Posted December 26, 2006

When someone needs help with the basic activities of daily living (or ADL’s) its usually obvious that they should either be receiving help in the home, or moving to a community where they can receive the help they need.  ADL’s are bathing, ambulating, transferring, eating, grooming, dressing and toileting.

But what about “instrumental” activities of daily living (or IADL’s)?  These are more complex activities associated with daily life that are essential to being independent.  For example:

  • Using the telephone (looking up and dialing a number, and receiving calls)
  • Preparing meals (planning, shopping for and preparing a meal)
  • Managing money (writing checks, paying bills, balancing the check book)
  • Housekeeping (laundry, cleaning)
  • Shopping (planning and purchasing as well as arranging for transportation)
  • Managing medication (taking the correct does at the correct time)
  • Using means of transportation (travel by car, bus or taxi)
  • Caring for pets

These are usually the first signs we can look for and start to introduce some help.  Help can be a volunteer, a family member, meals on wheels, a neighbor or a professional caregiver. 

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