When looking into Boston area home care, you may hear terms like ADL (Activities of Daily Living) and IADL (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living). These are two groups of tasks that determine the level of a patient’s independence. To understand if a senior would benefit from home care, case managers first must evaluate the needs of a possible patient.

Once a home care agency evaluates your parent, the case manager will determine whether additional care is needed.

While unlikely, some patients may need more care than what home health aides can provide. In that case, a skilled nursing home might be a more appropriate solution.  For everyone else, we almost always recommend home care services, even if it is for a few days, as insurance to prevent readmission to the hospital.

What You Will Learn:

  • Definitions of ADLs and IADLs
  • What tasks they consist of
  • Who can assess a patient

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of daily living are self-care tasks that correspond to early childhood skills. They include:

  • Feeding
  • Toileting
  • Dressing
  • Selecting Attire
  • Grooming
  • Maintaining Continence
  • Bathing
  • Walking and Transferring (moving from bed to wheelchair)

We often associate ADLs with IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living). This skill set involves more complex tasks. If a patient has issues with ADLs, they will most likely not be capable of handling IADLs.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

While ADLs are skills needed for self-care, IADLs are skills that someone needs to live independently truly. These skills are usually learned during teenage years and include:

  • Managing Finances
  • Handling Transportation (driving or navigating public transit)
  • Shopping
  • Preparing Meals
  • Telephone Use
  • Managing Medications
  • Housework & Basic Home Maintenance

Who Can Assess Seniors?

Both ADLs and IADLs represent various skill sets that people need to manage and live as independent adults. Doctors, GCMs, rehabilitation specialists, and home care companies assess ADLs and IADLs as part of a senior’s functional assessment. Difficulty managing these tasks can indicate a need for at-home help, like home care.

Additionally, family caregivers can make these assessments themselves. You should see what your parents struggle with and what they can handle on a day-to-day basis.

Providing that information to a home care company will allow them to place the right aid for your parent, so you have peace of mind knowing they’re in good hands.

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