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ADLs and IADLs: What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Senior Couple Brushing Teeth_Franklin Park® Senior Living

During your assisted living research, you have likely come across the phrase activities of daily living, also referred to as ADLs. Or IADLS for instrumental activities of daily living. While you probably have a general idea of what these phrases mean, you may not fully understand how they relate to assisted living services and care.

So, what are activities of daily living? Franklin Park® Senior Living is answering this question. As an assisted living provider serving many Texas communities, our team wants to help you and your family understand ADLs, how they impact an individual’s independence, and how they influence assisted living care.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

According to the National Library of Medicine, “activities of daily living (ADLs) is a term used to collectively describe fundamental skills required to independently care for oneself.” Also referred to as “basic” activities of daily living, these are physical skills required to manage our fundamental needs, such as eating and walking or navigating around your home.

Activities of daily living are actions we learn at a young age and continue through our adult lives. However, it is common for some of these functions to decline as we grow older and our health conditions or needs change. When this happens, assisted living and other types of senior care provide individuals the support they need to safely maintain their independence.

The American Council on Aging defines the five main activities of daily living as:

  • Mobility – Also referred to as ambulating or transferring; being able to move around or walk inside and outside the home.
  • Dressing – Picking out and putting on appropriate clothing.
  • Eating – The physical act of eating and drinking, including the proper use of utensils>
  • Personal hygiene – Includes all personal grooming activities such as shaving, nail care, brushing teeth, and safely showering or bathing.
  • Toileting – Sometimes referred to as continence; having control over the bladder/bowels and being able to safely get on and off the toilet.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

“The instrumental ADLs are those that require more complex thinking skills, including organizational skills (National Library of Medicine).”

These activities are not as crucial to daily functioning as the basic ADLs, as they do not have to be done daily. However, they are still necessary for an individual to live a successful, independent lifestyle.

The seven main instrumental activities of daily living include:

  • Transportation – Either driving, using public transportation, or arranging other means of transportation such as rides with family members.
  • Meal preparation – The ability to plan and prepare meals.
  • Managing finances – Paying bills, managing bank accounts, etc.
  • Shopping – Buying essentials such as groceries, clothing, prescriptions, and household supplies.
  • Home maintenance – Cleaning and maintaining a safe home, doing the laundry, etc.
  • Communication – Staying in contact with friends, family, and loved ones.
  • Medication management – The ability to obtain medications and take them as directed.

How the ADLs and IADLs Affect Independence

Senior living communities use ADLs and IADLs to help gauge what level of care is right for an individual. A person’s relationship to the activities of daily living directly impacts their level of independence. For example, a person cannot lead a safe and healthy lifestyle if they are unable to move around their home.

Even if a person can perform the ADLs and IADLs but have difficulty doing so, they can benefit from transitioning into a senior living community. Senior living communities don’t aim to limit a person’s independence but provide them with the support they need to live a safer, healthier life.

By moving into a Franklin Park® assisted living community in San Antonio, Round Rock, Boerne, or Dallas, Texas, you or someone you love can lead an enhanced lifestyle with improved quality of life. Our senior living communities offer compassionate care and support that help individuals safely maintain their independence, surrounded by neighbors and resort-style amenities.

At Franklin Park® Senior Living, our goals are to foster independence, encourage growth, and create an environment where residents have the confidence and support they need to achieve their goals. To learn more about our assisted living communities throughout Texas, visit our website or contact a member of our team.