There are some common activities we complete in our everyday lives. From cooking meals, bathing, managing money, and cleaning around the house, we handle these tasks without a second thought. However, completing these activities can become much more challenging as we get older. In senior care, these common everyday tasks are called ADLs and IADLs.
In this post, we’ll discuss more about ADLs and IADLs, including why they’re essential and the timeframe of when seniors typically lose these skills.
What Are ADLs?
ADLs stand for activities of daily living. These activities are the common tasks we all do in our everyday lives, and we typically learn these at a very young age.
ADLs include the following:
If you or your loved one is struggling with ADLs, consider improving or increasing the level of care.
What Are IADLs?
IADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living, are also everyday tasks we complete daily. However, they’re more complex, and these activities are typically taught to us as adolescents. These require critical thinking and organizational skills.
IADLs include the following:
- Managing finances
- House cleaning
- Home maintenance
- Meal preparation
- Managing medications
While IADLs aren’t necessarily essential for survival, not being able to complete these tasks can be very problematic.
Importance of ADLs and IADLs
As we age, it’s important to maintain a certain quality of life. Failure to complete common everyday tasks can lead to relationship issues, financial hardships, and even serious health problems. Additionally, having issues with ADLs and IADLs can be dangerous. Your safety is at risk if you can’t walk around your home or cook meals. Many problems with ADLs and IADLs stem from cognitive or physical challenges.
Speak with your loved one’s doctor if you think they need assistance with ADLs or IADLs. They will likely have you talk with a senior care specialist to determine if professional help is required. For people struggling with these everyday activities, sometimes the best option is to join an assisted living community.
Losing IADLs Typically Comes First
Wondering when seniors lose their ability to handle ADLs and IADLs? Not sure which activities they lose first? Well, it depends on the person. However, as IADLs are typically more complex tasks, seniors often lose these before ADLs. For example, someone may have trouble shopping and going to the grocery store but have no issues with cooking and eating.
Different Needs for Different People
While IADLs are usually the activities seniors lose first, it depends on the person and their health. For example, if your loved one has a bad back, they can have problems with mobility. However, they may be able to handle other ADLs, and managing IADLs shouldn’t be as difficult. If they have a physical ailment, they could struggle with the physically demanding ADLs and IADLs. The same goes for cognitive issues; if critical thinking and problem-solving are difficult, the ADLs and IADLs that require more brain power could be more challenging.
Knowing When to Get Help
Not sure if your loved one needs professional assistance? Unfortunately, knowing the right time to find help isn't easy. It’s best to keep a close eye on your loved one and look for any areas of concern. You may also try talking to them about their comfort level with ADLs and IADLs.
If you notice any of the following, consider speaking with a doctor about finding professional assistance:
- Their home is excessively cluttered and messy
- Your loved one isn’t showering and keeping up with hygiene
- They go several days without doing the dishes
- Your loved one isn’t preparing or cooking meals
- They have trouble keeping up with bills
While it’s normal to have less energy when we get older, there could be a problem if your loved one struggles with ADLs and IADLs. By offering your support and finding professional help if needed, your loved one can live a safer, happier life!