Activities of daily living: What are they and how are they used?

Assessing whether your older loved one needs extra help can be a tough nut to crack. But fear not, the activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are here to save the day! Think of them as the “Batman and Robin” of caregiving assessments.

The six ADLs are like the six-pack of superhero abs: Bathing, Dressing, Toileting, Transferring, Continence, and Feeding. If your loved one can do all six without any help, they’re practically Wonder Woman or Superman and can take care of themselves with ease. But if they score two or fewer, they might need more help than the Caped Crusader.

The eight IADLs are like the supporting cast of a superhero movie, including Using the Telephone, Shopping, Food Preparation, Housekeeping, Laundry, Mode of Transportation, Responsibility for Own Medications, and Managing Finances. These activities may not be as glamorous as fighting crime, but they’re just as important for your loved one’s independence.

But keep in mind, these tools aren’t perfect. Sometimes people have bad days, and sometimes they might exaggerate their abilities (we’re looking at you, grandpa). With regular check-ins, we can make sure they stay on track and avoid any supervillain-sized problems.

So, next time you’re wondering if your loved one needs extra help, just remember: ADLs and IADLs are the dynamic duo you need to save the day!

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