Activities of Daily Living

Typically the need for long term care arises when one is unable to perform Activities of Daily Living or ADLs.  Sometimes these are referred to as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.  ADL and IADL assessments are performed by health care practitioners to develop plans for care.  These assessment scores are also used by public and private insurers to evaluate eligibility for coverage of the cost of care.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL):

  • Toileting and Countenance. This includes one’s ability to complete all of the physical steps of using a urinal or toilet.  It also includes recognizing when one needs to empty their bowels or bladder.
  • Eating. This assessment evaluates how a person eats or is nourished without regard to their ability to cook. One is totally dependent when they must be fed by another person or fed artificially (intravenously or through tubes into the stomach).
  • Walking, Stair Climbing, Mobility. This is an assessment of one’s ability to walk from place to place. Limitations such as short distances or use of a cane are scored.
  • Transferring. This is one’s ability to move from one resting state to another. It assesses whether one can get out of bed in the morning without assistance and whether or not they can safely move to a wheelchair or other resting place.
  • Dressing. This evaluates an individual’s ability to dress and undress themselves.  Many people who suffer from cognitive disabilities are unable to perform this function and require the assistance of others.

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