Untangling Alzheimer’s by Tam Cummings

This video is 1:47 minutes, but it is well worth watching. I wish I had seen the video 15 years ago. It’s important. I would suggest watching it all the way through, because it has some vital information at the end regarding dealing with loved ones. If you’re a caregiver, know a caregiver, or know someone with any form of dementia (and 1 in 3 seniors will develop dementia), then you need to watch this video!

Reference Material

Activities of Daily Living and Instruments of Activities of Daily Living

One of the ways in which we can determine how well a loved one is doing and one of the ways to communicate with a doctor is using an Activities of Daily Living scale and an Instruments of Daily Living scale. In addition, many agencies use not being able to perform 2-3 ADLs as a prerequisite to receiving assistance. It’s also a good gauge of where your loved one is. I pulled this information from https://www.payingforseniorcare.com/longtermcare/activities-of-daily-living.html. This website also has links for potential finding assistance programs to help with eldercare. I have not used it so I can’t guarantee the outcome, but it’s a place to start in your research.

Here’s some general information and a basic scale developed by the AARP and PBS.org. Please note that there are other scales as well that might be helpful, which I have links to below. 

What are the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)?

The Activities of Daily Living are a series of basic activities performed by individuals on a daily basis necessary for independent living at home or in the community. There are many variations on the definition of the activities of daily living, but most organizations agree there are 5 basic categories.

1. Personal hygiene – bathing/showering, grooming, nail care, and oral care
2. Dressing – the ability to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress/undress oneself
3. Eating – the ability to feed oneself, though not necessarily the capability to prepare food
4. Maintaining continence – both the mental and physical capacity to use a restroom, including the ability to get on and off the toilet and cleaning oneself
5. Transferring/Mobility- moving oneself from seated to standing, getting in and out of bed, and the ability to walk independently from one location to another

Whether or not an individual is capable of performing these activities on their own or if they rely on a family caregiver for assistance to perform them serves a comparative measure of their independence.

What are the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are actions that are important to being able to live independently, but are not necessarily required activities on a daily basis. The instrumental activities are not as noticeable as the Activities of Daily Living when it comes to loss of functioning, but functional ability for IADLs is generally lost prior to ADLs. IADLs can help determine with greater detail the level of assistance required by an elderly or disabled person. The IADLs include:

1. Basic communication skills – such as using a regular phone, mobile phone, email, or the Internet
2. Transportation – either by driving oneself, arranging rides, or the ability to use public transportation
3. Meal preparation – meal planning, cooking, clean up, storage, and the ability to safely use kitchen equipment and utensils
4. Shopping – the ability to make appropriate food and clothing purchase decisions
5. Housework – doing laundry, washing dishes, dusting, vacuuming, and maintaining a hygienic place of residence
6. Managing medications – taking accurate dosages at the appropriate times, managing re-fills, and avoiding conflicts
7. Managing personal finances – operating within a budget, writing checks, paying bills, and avoiding scams

ADL/IADL Checklist

ADLs / IADLs Requires No
Oral Care        
Climbing Stairs        
Managing Medications        
Uses the Phone        
Managing Finances        
















ADL/IADL Checklists/Tests with Point Systems

Katz ADL_LawtonIADL – measures on a scale of low functioning to high functioning

The Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living IADL Scale – measures of a scale of dependency to independency

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