintain their personal hygiene and well-being. These tasks include bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and feeding. For many individuals, these tasks may seem simple and straightforward, but for those who struggle with ADLs, they can be challenging and daunting.

    Bathing

    Bathing is an essential ADL that involves the use of water to clean the body. For individuals who struggle with mobility, bathing can be a challenging task, and they may require assistance with washing and drying themselves. Additionally, individuals with cognitive or mental health impairments may require support to ensure their safety while bathing.

    Grooming

    Grooming is another ADL that involves maintaining personal hygiene and appearance. This includes brushing teeth, combing hair, and maintaining facial hair. For individuals who struggle with fine motor skills or vision impairments, grooming tasks can be challenging, and they may require assistance to complete these tasks.

    Dressing

    Dressing is an ADL that involves selecting appropriate clothing and putting it on independently. Individuals who struggle with dressing may require assistance with selecting clothing and putting it on. Additionally, individuals with physical disabilities may require adaptive clothing or devices to assist with dressing.

    Toileting

    Toileting is an ADL that involves managing personal hygiene and using the toilet or commode as necessary. For individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments, toileting can be a challenging task, and they may require assistance with managing personal hygiene and using the toilet or commode.

    Feeding

    Feeding is an ADL that involves the ability to feed oneself, including the use of utensils or other aids as needed. Individuals who struggle with fine motor skills or cognitive impairments may require assistance with feeding themselves, and they may require adaptive utensils or devices to assist with feeding.

    In conclusion, Personal Care Assistance (Activities of Daily Living – ADLs) are the most basic self-care tasks that individuals must perform to meet their personal needs. These tasks include bathing, grooming, dressing, toileting, and feeding. Individuals who struggle with ADLs may require assistance with these tasks to ensure their well-being and independence. It is essential to understand the challenges that individuals may face when performing ADLs and to provide the necessary support and assistance to promote their independence and quality of life.

    Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - iADLs)

    Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – iADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their daily routine and maintain their quality of life. These tasks are more complex than ADLs and require a higher level of cognitive functioning and problem-solving abilities. The iADLs include managing finances, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, and medication management. Each of these tasks plays a vital role in an individual’s ability to maintain their independence and quality of life.

    Managing finances

    Managing finances is a crucial iADL that involves managing money and paying bills. Individuals who struggle with managing finances may require assistance with budgeting, paying bills, and balancing checkbooks. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist individuals with financial management to ensure they have the necessary resources to meet their basic needs.

    Shopping

    Shopping is another iADL that involves purchasing food, clothing, and other household items. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with shopping or may rely on delivery services to have items brought to their homes. Healthcare professionals or caregivers can provide support in creating a shopping list, ordering items online, or driving individuals to the store.

    Meal Preparation

    Meal preparation is an iADL that involves preparing nutritious meals for oneself. For individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments, meal preparation can be challenging, and they may require assistance with planning meals, grocery shopping, or cooking. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with meal preparation to ensure individuals are receiving adequate nutrition.

    Transportation

    Transportation is an iADL that involves getting from one location to another, including medical appointments, grocery shopping, and social activities. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with transportation or rely on public transportation or ride-sharing services. Healthcare professionals or caregivers may assist with arranging transportation to ensure individuals can attend important appointments or events.

    Medication

    Medication management is an iADL that involves managing medications and adhering to prescribed medication schedules. For individuals who struggle with cognitive impairments or vision impairments, medication management can be challenging, and they may require assistance with organizing and taking medication. Healthcare professionals or caregivers may assist with medication management to ensure individuals are taking the appropriate medications at the right time.

    In conclusion, Lifestyle Support (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – iADLs) are the tasks that individuals perform to maintain their daily routine and quality of life. These tasks include managing finances, shopping, meal preparation, transportation, and medication management. Individuals who struggle with iADLs may require support from caregivers or healthcare professionals to maintain their independence and quality of life. It is essential to understand the challenges that individuals may face when performing iADLs and to provide the necessary support and assistance to promote their independence and well-being.

    Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living - dADLs)

    Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living – dADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their home and living environment. These tasks are essential for creating a safe, healthy, and comfortable living environment. The dADLs include cleaning, laundry, yard work, and home maintenance.

    Clearing

    Cleaning is a crucial dADL that involves keeping the home free of dirt, dust, and other contaminants. Individuals who struggle with mobility or respiratory issues may require assistance with cleaning to ensure a healthy living environment. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with cleaning tasks such as dusting, vacuuming, and mopping.

