Caregiving Challenges: What are ADLs and IADLs?
You hear the terms "ADL" and "IADL" among healthcare professionals, but what do they mean and are they relevant to you and your loved one?
ADLs = Activities of Daily Living
IADLs = Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
As your loved one ages in place, you may be asked by healthcare professionals whether your loved one needs any help with ADLs or IADLs. You'll want to understand what these mean and know how to answer.
ADLs and IADLs represent key life tasks that people need to be able to manage in order to live at home and be independent. While ADLs are basic self-care tasks, IADLs require complex planning and thinking. As a caregiver, it is good to familiarize yourself with these terms and the related skills.
ADLs, or activities of daily living, are more basic tasks that are essential to independent living and are related to personal care.
- Bathing or showering - use of a tub or shower chair and grab bars is acceptable.
- Dressing and undressing - use of grabbers or other assistive devices is acceptable.
- Grooming - attending to their personal appearance (face, hair, nails).
- Transferring - being able to move from one surface to another. Bed to a chair, chair to wheelchair, bed or chair to a walker or other assistive device.
- Ambulation (walking) - the use of assistive devices is acceptable.
- Toileting - getting on and off the toilet, using it appropriately, cleaning oneself, and managing any incontinence products. The use of grab bars is acceptable.
- Eating (feeding self) - can handle utensils and move foods and liquids to their mouth without assistance.
For each ADL, people can vary from needing no help, to needing a little help, to full dependency. Full dependency requires others to do the task for them.