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What are the ADL and IADL?

“Don’t use it or you will lose it” is a common phrase we talk about in elder care. Yes, the ADL and IADL are ways of discovering, understanding, solving the senior’s needs and wants.

Most seniors want to be independent as long as they can…hence knowing the ADL and IADL is an important thing for all who help elderly, care for elderly in any setting and support elderly in various ways.

These were coined in the 1950’s by Sidney Katz & team. They consist of some basic functionalities a human is supposed to be capable of performing, and they are:

ADL (Basic Activities of Daily Living): Bathing, Dressing, Toileting, Transferring, Fecal and urinary continence, Feeding

IADL (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living): Using telephone, Transportation, Shopping, Meal preparation, housework, taking prescribed medications

Why are they important?

  1. Assess the function of a senior or elderly or aging human being
  2. Assess the upcoming needs, to help understand the trajectory of the elderly’s health
  3. Assess the resources available to help the senior age gracefully and with dignity
  4. Assess the community (intimate family, carers) to make them aware of things that might have been overlooked.
  5. Assess the medical history to see if anything is preventable, remediable and made functional again
  6. Assess the senior themselves, to help them cope with understanding their limitations, support them in every way possible and improve their quality of life ( QOL)
  7. Assess the security and safety of surroundings, activities, and living circumstances, in ways other than just psychological, like spiritual social, familial, monetary, emotional, physical needs and wants and haves.

ADL and IADL are an extension in some ways. For one depends on the other. It’s time to assess early, frequently, comprehensively and extensively in order to make Aging a thriving & living life’s simple pleasures.

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