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  • Writer's picturePam

What Is An ADL Or Activity Of Daily Living?

Updated: Oct 11, 2021

Whether it be assistance at home or in a facility, when someone is looking into getting senior care for a parent or loved one, perhaps the first question they will be asked is what kind of ADLs or Activities of Daily Living do they need assistance with. The answer to this question is critical and something that will play a big role in the type of facility a person needs as well as the cost of that place. It will also impact the coverage provided by Medicare and other insurance programs you or a loved one may be eligible to receive. An activity of daily living is anything that someone is required to do every day to be a functional person living on their own. There are many things that can fall under an ADL but the main categories are things that involve personal hygiene, mobility, dressing, eating and continence. Being able to bathe, groom yourself and get dressed would be included in personal hygiene. One of the most important activities in this category includes preparing and consuming food. If you can't prepare your own food and eat independently you would not be able to live alone. Being able to get to and use the bathroom as well as clean up properly after would fall under continence. Mobility includes things like moving from bed to chairs, getting to the bathroom and onto the toilet and being able to get around safely within the home. These are usually things that progressively get worse over time and cause families to consider help for a parent or loved one. The other scenario is usually due to an accident or illness that suddenly changes one's ability to handle their daily living needs on their own. One other type of ADL is called an IADL - an Instrumental Activity of Daily Living. They are things you need to do to live alone, however they are not required to be done each day. These things include, housekeeping, paying bills, shopping, medication management and some forms of communication. Yet the inability to do these things will affect the quality of someone living alone. If you can't get transportation somewhere or can't figure out your medication properly, it will cause other issues. There are many surveys you can take at home to see what kind of needs you or your parent have which can help you prepare for the assessment or questions you will be asked when seeking care. Click on the link below and scroll down about halfway for an example of one detailed assessment of ADLs from the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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