Hand it to the health care industry to come up with yet another couple of acronyms to add to their extensive list – ADLs and IADLs. These are prevalent terms in the healthcare field used to describe the routine self-care activities that an individual engages in on a regular basis to stay independent and healthy. It is also common for these acronyms to appear in conversations if you are looking for in-home care options for an older person, or if you are researching the cost of long-term senior care for yourself or someone you know.
If you are employed in the health care industry, you are probably very familiar with what these terms mean and why they are significant. But many family members of seniors don’t work in the health care arena, and could really use a helpful description of what these terms mean and why they matter so much. So just what are ADLs and IADLs and why should you give thought to them?
The acronym ADL refers to “Activities of Daily Living.” These are everyday personal care activities that are essential to caring for oneself and maintaining independence. ADLs can include things like:
- Bathing or showering
- Getting dressed in the morning and undressed at night before bed
- Being able to feed one’s self, as well as chew and swallow independently
- Ambulating from one place to another
- Keeping up with personal hygiene such as oral care and hair care
- Going to the bathroom by one’s self and cleaning up afterward
IADL refers to “Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.” These are activities related to independent living and are useful for evaluating persons with early-stage disease, both to assess the level of disease and to outline the person’s ability to care for himself or herself. IADLs can encompass things such as:
- Ability to do household chores and laundry
- Ability to take medications as they are prescribed
- If one is able to manage personal finances
- If one can shop independently for food or other essentials
- Ability to use the phone or other modes of communication
- If one is able to use transportation to get around the community
Taking a look at a person’s ADLs and IADLs is one of the first steps when creating an independent home care plan or determining an appropriate referral for care. A person’s ADL and IADL assistance levels will help determine the amount and type of home care that are most appropriate for that individual.
At Hired Hands Homecare, we are dedicated to supporting the independence and dignity of every person we serve through assistance with ADLs and IADLs. If you would like additional help in identifying the ideal care needs of a loved one, or for a comprehensive geriatric care assessment by a qualified professional, please contact us today. We’re the Marin CA home care providers that help!