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Elderly Care Awareness: What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Elderly Care in Wayland, MA

Elderly woman holding toothbrushSuddenly finding yourself in the world of elderly care can seem overwhelming. Whether  your aging loved ones are showing signs indicating they need extra care, or have been told by their doctors that their medical, physical, or cognitive challenges will require additional assistance, if you have recently become a family caregiver for your senior parents it is important to understand not just what they need, but how to fulfill those needs. This starts with understanding the basic terms used within the elderly care community so that you know what people are talking about, and how to ask for what you need in order to take care of your loved ones properly.

One of the most common phrases you will hear within the elderly care community is “Activities of Daily Living”. These activities, also referred to as ADLs, are the routine activities you do on a daily or near-daily basis to maintain health and well-being. These are often some of the first things that seniors need assistance with, and many seniors can maintain a high degree of independence, engagement, and activity with minor to moderate care in these areas.

There are two types of ADLs, “basic ADLs” and “instrumental ADLs”. As your aging loved ones’ family caregiver, it is important that you understand both types, evaluate them in the context of your parents’ needs, and plan the proper type of care and assistance.

Basic ADLs are those that are vital to normal life functioning and necessary for physical, mental, or emotional health. They include such tasks as:

  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Personal hygiene such as brushing teeth and denture care
  • Dressing
  • Toileting
  • Transferring
  • Mobility
  • Eating

Instrumental ADLs are those that are not necessary for normal daily functioning, but are important to maintaining comfort and safety within an independent living environment. They include such tasks as:

  • Housework. such as doing the laundry, tidying, cleaning, and washing dishes
  • Meal preparation
  • Taking medications or following through with medical treatments
  • Managing finances. such as paying bills and balancing a checkbook
  • Shopping for food, household necessities, and clothing
  • Communicating such as making phone calls, writing letters, sending emails, or using video chat systems
  • Transportation
  • Pet care tasks
  • Religious observances
  • Safety responses and plans

The degree to which seniors need help with their Activities of Daily Living, both basic and instrumental, varies from individual to individual, and not all seniors need assistance meeting all of these needs. It is important to evaluate your elderly loved ones’ ADL needs and structure your care around meeting them in a way that ensure they are safe, healthy, comfortable, and happy, but that also promotes as much independence and autonomy as possible.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073