ADLs and IADLs are common terms that senior care professionals use. ADLs stands for Activities of Daily Living and IADLs stand for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living.
If you are exploring care options for yourself or an elderly loved one, it helps to understand what these terms mean and why they matter.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Activities of Daily Living encompasses basic self-care tasks that every individual carries out as part of their daily routine.
This includes tasks such as:
• Personal and oral hygiene
• Bathing or showering
• Dressing and grooming
• Functional mobility or ambulating
• Toilet hygiene
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living encompasses little more complex tasks that individuals ought to learn in order to live independently.
This includes tasks such as:
• Cleaning and maintaining the home
• Meal preparation from grocery shopping to cooking
• Managing medications
• Managing finances
• Handling common communication modes such as the telephone and mail
• Managing transportation, whether it is driving their own car or being able to take public transportation
ADLs Help You Determine the Right Level Of Care
Regardless of age, every person must be able to manage ADLs and IADLs independently. Anyone who cannot manage one or more ADLs or IADLs will need the assistance of another person.
Different people age differently. Some may be able to manage their dressing, grooming and cooking independently but may need help only with bathing and shopping. Others may need help only with home cleaning and maintenance and still others may need help with all activities.
Identifying and evaluating ADLs and IADLs play a key role in assessing the level of care that a senior may need. This in turn helps to determine exactly what type of senior housing may be best for them. It also plays a role in determining the cost.
For example, independent living or assisted living may be appropriate options for seniors who can manage most ADLs and need only minimal help. These also cost less far less than the housing options designed for seniors who need more help.
Residential care homes may be a better fit for seniors who need assistance with most ADLs may and skilled nursing facilities may be best for seniors who are unable to perform even basic ADLs on their own. The cost of these facilities is considerably higher because of the additional care and special services provided.
ADLS Play a Role In Determining Your Coverage
Most families need financial assistance to be able to cover the cost of senior care facilities. For this they often reach out to Medicare, Medicaid or some other long-term care insurance policy. All of these insurance providers use the number of ADLs a senior needs help with as a basis for determining whether or not they qualify for assistance in paying for any type of care. As a general rule, most insurance policies start paying on the policy when the senior policy holder is unable to manage at least two ADLs independently.
Understanding ADLs and IADLs can help families make better decisions with regards to the type of senior housing to look for. It also helps insurance providers to determine the coverage that each policy holder qualifies for.