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​What are Activities of Daily Living?

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Activities of Daily Living

We’ve all heard the term but what does it really mean? The Activities of Daily Living (or ADLs) are the

things we do every day: getting out of bed, going to the bathroom, taking a shower, brushing our teeth,

dressing, eating, interacting with others, talking on the phone, getting in and out of a chair, taking

medication, driving, and the list goes on.

When we’re young, and healthy we don’t give these activities a second thought. It’s only when we

can no longer do some or all these things that we get concerned. When this happens; life changes for

everyone. We are concerned with our quality of life, our independence, our future. Our spouse usually

assumes the role of the caregiver with all the additional responsibilities and worries that entails. Our

family members start talking about assisted living or even nursing homes for us. All these things come

into play when the ability to perform the activities of daily living is impaired.

What to do?

The first thing is to have a professional evaluate your loved one. The situation might not be

as dire as you think. Assess both the inside and outside of the home to insure the individual is in a safe

environment. If the home is no longer safe for your loved one then make the necessary modifications.

If an outside caregiver is needed, ask around as to the best home health agency in the area. Interview

them and ask for references. Do your due diligence, remember you will be entrusting your loved one

to this agency and the people that work for them. Personally meet and talk with the caregiver who will

be caring for your loved one. If you don’t feel comfortable with the individual the agency selected ask

to interview others. Go with your gut feeling. If a family member is the caregiver, periodically check

to see that the caregiver isn’t overwhelmed. Other family members need to pitch in so that the family

caregiver has time off. Respite care for the caregiver is essential.