Article Posted: 04/29/2008
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Activities of Daily Living
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What are Activities of Daily Living and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living ?

 

The term "activities of daily living," or ADLs, refers to the basic tasks in everyday life, including those involved in self-care.

 

ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADLs)    

• Eating

• Bathing

• Dressing  

• Toileting (control of bladder and bowel)

• Transferring from bed or chair (and back)

• Grooming
 

The term Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) refers to activities that allow a person to live independently within a community.  These activities are not necessary for fundamental functioning, and can generally be assigned to others to do.  Typically occupational therapists use IADLs when making an assessment.
 

INSTRUMENTAL ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (IADLs)

 Food preparation

  Shopping for groceries or food

  Traveling via car or public transportation

  Taking medications  (preparing and taking proper dosage)

  Ability to use telephone (look up numbers, dial, answer)

  Housekeeping  (laundry, dishwashing, bed making)

  Ability to handle money  

Healthcare workers often assess ADLs as a measure of a person’s functional status in older people.  There are several tools typically used to evaluate ADL function, such as the Katz ADL Scale and the Lawton IADL scale.  These instruments are helpful in determining what type of health care services an individual may need.

When people are unable to perform these activities, they may need help in order to cope; either from other human beings or mechanical devices or both. Although persons of all ages may have problems performing ADLs, prevalence rates for those who experience problems are much higher for the aged  Within the elderly population, ADL prevalence rates rise steeply with advancing age and are especially high for persons aged 85 and over (Rivlin and Wiener, 1988).
 

Measurement of the activities of daily living (ADL) is critical because they have been found to be significant predictors of: admission to a nursing home, use of paid home care, use of hospital services, living arrangements, use of physician services, insurance coverage and mortality.

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