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Activities Of Daily Living (ADLs)

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Seniors and  Their Activities Of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living (ADL) refer to the standard daily tasks that individuals do throughout the course of their day. Knowing if an individual is capable or not of performing daily living activities can help a medical professional know whether or not people are able to successfully live without any assistance. If a person is unable to perform daily tasks, then the individual may need assistance with their daily life activities, such as receiving elder care in Houston.

What determines an ADL?

Although there are some common events that are widely accepted to be daily tasks, usually ADLs are determined by various factors, including the following:

  • Environmental variables
  • What are specific circumstances of the individual being tracked for?
  • What organization or person is tracking the ADL?

ADLs are ultimately decided on by organizations like insurance companies and assisted living centers that monitor geriatric and senior citizen activity patterns. Those individuals collect a great deal of data that pertains to daily activity and are able to determine the most common ones.

There are three main categories of ADLs.

Basic ADLs

Assisting Hands Houston | Houston Assisted Living ServicesBADLs – are those fundamental tasks that individuals do on a daily basis. These activities are ones that we learn during our early childhoods and are performed continuously throughout an adult’s lifetime. They include the following:

  • Maintaining mobility
  • Walking
  • Bathing
  • Grooming
  • Dressing
  • Using the bathroom
  • Eating

One really good way to tell if you are doing something that is a BADL is if it occurs are part of your evening or morning routine. If it is, there is a good chance that it is a BADL that you are doing.

Instrumental ADLs

IADLs – Instrumental activities of daily living are often tasks that can improve your odds of surviving. These tasks are ones you learn in your transitional years going from childhood into adulthood. These are higher functioning activities. However, not everyone performs them. They include the following:

  • Telephone operation
  • Transportation
  • Food preparation
  • Accounting
  • Housekeeping
  • Shopping

Cooperative IADLs

In addition to regular IADLs, there are also certain tasks that adults do with some assistance from another individual, including the following:

  • Responding to emergencies
  • Raising children
  • Observing holidays
  • Managing medicine
  • Managing finances
  • Taking care of other living things

What happens if somebody I know is unable to perform an ADL?

When somebody you know or you are unable to perform two ADLs, find out what your options are by consulting with a medical professional.

Insurance companies created the ADL label to help them with knowing what type of long-term care an individual might qualify for. If somebody cannot perform an ADL, then the person might need assistance from an assisted living facility, live-in nurse or stay in the hospital temporarily in order to heal.

Insurance starts covering conditions whenever an individual is unable to perform two ADLs. Although ADLs may be used for covering specific conditions, but are used for senior care mainly.

What can I do to assist individuals who are unable to perform certain ADLs?

It can be difficult to take care of a person who has ADL issues. Usually, ADL care is left to individuals who are professional caretakers or medical professionals. It is possible to do, but you need to understand that it can put a great strain on the relationships that you have with your loved ones and in your life.


Make sure your loved ones are kept as much involved as you can. Although they might not be able to feed themselves, of course, they are still human. Assist them with maintaining as much independence as they possibly can have with their eating process.

Have them tell you what order they want to eat their food in. Then either cut up, liquefy or dice up all of their foods before they are eaten.

If an individual has problems swallowing, be sure they rest for 30 minutes at least before they eat. That will provide them with the energy they need for working the necessary muscles to be able to swallow their food. To help make their swallowing easier, alternate solids and liquids.

Using the Bathroom

Use a bedpan if there are any mobility issues when it comes to using the bathroom. There are two kinds of bedpans that can be used: the “fractured” bedpan and the classic bedpan. The fractured bedpan has been designed for patients with hip or back issues and who can’t use a bedpan if it is too high.

Be sure your loved one is able to roll on one side and the other. If they are unable to do this, ask if you can help them with that, and then roll the person over. Before you use the bedpan, place disposable towels done in the area where you are going to place the bedpan.

Push down on the bed and then slide the bedpan under the waste area. Once it is under the person, have them rock over onto the bedpan. Help prop them up some for added comfort. In addition, after they start to go, be sure there is some toilet paper available for them to clean themselves with.

After the person is done, the steps should be repeated in reverse. Your love one will roll back onto their side, and then you need to hold onto the bedpan so that it doesn’t move around too much. Use wipes or toilet paper to make sure that the waste area is sanitized if they are unable to do it on their own. Take away the bedpan and then pour the contents down the toilet.

Maintaining Mobility

If you have a bedridden loved one, be sure they are turned over every two hours. Bedsores might develop on their body is they aren’t turned. Once they are turned, be sure to prop up their backs using pillows.

If your loved one needs to be moved up in bed, you should try maneuvering the whole bed so that the foot of the bed is higher than the head of the better (it is easier to do this with an automatic bed). Ask the individual in bed to bend their knees and then push down toward the head of the bed.

If you love one is having a hard time pushing up in bed there are reduced friction sheets that are available to make this process easier.
Other activities like walking, bathing, grooming, and dressing required you to help you loved one and be there in person to help them. You will need to catch them when they fall.

Other ADL Tips

If you have any other ADL tips just call or contact us to let us know. Assisting Hands Houston is eager to assist with elder care in Houston and make sure all of our clients get the information and help they require for their loved ones.

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