At both the upcoming Keiro Forum: Introduction to Caregiving and Caregiver Conference, workshops will discuss hands-on caregiving tips and family care coordination. For many people in Our Community, “caregiving” means helping a loved one with eating, moving, and dressing. However there are other aspects of caregiving, such as cooking or managing finances, that often get overlooked. Therefore, understanding an older adult’s functional status can better ensure appropriate care and support.

Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs, describe the fundamental skills necessary for independent self-care. ADLs are used to indicate an individual’s functional status. The ability to perform ADLs is also related to the dependence on other individuals and/or assistive devices. ADLs are the skills required to manage basic physical needs. These are divided into the following categories:

  • Feeding – The ability to feed oneself.
  • Dressing – The ability to select appropriate clothes and put the clothes on.
  • Bathing – The ability to bathe and groom oneself and to maintain dental, nail, and hair hygiene.
  • Toileting – The ability to get to and from the toilet, use it appropriately, and clean oneself, as well as bladder and bowel control.
  • Ambulating – The extent of a person’s ability to move from one position to another and walk independently.

The Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) encompass activities related to the ability to live independently. Managing IADLs may also require greater communication and coordination amongst family members. Discussing the finer details of how your loved one’s care team will divide up care is a fundamental part of the caregiving process. The different IADLs include:

  • Transportation and Shopping – The ability to get groceries, clothing, and other items required for daily life, attend events, and manage transportation (driving or organizing alternative transportation).
  • Managing Finances – The ability to pay bills and manage financial assets.
  • Meal Preparation – Everything required to get a meal on the table.
  • Home Maintenance – Cleaning the kitchen after eating, maintaining clean living spaces, and keeping up with general home maintenance.
  • Managing Communication – The ability to use telephone, mail, and other forms of communication.
  • Managing Medications – The ability to obtain medications and take them as prescribed.

Individual capacity for ADLs and IADLs varies greatly, and therefore it is often up to the caregiver to identify the unique level of care for their loved needs.  To learn more about how to manage your loved one’s ADLs and IADLs, we encourage you to sign up for our upcoming Keiro Forum: Introduction to Caregiving and Keiro Caregiver Conference