The Importance of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Your 1+1 Team
August 27, 2022

You may start to notice differences in your loved ones as they age and realize performing tasks may not be as easy for them as it used to be. When it becomes obvious your elderly parent can no longer get through their day without assistance, reach out to services to get the support they need. One of the first things senior care services will ask about is your loved one’s ability to perform ADLs. However, you may be wondering what ADLs are, and why they are important.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to the basic skills essential to meeting your loved one’s day-to-day physical and emotional needs, such as:

  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Mobility

How do age and health affect one’s ability to perform ADLs care?

Naturally, aging can cause a decline or impairment to the functioning of the mind and body, even for healthy individuals. The general weakness that comes with age or having a health condition usually affects the ability of seniors to perform ADLs. Specifically, health conditions that cause the decline of musculoskeletal, neurological, circulatory, or sensory systems can deter a senior’s performance of ADLs. Other factors such as social isolation, medication side effects, and characteristics of their home can make it unsafe for them to maintain their independence and do necessary tasks.

For example, if you notice your loved one wearing the same outfit every day, it most likely may be caused by their loss of flexibility or dexterity to dress on their own. Many assistive devices can help solve this problem such as adaptive clothing or dressing tools for seniors.

Personal Hygiene also commonly takes a toll when your aging loved one’s health declines. Older individuals may avoid bathing because they fear falling in the shower due to loss of mobility. You can solve this through home modifications such as grab bars or a shower chair.

If assistive devices and home modifications are not enough, it’s time to reach out to a professional for assistance.

Why are ADLs important?

The functioning status and ability to take care of oneself can have a huge impact on your elderly loved one’s quality of life. Ignoring their inability to meet their needs can contribute to an endless cycle of mental and physical pain. It can lead to malnutrition, falls, isolation, poor personal hygiene, and illnesses like urinary tract infections (UTIs). Making sure your loved one’s daily needs are met can help them avoid health problems, higher costs of care, and moving out of their home. Thus, ADLs are an important factor in decisions regarding an older individual’s care.

Your loved one may be reluctant to admit they are experiencing difficulties because they don’t want to lose their independence. However, an honest and accurate evaluation of your loved one’s ability to perform ADLs will help in creating a care plan that will meet their needs and maintain their independence. They can get an ADL Assessment from a variety of elder care experts and medical professionals.

1+1 Cares is a referral agency that works for clients and caregivers. We match caregivers with clients and inform them of your requirements. We work for you so you and your loved one can have a safe, enjoyable caregiving experience.

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