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Jun 6, 2022 11:00:00 AM | 5 Min Read

7 IADLs & How They Impact Senior Independence

Posted By Vista Springs
7 IADLs & How They Impact Senior Independence

Everyone has specific tasks they manage in their everyday life. We complete these tasks to take care of ourselves and our homes. These tasks are IADLs or instrumental activities of daily living. Looking at someone's ability to manage IADLs is an effective tool for measuring how well someone can live independently. An assessment of these skills occurs when a senior joins an assisted living community.

This blog will talk about 7 IADLs and discuss their effect on senior independence.

Using the Phone

Using the phone is something many of us do daily. These devices come in handy, from checking in with friends to picking up your kids from school. However, cell phones are becoming more complex. Rather than simply calling someone or sending a text, modern cell phones do much more, so many seniors have difficulty using today's smartphones.

If you or your loved one has problems using the phone, contact their doctor. You could find a more simplified cell phone, or they may need to get rid of the phone altogether.

Shopping for Groceries and Essentials

Shopping for groceries and other essentials is critical in our everyday lives. Our independence is at stake if we cannot drive or walk to the store. For these reasons, shopping is considered an instrumental activity of daily living (IADL).

Does your loved one have a stocked pantry? Are they keeping up with routine trips to the store? If not, you may need to talk to them. Failing to take care of these tasks can lead to several problems. If they can't take care of themselves, they may require some assistance. One option is to help them out on your own, or, in the case of groceries, you may be able to use a grocery delivery service to help out your loved one.

Planning & Preparing Meals

Planning and cooking meals is another crucial IADL to consider. If your loved one can't keep up with these tasks, you may need to step in to help. Failing to manage these activities can lead to several health problems, both mentally and physically.

An inability to properly manage these everyday tasks can happen for several reasons. It could be cognitive issues, mental health problems, or mobility concerns. If these are getting in the way of your loved one's health and well-being, consider contacting an assisted living community. These facilities are comfortable and accommodating and can handle a wide range of IADLs for your loved one.

Managing Medicines

Taking medications and supplements is essential at any age — it's even more critical as we get older. Because older adults can have cognitive issues and memory concerns and take multiple prescription medicines, seniors may have trouble managing their medications.

Not taking medications as prescribed means they won’t be as effective, or accidentally overusing certain medications can cause serious adverse reactions. As this problem can be severe, you'll want to take action. Consider giving them reminders to take their medication, helping them organize a pill caddy, or contacting a professional for help.

Cleaning the Home

Is your loved one leaving a messy home? Are they not cleaning or doing dishes like they used to? While many people can have a cluttered home from time to time, failing to keep things clean for months could be problematic.

Cleaning around the house may sound easy, but it can be a steep mountain to climb for seniors. As we get older, we have less energy, fatigue sets in, and we may be less inclined to clean, which is another sign your loved one might be losing some independence.

Helping out with the cleaning process or calling a professional can work wonders for your loved one's well-being. Furthermore, if your loved one continues to have independence problems, an assisted living community could be the answer.


Getting around is another critical IADL to think about. Transportation can include driving, taking a taxi, or riding a bus or train. If your loved one isn't getting where they need to go, this can impact their level of independence. If this is the case, speak with their doctor. They may offer some tips on the proper next steps.

Money Management & Paying Bills

Managing money and paying bills is something every adult has to deal with. While the average adult can forget to pay a bill on time, seniors may do this consistently. It's also common for older adults to misplace credit cards, forget about a bank account, or fail to pay a bill altogether. If your loved one has problems managing money, this is an IADL problem that needs immediate attention.


IADLs can be challenging for aging seniors. If your loved one can't keep up with everyday activities, their health and safety are at risk.

By joining an assisted living community, professionals can handle various IADLs for your loved one, increasing safety and a better quality of life!


Topics: Care Services, Health & Wellness

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