    Laundry

    Laundry is another dADL that involves cleaning and maintaining clothing and linens. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with doing laundry, including sorting, washing, drying, and folding clothes. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with laundry tasks to ensure individuals have clean clothing and linens.

    Yard work

    Yard work is a dADL that involves maintaining the outdoor living environment. This includes tasks such as mowing the lawn, pruning bushes, and raking leaves. Individuals who struggle with mobility may require assistance with yard work or may rely on professional landscaping services. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with yard work tasks to ensure individuals have a safe and well-maintained outdoor environment.

    Home maintenance

    Home maintenance is a dADL that involves maintaining the home’s physical structure and systems. This includes tasks such as changing light bulbs, fixing leaky faucets, and replacing air filters. Individuals who struggle with mobility or cognitive impairments may require assistance with home maintenance tasks or may rely on professional home repair services. Caregivers or healthcare professionals may assist with home maintenance tasks to ensure individuals have a safe and comfortable living environment.

    In conclusion, Activity Assistance (Domestic Activities of Daily Living – dADLs) are the activities that individuals perform to maintain their home and living environment. These tasks include cleaning, laundry, yard work, and home maintenance. Individuals who struggle with dADLs may require assistance with these tasks to ensure their living environment is safe and well-maintained. Caregivers and healthcare professionals can provide support and assistance with dADLs to ensure individuals maintain their independence and quality of life. Understanding the challenges that individuals may face when performing dADLs and providing the necessary support and assistance is crucial for promoting their well-being and independence.

    What You Can Do When Someone Needs Help With ADLs

    When Someone you care for needs help with ADLs TODAY.

    If you have someone in your life who currently needs assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), there are several steps you can take to provide support and assistance. The first and most crucial step is to communicate openly with them about their needs and the type of assistance they require. Engage in a frank and compassionate conversation about their abilities and limitations, and be sure to listen carefully to their responses. This will help you gain an understanding of how best to help them and provide them with the necessary support.

    The second step is to seek out assistance from healthcare professionals or caregivers who can provide specialized care and support. Depending on the severity of their condition, they may require assistance from trained professionals, such as occupational therapists or home health aides. These professionals can help individuals perform ADLs independently, manage medication, and monitor their health condition. They can also provide guidance on adaptive equipment or assistive technology that can help with mobility, communication, and other challenges.

    Finally, you can consider implementing assistive technology or equipment to help individuals perform ADLs independently. There are various assistive devices available, such as walking aids, shower chairs, adaptive clothing, and eating utensils. These devices can help individuals with mobility issues or cognitive impairments perform ADLs more independently and comfortably. In addition, technology such as smart home devices, wearable sensors, and voice-activated assistants can help individuals with ADLs and improve their safety and quality of life.

    It is essential to approach these conversations with empathy and sensitivity, as it can be challenging for individuals to accept help or admit to needing assistance with ADLs. It is crucial to reassure them that receiving assistance does not diminish their independence or sense of dignity and that the support provided will help them maintain their quality of life. Furthermore, seeking assistance from healthcare professionals and caregivers can help alleviate the burden of caregiving and prevent burnout among family members.

    Long-Term Care Planning

    For individuals who are still 100% independent, it is essential to put a plan in place for a time when they may require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs).

     A comprehensive plan should include information about their medical history, medications, and emergency contacts, as well as any other relevant information that would be helpful for their care. Additionally, they should also consider setting up a durable power of attorney for healthcare and financial matters. This will ensure that their wishes are followed in the event that they are no longer able to make decisions for themselves. Having these plans in place can help ensure that they receive the best care possible and are not a burden to those caring for them. It is important to consider the type of care they would like to receive and to document it in the plan. This includes the type of medical care they would like to receive, such as whether they would prefer to receive palliative care or aggressive treatments. 

    Additionally, they should also consider their wishes for end-of-life care, such as whether they would like to be kept alive on life support or if they would prefer to be allowed to die naturally. It is also important to consider the type of living arrangements they would like. This includes whether they want to remain in their own home or if they would prefer to move into an assisted living facility. 

    Additionally, they should also consider who they would like to make decisions for them in the event that they are unable to do so. This could be a family member, a close friend, or a professional guardian. 

    Having a plan in place can help ensure that individuals receive the care they need and that their wishes are respected. It can also help to ease the burden on those caring for them and provide peace of mind that their wishes will be followed. It is important to create a plan that is comprehensive and up-to-date in order to ensure that all of the individual’s wishes are taken into consideration.

     

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