Whether you have been caring for your elderly loved one for some time or you are just getting started on your caregiver journey with them, one phrase that you are likely to have heard is “activities of daily living.” Understanding what this term means is an important part of making sure that your senior is getting the care, support, and assistance that they need to remain healthy, safe, and comfortable, and live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place.
There are two basic categories pertaining to this phrase. One is “activities of daily living” and the other is “instrumental activities of daily living”. Both refer to tasks and skills needed for a person to function, thrive, and live independently.
“Activities of daily living” are those skills that are generally learned throughout childhood that enable a person to take care of themselves. They are the basic personal care and home skills that a person uses to keep themselves alive, safe, and healthy. They include:
• Maintaining continence
• Selecting appropriate clothing
• Getting dressed properly
• Grooming themselves
• Transferring, such as getting out of bed or getting from a chair to a wheelchair
“Instrumental activities of daily living” are more complex skills, but still skills that are considered important for being able to live independently and function effectively. They are often learned during later adolescence, teenage years, or young adulthood and considered fundamental skills for adulthood. These include:
• Properly and effectively managing finances
• Arranging for or handling their own transportation, whether through driving or through use of public transportation systems
• Preparing nutritious meals and snacks effectively
• Using communication devices to reach out to others, such as making phone calls or utilizing emails
• Properly understanding and managing their medications and treatments
• Performing housework and basic home maintenance tasks, such as doing laundry, washing dishes, and changing lightbulbs
Many elderly adults struggle with these ADLs and IADLs. These are often the cause for the beginning of a caregiver relationship and can illustrate the need for an elderly adult to have additional care to help them take care of these tasks while also encouraging as much independence as possible.
If you have noticed that your aging parent’s needs and challenges have increased to the point that you are no longer able to handle them comfortably, or your schedule and obligations have changed and you are no longer able to give your parent the attention that they deserve, now may be the time for you to consider starting home care for them. A care provider can step in to fill any care gaps that might exist, ensuring that your senior’s individual needs are met and that you are still able to handle your other obligations and needs in life. This eases your stress and gives both you and your aging parent peace of mind knowing that both when you are able to be with them and when you are not, they will have the care, support, assistance, and encouragement they need to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place.
The staff at SYNERGY HomeCare are available to talk with you and your family about all of your elder care needs. SYNERGY HomeCare is an elder care agency providing quality and affordable caregivers in Bunker Hill, TX, and the surrounding areas. Call us for more information at 713-396-5211.