The Activities of Daily Living (or ADLs) are self-care activities all individuals must perform to lead a normal independent life. Here’s a handy activities of daily living checklist for you to refer to. When judging whether or not your parent needs assistance, be it an in-home health aide or a move to an assisted living facility, we recommend you take an inventory of their ability to perform the following 6 ADLs:
- Eating—Can your parent feed themselves? Keep in mind that not being able to prepare their own food does not mean they fail this category. It simply refers to the act of self feeding.
- Bathing/Hygiene—When you see your parent, are they clean? Are they able to bathe themselves on a regular basis? Dental care falls under this label as well.
- Dressing—Dressing does not just refer to the physical ability to put clothes on or take them off the body. It also has to do with whether or not your parent can make appropriate clothing decisions.
- Grooming—Do they comb their hair? Can they groom themselves in other ways that would be considered standard?
- Mobility—Mobility is often judged on whether or not your loved one can move about without assistance of a walker, wheelchair, or cane. This category may also refer to the ability to make effective transfers (getting out of bed, off the toilet, etc.).
- Toileting/Continence—Both bowel and bladder management would be considered toileting. Can they use the restroom without your assistance? Do they have physical issues that prevent them from toileting acts?
Why Use ADLs When Assessing Your Parent’s Needs
As noted above, the six Activities of Daily Living are the most basic activities a person performs on a daily basis. Once your parent loses the ability to perform one or more of these activities, he or she will begin experiencing a dramatic drop in quality of life if left alone.
For example, what happens if your parent can’t move around the house? Often older adults in this situation stay in bed all day or don’t move from their recliner. And if they can’t bathe themselves, they risk infections and all sorts of other problems. You get the idea.
The six ADLs will give you a very real idea of what is really going on with your parent. In fact, these basic acts are so important that they are used by a variety of groups and organizations as qualifiers:
- State non-Medicaid programs often use the inability to perform two to three ADLs to determine one’s eligibility for assistance.
- Long-term Care Insurance may use the inability to perform ADLs as an indicator to payout on a policy.
- Medicare PACE Programs that provide elderly care use ADLs as a determining factor.
What to Do If You Notice Your Parent’s Condition Declining
If your parents are having difficulty with one or more ADLs, it’s time you thought about getting them some help. Depending on the extent of their inability, you may need to find them an in in home care assistant or you might need to move them to an assisted living facility.
Need help? Contact Comfort Home Care at 301-984-1401 and let’s discuss your parent’s situation now.