Unlocking the Essentials: Exploring the World of ADLs

November 22, 2023
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ADLs, or Activities of Daily Living, are the basic tasks we do every day to take care of ourselves and stay independent. They’re crucial for our ability to live independently and handle our needs. They’re often used to assess someone’s overall functioning and plan their healthcare. Taking care of these everyday activities is important for maintaining our independence and well-being.

If you’re asking what are ADLs?, or how they play a role in home health care,  you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll look at the different types of ADLs, their instrumental activities of daily living, and their main treatments. Keep reading!

What are ADLs & Its Different Types

Basic ADLs are the essential physical tasks we need to care for ourselves. On the other hand, IADLs are more complex activities that help us live independently. Here are the main differences:


ADLs involve activities of daily living, such as:

  1. Ability to move around and walk independently.
  2. Being able to feed oneself.
  3. Selecting appropriate clothes and putting them on.
  4. Bathing, grooming, dental hygiene, nail care, and hair care.

Instrumental ADLs

These require more complex tasks:

  1. Procuring groceries, attending events, and managing transportation by driving or organizing other means of transport.
  2. Paying bills and managing financial assets.
  3. The ability to get a meal on the table, shopping for clothing, and other daily necessities.
  4. Obtaining medications and taking them as directed.

What Causes Limitations in Activities of Daily Living?

Several factors can lead to difficulties in performing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), such as:

  • Aging reduces physical function, hindering daily activities.
  • Health conditions impair physical function and ADLs.
  • Cognitive decline affects daily activities, especially in dementia patients.
  • Isolation and environmental factors impact ADL performance.
  • Hospitalization and acute illnesses lead to ADL decline in older adults.

3 Types of ADL Assessments Used by Caregivers

When it comes to assessing Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), healthcare professionals rely on these indispensable tools:

1. The Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living

The preferred option for long-term care patients, where disability is typically severe yet stable. This assessment assigns one point for each ADL completed independently by your loved one. The total points reflect their level of independence and the required level of care.

2. The Barthel ADL Index

This assessment is ideal for acute care settings, evaluates grooming stairs, and detects subtle health changes. Task levels are scored using a point system similar to the Katz assessment. Higher total points indicate greater independence for your loved one.

3. The Functional Independence Measure (FIM)

A comprehensive option that covers ADLs, IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living), and social domains. This assessment has 18 items divided into motor and cognitive categories. Each item is scored on a scale, with a higher score indicating greater task independence.

At Azalea Home Care, We’re The Knowledgeable Experts in ADL Care

When it comes to ADL care, there’s no room for error. Working with reliable home health care experts can make all the difference in your loved one’s life. Fortunately, at Azalea Home Care, we’re trained to handle ADLs, supporting your loved one’s independence and quality of life. For over 20 years, we’ve been offering many home healthcare services designed to support those who may struggle with their activities of daily living.

Our team is highly trained in assisting with ADLs. It is compassionate, understanding, and respectful, going above and beyond to support your loved one’s independence. So you can rely on our home health care today!


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