There are two groups of daily living activities. Activities of daily living are basic, routine tasks, such as bathing, dressing, eating and using the toilet that most people are able to perform on a daily basis without assistance. Instrumental activities of daily living are more complex tasks that require a certain amount of physical dexterity, sound judgment and organizational skills. A senior’s ability to adequately perform both groups of activities is usually reflective of that person’s ability to live safely and independently.

At Generations, we create care plans to determine levels of needed care and assistance. Daily living activities measure seniors’ functional abilities.

Basic Activities of Daily Living

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We group the activities of daily living into the following six categories:

  • Bathing: includes grooming activities such as shaving, and brushing teeth and hair
  • Dressing: choosing appropriate garments and being able to dress and undress, having no trouble with buttons, zippers or other fasteners
  • Eating: being able to feed oneself
  • Transferring: being able to walk, or, if not ambulatory, being able to transfer oneself from bed to wheelchair and back
  • Continence: being able to control one’s bowels and bladder, or manage one’s incontinence independently
  • Toileting: being able to use the toilet

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

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The instrumental activities of daily living include the following:

  • Using the telephone: being able to dial numbers, look up numbers, etc.
  • Managing medications appropriately: taking the appropriate medications and correct dosages on time
  • Preparing meals: making appropriate food choices and preparing meals safely, under eating is something to avoid at an older age because rapid weight loss is a very real problem.

Assessing a senior’s functional abilities helps the family determine that person’s current senior care needs. Over time, periodic assessments can be equally valuable, by showing patterns, predicting future needs and measuring either progress or decline.