Getting out of bed in the morning, brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and eating breakfast are activities many of us do without giving a second thought. However, according to AARP, there are over 1 million people in the United States over 50 who require assistance with such activities of daily living (ADL’s).
Using a Caregiver ADL Checklist will help you and your caregiver identify and document the activities that your loved one needs assistance with. In this article I will discuss what ADL’s are and provide you with a downloadable caregiver ADL checklist you can customize for your own needs.
What are activities of daily living?
Activities of daily living, referred to as ADL’s, are those activities necessary for maintaining an independent lifestyle and a high qualify of life. Most younger people are able to perform these activities on their own. However, many older adults or people with disabilities may find it difficult to perform one or more of the ADL’s and will need assistance.
While basic ADL’s concern physical tasks, instrumental activities of daily living (IADL’s) deal with activities that are of a higher order and require complex thinking.
Let’s take a look at both.
What are the 5 basic ADL’s
The exact number of ADL’s vary depending on who you are talking to but most experts agree on 5 basic ADL’s.
- Ambulating – this includes being able to stand from a sitting position, being able to get in and out of bed, and having the ability to walk independently from one location to another.
- Feeding – this includes the ability to feed oneself, but not necessarily being able to prepare one’s own meals.
- Dressing – being able to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress and undress oneself.
- Personal Hygiene – these activities include bathing/showering, grooming, nail care, and oral care.
- Continence / Toileting – these activities include both bowel and bladder management and the ability to physically use the restroom without assistance.
What are the 6 Basic IADL’s
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) include cooking, cleaning, transportation, laundry, and managing finances. The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) recognizes the following 12 (IADL’s).
- Managing Finances – such as paying bills and managing financial assets.
- Managing Transportation – either by driving or coordinating other modes of transportation.
- Shopping and Meal Preparation – this includes everything necessary to get food on the table. It also includes shopping for clothing and other necessities required for daily living.
- Housekeeping and Home Maintenance – this includes cleaning up the kitchen after meals, cleaning the house and keeping it reasonably tidy, and keeping up with home maintenance.
- Managing Communication – such as telephone and mail.
- Managing Medications – this includes being able to obtain medications and take them as prescribed.
Why ADL’s and IADL’s matter
Generally, older adults need to be able to perform basic functions in order to live independently and maintain a high quality of life.
Geriatricians will use ADL’s and IADL’s to assess a person’s ability to “function”. Problems with ADL’s or IADL’s can indicate concerns about the individual’s physical or cognitive health and can help them diagnose medical issues.
Most importantly, you want to identify functional issues to make sure that your loved one is getting the assistance they need to overcome these difficulties. And, to make sure that you, as a family caregiver, get the resources you need.
Activities of Daily Living Checklist
Below is a downloadable ADL checklist for you to use. It is the same checklist I used for my home care agency clients. It allowed me to assess their needs and provided a record of the assistance that was provided by the caregiver. This checklist can be an important document to share with your loved one’s doctor as well to help them with their diagnoses and care plan.
Please feel free to download the ADL checklist below and customize as you see fit. As always, please leave a note in the comment section if you have any questions and I’ll get right back to you.