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what are adls

What are ADLs?

As we age, it is essential to maintain our independence safely. However, it’s natural for our bodies to go through changes that can impact our ability to do routine tasks.

One of the most crucial aspects of maintaining independence is ensuring we can perform the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) without any challenges or assistance. But what are ADLs, and how do they impact a person’s quality of life?

Hillside Springs is a personal care home and memory care community that serves families and individuals in and around Dallas, Georgia. It’s our mission to ensure that residents receive the support they need while enjoying all the comforts of home.

Below, our senior care team explains what activities of daily living are and their impact on a person’s independence.

Understanding Activities of Daily Living

Everyone has a routine, and these routines benefit our daily lives by providing time for self-care and essential wellness tasks or even just peace of mind and a sense of comfort. 

Think about your own morning routine: do you wake up and brush your teeth first thing in the morning? Do you take a shower and get dressed for the day before coffee? These various tasks are considered ADLs and are used to gauge a person’s ability to function independently. 

Activities of Daily Living or ADLs are the fundamental tasks we have to complete every day to lead a healthy and safe lifestyle. Including activities such as personal hygiene tasks and mobility, ADLs are vital for maintaining our physical and mental health.  

Basic Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living are classified into basic ADLs and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). Basic ADLs can be thought of as self-care tasks a person completes to maintain health, nutrition, and hygiene. These include:

  • Personal Hygiene: This includes bathing and grooming tasks like combing hair and brushing teeth. Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial for physical and emotional health, as it prevents infection and promotes self-esteem.
  • Mobility: Mobility-related activities include getting in and out of bed, walking, and navigating general surroundings. These activities are essential for maintaining independence and preventing physical decline.
  • Eating: The ability to feed oneself; it involves the coordination of motor skills to bring food to the mouth and chew and swallow effectively.
  • Dressing: Choosing appropriate clothing and putting it on, including fastening buttons and zippers.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

While basic ADLs are routine and necessary tasks, instrumental ADLs are more complex tasks that require higher cognitive and functional abilities. While these tasks don’t have to be completed every day, they are still crucial to support an independent lifestyle, and include:

  • Cooking: Preparing meals, using kitchen appliances safely, and following recipes are part of cooking ADLs. Proper nutrition is vital for overall health and well-being.
  • Housekeeping: Keeping a clean and organized living space involves tasks like cleaning and laundry. A clutter-free environment contributes to physical and mental health.
  • Managing Medications: This includes filling prescriptions, organizing medications, and taking them as prescribed. Proper medication management is critical for individuals with chronic conditions.
  • Transportation: The ability to drive, use public transportation, or arrange for transportation to appointments and outings is essential for maintaining social connections and accessing healthcare.
  • Communication: Effective communication, including using the telephone, writing, and using technology, is crucial for staying connected with others and accessing information.
  • Managing Finances: This includes paying bills on time and managing financial assets appropriately.

If you’ve noticed a loved one is having difficulties completing ADLs or you’re experiencing challenges within your daily routine, it may be time to consider additional senior care options. Here are some questions to ask:

  • Is your home or your loved one’s home cluttered or unclean, causing safety hazards?
  • Does Mom or Dad confuse medications or miss doses?
  • Do you have challenges with personal hygiene tasks?

It can become dangerous for a person to live alone if they are unable to carry out one or more ADLs, as well as diminish their self-esteem and quality of life. At Hillside Springs, our community is here to provide the support and senior care individuals need in order to maintain their independence, safety, and quality of life. 

To learn more about our services and community, we invite you to contact a member of the Hillside Springs team today.

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