6 Reasons for the Importance of ADLs in the Golden Years

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The activities of daily living (ADLs) are the basic tasks we perform every day to maintain healthy, happy lives. ADLs involve the skills necessary to meet our physical needs in six essential areas: dressing, bathing, eating, continence, toileting, and mobility. At some point in their senior years, it may become difficult for aging adults to complete important daily tasks. Older adults with Alzheimer’s or dementia often need assistance with routine activities, but needing help with everyday activities isn’t limited to elderly people with cognitive issues. A variety of age-related issues, such as arthritis, loss of balance or muscle tone, and hearing and vision loss can make it difficult for aging adults to complete the activities of daily living on their own. Read on to learn more about ADLs and why they’re so important for your elderly loved one’s health and overall wellbeing.

1. Dressing

Dressing involves more than simply being able to put clothes on and take them off. It also means choosing the appropriate items to wear based on weather conditions and a senior’s typical daily activities. Independent seniors should be able to dress themselves, meaning they can handle buttons, zippers, and other types of fasteners without assistance.

If your loved one starts to wear the same clothes for several days in a row, he or she may be experiencing decreased flexibility and dexterity in his or her fingers and limbs. You can help your parent address these issues by making sure he or she has simpler clothing options, such as shoes that fasten with Velcro closures, pants that have elastic waistbands, and shirts that have magnetic fasteners. If your parent has severe coordination, balance, or cognitive issues, you may need to offer assistance with dressing.

2. Bathing

Personal hygiene is an essential component of a healthy daily routine. By maintaining good bathing and personal hygiene habits (including hair, nail, and oral hygiene), aging adults can ensure they feel relaxed, healthy, and refreshed every day. Proper hygiene is an important part of preventing a variety of physical and mental health issues, from skin infections to depression.

If your loved one starts to neglect his or her hygiene and bathing habits because of safety concerns, try making simple bathroom modifications, such as installing a shower chair, nonslip floor and tub mats, and grab bars to reduce the risk of falls. If those modifications aren’t sufficient, consider hiring an in-home caregiver who can help your parent get safely in and out of the tub or shower and, if necessary, offer assistance with bathing, washing hair, drying off, and brushing teeth.

If your loved one needs help with bathing and grooming, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. When considering at-home care, families should make sure their senior loved ones have the resources they need to maintain their independence and remain healthy. Trusted in-home care professionals can assist seniors with daily tasks like cooking, bathing, and exercise, and they can also encourage them to focus on healthier lifestyle habits.

3. Eating

One of the most fundamental ADLs is feeding ourselves every day. Being able to feed themselves can be difficult for seniors with conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, who may even forget to eat altogether. Other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease can cause tremors and diminished coordination that can make self-feeding almost impossible.

More generally, this ADL also refers to the ability to prepare nutritious meals. Older adults need proper nutrition every day to stave off various health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Preparing healthy meals can be difficult for older adults with mobility challenges or chronic health issues. Help your loved one by doing the grocery shopping and making meals in advance that you can store in the freezer or refrigerator to reheat throughout the week. Even if your loved one doesn’t need assistance feeding him or herself, a professional caregiver can be a great source of help by preparing nutritious meals on a regular basis.

Helping your loved one plan and prepare nutritious meals is one of the many types of support an in-home caregiver can provide. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable elder care. Edmonton, AB, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

4. Continence

To maintain independence, your loved one should be able to control his or her bladder and bowels. Many elderly people experience incontinence in varying degrees, but if it isn’t addressed, it could become a significant health issue that affects your loved one’s ability to age in place. This can be a sensitive subject to talk about, but it’s important to address it because sometimes the underlying cause of incontinence can be treated and reversed. If your parent is experiencing incontinence on a regular basis, he or she may need help with changing clothes and cleaning him or herself.

5. Toileting

Being able to go to the bathroom independently is one of the most important ADLs, and it involves a person’s ability to get to and from the toilet, use it, and clean him or herself afterward. The bathroom can be treacherous and challenging to navigate for older adults, and your parent may need assistance to use the bathroom safely. If your loved one starts to get anxious about going to the bathroom alone, needs to go frequently, or requires assistance with getting on and off the toilet safely, an in-home caregiver can be a fantastic source of support.

6. Mobility

Being mobile doesn’t mean your loved one can run a 5K race or play touch football. Rather, your parent should simply be able to get him or herself out of bed and start the day without major difficulty. In essence, as long as your parent can move around the home without constant physical assistance, he or she is considered mobile.

Being mobile enables your parent to maintain balance and coordination, joint flexibility, and muscle strength. Whether your loved one needs moderate assistance or is able to walk completely independently, he or she needs to be as mobile as possible. If your parent is experiencing mobility issues, consult his or her physician to see if a cane, walker, wheelchair, or other type of mobility aid might be beneficial.

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Edmonton, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to manage without professional expertise. At Home Care Assistance, we take measures to help seniors prevent illness and injury by assisting with exercise and mobility, preparing nutritious meals, helping with bathing and other personal hygiene tasks, and much more. To learn about our revolutionary in-home care plans, call us at (780) 490-7337 today.


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