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March 3, 2022

ADLs and IADLs: essential senior communities guide

By: Country Meadows | Senior Living

We all get older. While we may feel like we are still youngsters in our minds, our bodies remind us that we are aging. Aging comes with challenges. It may be difficult to recognize when the challenges become overwhelming for an older loved one, and it might be time to consider assisted living care. As you begin to research senior communities, you will notice acronyms ADLs and IADLs.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living (ADLs), as they are known in senior communities, are essential and routine tasks that most healthy individuals can perform without assistance. These are basic self-care tasks we learn as children that are done throughout our lives. The inability to accomplish essential activities of daily living may lead to unsafe conditions and poor quality of life.

Professionals at senior communities measure individual ADLs to determine a person’s ability to live safely and independently. An assessment of abilities will indicate if long term care is necessary and determine the care level that may be most beneficial to make sure older adults are receiving the help, and support, they need. As chronic illnesses progress over time, resulting physical decline may lead to loss of ability to perform ADLs.

ADLs include:

  • Walking. This means that the individual is able to safely move throughout home or in the community. When visiting senior communities, walking also is referred to as “ambulation.”
  • Feeding. The ability to successfully move food from a plate or bowl to the mouth to receive life-sustaining nutrition.
  • Dressing and grooming. The older adult is able to select appropriate seasonal clothing, safely put them on and remove them and manage personal appearance.
  • Continence. Also known as “toileting” in senior communities, this assesses the ability to get to and from the toilet, use it properly and clean oneself. This ADL also reviews if the person is able to control bladder and bowel function.
  • Personal hygiene. The ability to successfully bathe one’s body, face and hair in a shower or bath as well as maintain dental hygiene, nail and hair care.
  • Transferring. The ability to move from a bed to a chair, stand up from a chair or a bed and walk safely with an assistive device.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Daily tasks that require more complex thinking skills including organizations skills are known at senior communities as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living or IADLs.

IADLs include:

  • Housecleaning and home maintenance. Living areas are safely and reasonably clean and keeping up with home maintenance.
  • Communication. Maintaining the ability to manage telephone, mail or in some case, electronic communication.
  • Managing finances. The ability to pay bills, write checks for the appropriate amount and manage financial assets.
  • Transportation and shopping. The person is able to procure necessary items such as groceries and toiletries and manage transportation either by driving or organizing rides.
  • Meal preparation. The individual is able to navigate the kitchen to prepare a meal.
  • Medication management. Ability to obtain prescription and over-the-counter medications and take them as directed.

Why are ADLs and IADLs important?

In order to live independently without assistance from another person, older adults need to be able to manage ADLs and IADLs. ADL and IADL assessments at senior communities help determine whether a senior may require assistance at home or if a long-term care community might be a safer environment.

Learn more about senior communities with Country Meadows

Country Meadows has nine locations in Pennsylvania and one campus location in Frederick, Maryland. Often referred to as one of the best retirement communities in the area, we offer a wide range of services to serve a variety of resident needs. The services within our senior communities include restorative care, rehabilitation, personal care and assisted living, memory support and independent living. If you or a loved one are beginning the retirement planning journey and would like more information about our independent living services and communities, please contact us today. Our co-workers can provide details on the services we offer, help you to schedule a tour of our active adult communities and answer any other questions you might have.


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