What Are the Activities of Daily Living?
The simple everyday personal tasks undertaken every day are often taken for granted. We get dressed in the morning, prepare breakfast, brush our teeth, and so on. But what happens when old age takes its toll on one’s abilities?
Besides age, diseases such as diabetes, kidney or heart failure, or even ailments such as arthritis can inhibit or prevent the carrying out of what we need to do. We enter into a “second childhood” in which, like a small child, we need help eating, dressing, using the bathroom, and so on.
Shakespeare made light of this condition in As You Like It,
“Last scene of all… Is second childishness and mere oblivion, Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.”
But it’s no laughing matter if your mom or dad need this kind of help and it’s difficult to provide it. A son or daughter can be stretched to the limit, especially if they have other responsibilities in their own home. That’s why many people consider hiring a caregiver from a home care agency.
Activities of Daily Living
Here are the five most basic Activities of Daily Living recognized by professional senior care services:
- Personal hygiene – bathing/showering, grooming, nail care, and oral care.
- Dressing – being able to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress and undress oneself.
- Eating – the ability to feed oneself, though not necessarily the capability to prepare food.
- Maintaining continence – being able to mentally and physically use a restroom. This includes the ability to get on and off the toilet and cleaning oneself.
- Transferring/Mobility- being able to stand from a sitting position, as well as get in and out of bed. The ability to walk independently from one location to another.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
There are also Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. These are essential for independent living, but are not required on a daily basis. They are more complex behaviors. These are higher-level abilities that are lost before the activities of daily living. They are:
- Basic communication skills – such as using a regular phone, mobile phone, email, or the internet.
- Transportation – either by driving oneself, arranging rides, or the ability to use public transportation.
- Meal preparation – meal planning, cooking, cleaning up, storage, and the ability to safely use kitchen equipment and utensils.
- Shopping – the ability to make appropriate food and clothing purchase decisions.
- Housework – doing laundry, washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, and maintaining a clean place of residence.
- Managing medications – taking the correct amount of medication at the correct time. Managing re-fills, and avoiding conflicts with other medications.
- Managing personal finances – operating within a budget, writing checks, paying bills, and avoiding scams.
Both kinds of activities of daily living are used as determining factors with government assistance and private-pay insurance plans.
The website Paying for Senior Care states,
“Medicare doesn’t pay for custodial or personal care, which most of the ADLs are considered. However, Medicare PACE programs, which provide all-inclusive care for the elderly, do consider them a factor. Some Medicare Advantage plans are also now taking the need for assistance with ADLs into consideration. They are providing in-home assistance with these activities to prevent and/or delay nursing home placements.”
“Long-term care insurance often uses an inability to perform ADLs as a trigger for paying out on a policy. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) also considers ADLs as a qualification factor.”
Seniors 55 and older who are in need of a nursing-home level of care, but who want to live at home can apply for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) program.
As stated on the Medicare website,
PACE is a Medicare and Medicaid program to help people get care outside of a nursing home. It’s for people who are 55 or older, are certified by the state to need nursing home-level care, and can live safely in the community with the help from PACE.
Depending on your income level, you may have to pay a monthly premium for services.
Custom Care Plan
Does your mom, dad or loved one need help in the activities of daily living? If so, let us sit down with you and your senior and plan out a Custom Care Plan with a needs assessment survey. Together, we will find out your senior’s needs and the best way to meet them.