Thursday, November 5, 2020

What are ADL'S?


What are activities of daily living?

Activities of daily living fall into six categories of basic skills needed to properly care for oneself. Due to varying levels of physical and/or cognitive decline, a senior may be able to complete ADLs safely and independently in some categories but not others. Levels of assistance also vary; seniors may need help ranging from prompting or supervision to total support in order to ensure these basic physical needs are met. This is especially true with individuals with memory care impairments, Alzheimer's Disease, and the various Dementia's.


Is the individual able to move food and drink successfully from the table to their mouth?

Bathing and Personal Hygiene

Is the individual able to get in and out of the shower or bath without assistance? Are they able to wash their face, body, and hair? Are they able to groom themselves, maintain oral hygiene, and care for their nails?


Is the individual able to choose appropriate clothing? Are they able to put on and take off these items, including fastening and unfastening them properly?


Can the individual maintain control over their bladder and bowel function?


Is the individual able to transfer on and off the toilet, clean themselves, and resecure their clothing?

Walking and Transferring

Is the individual able to walk independently? Are they able to move to and from a chair and bed without the assistance of another person? The use of assistive devices and mobility aids is acceptable.

Sidney Katz, MD, first formulated an index of basic activities that are necessary for a senior to live independently in 1963. This scale is still used by healthcare professionals to assess functional abilities and evaluate long-term care needs in older adults. These six activities of daily living (ADLs) are also used to determine a senior’s eligibility for supportive services and financial assistance, such as Medicaid long-term care, and VA benefits. Appropriate assistance with ADLs can improve an elder’s independence, health outcomes, and quality of life.

Creating an Activities of Daily Living Care Plan

The amount of assistance a senior requires to complete each of these ADLs is used to determine the level of care they require and create a personalized care plan. For this reason, most state and federal assistance programs, home care companies, adult day care programs, and senior housing facilities require an ADL assessment as the starting point for establishing a person’s suitability or eligibility for services and/or coverage.

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