Sunday, November 8, 2020

What are the basic ADL'S

When you start noticing changes in the ability of your loved one to perform or complete these basic ADL'S, this is the time when you call their primary to request an accurate cognitive assessment.

Basic activities of daily living are categories of skills that require certain levels of both physical and cognitive ability. Skill levels in these categories range from independent proficiency to requiring outside assistance for completion. Assessing a senior’s level of functioning in the following eight areas provides an effective measure of how different impairments affect their ability to live alone. When in the first stages of Alzheimer's or Dementia, some individuals are very clever in hiding problems in handling some of these basic tasks. It's not until something goes wrong that family members notice that something is wrong. 

I'll share with you where my Mom is on these tasks, keep in mind she has plateaued with her FTD/Frontal Temporal Dementia. She is able to complete a few of these on her own.

Cooking: Is the individual able to plan, prepare, and serve adequate meals? My Mom is not able to cook anymore. She thinks she can, at some point, we had to take the knobs off from the stove. 

Managing Medications: Is the individual capable of taking correct doses of medications at the right times? Is the individual capable of the above if their medications are organized in separate dosages in advance? Mom kept forgetting to take her meds at the scheduled times, she would go days without taking them, if asked she would say, of course, I took them! it wasn't until her behaviors became so erratic that we figured things out. Later on, when cleaning her house the medications would be found in the most peculiar places. Her caregiver takes care of giving her her meds.

Shopping: Is the individual able to independently shop for all their needs, including clothing, personal care items, and groceries? No, she is not able to shop on her own. she tends to pick the most random things.

Communicating Via Telephone: Is the individual able to operate a telephone and look up and dial phone numbers? She is able to answer a phone call, but can't make one, well, there have been times when she has placed a call to the proper person. This one can be a hit and miss.

Managing Money and Finances: Is the individual able to independently make and follow a budget, write checks, pay bills, make trips to the bank, and monitor their income and expenses? This one is also a hit and miss, it depends on the level of confusion she might have on a given day. There have been times when she can't recognize the value of a bill. She always says, as many of us know, that somebody stole her money when she simply misplaced it. We take care of paying all of her bills and managing her bank account. She gets a very small allowance.

Performing Housework: Is the individual able to maintain an acceptable level of cleanliness throughout their home? Incredibly enough my Mom can perform most household chores, mopping, sweeping, washing dishes, and general tidying up. She got into the habit of mopping the sidewalk in front of her house. Thankfully the neighbors are very supportive. Her CG takes care of most of the chores, "she assists Mom with them"

Driving or Using Public Transportation: Is the individual able to drive, use public transportation, or arrange for a taxi service? After many, many falls while going shopping using public transportation, my sisters and I had to step in and put our foot down and told her that we would take her, that she couldn't go to town on her own anymore. She agreed to this after a really bad fall that left her using a walker for a few months. Now, she doesn't go anywhere without her CG.

Laundering Clothing: Is the individual able to wash and dry their personal laundry? I can't tell you how many times she has broken either the washer or the dryer. We have to unplug them and tell her that they are broken. This one is still an ongoing battle. If things go right the CG will help with this.

I hope all of this helps to guide you and give you an idea of expectations versus the reality of our loved one's cognitive abilities. Remember every individual is very different.

We are on this bumpy road together, you are not alone!
Be Prepared, Be Informed, Be Empowered.
I send you beams of virtual good vibes. 

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