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Understanding ADLs and IADLs

Understanding ADLs and IADLs

During your search for a senior living solution or home care services Massachusetts, you’ve likely come across the phrase Activities of Daily Living and maybe even Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. It is important that you understand how these terms apply to your loved one and how they play an essential role in determining what level of care is needed.

What Are ADLs?

While difficulties performing some activities such as mowing the lawn or changing the lightbulb is trivial and easily addressed, there are other daily tasks that are necessary for independent living. These basic, essential activities are what professionals call Activities of Daily Living. If your loved one is unable to complete these tasks, this indicates that need some level of assistance. There are six basic ADLs:

  • Eating
  • Dressing
  • Walking
  • Transferring
  • Bathing
  • Toileting

What Are IADLS?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are activities that are more complex and require a higher level of cognitive functioning to perform. While not as essential as the basic ADLS, it is important that seniors can also complete IADLs to continue living alone without any assistance. These activities include:

  • Managing finances
  • Communicating with other people
  • Preparing meals
  • Grocery shopping
  • Household chores
  • Transportation
  • Managing medication

How Are ADLs and IADLs used?

Paying attention to how well your loved one can complete ADLs and IADLs can help you determine if more assistance is needed. If your loved one is struggling with a few IADLs, such as keeping the house clean or cooking meals, there are often services that can help with those particular tasks. However if your loved one is struggling to use the toilet or is no longer able to feed themselves, much more care is needed. Depending on the severity of the situation and the preference of the senior, it might be time to consider assisted living, a nursing home, or at-home care.