Activities of Daily Living Assessments

cookingPart of getting older is not being able to do all the things that we used to be able to do. Approximately 75% of people over the age of 75 have functional impairments that prevent them from performing some activities. Sadly, some of the activities we lose are important to healthy, independent living.

Some families are lucky enough that they are able to care for their aging loved ones themselves. But that doesn’t work for everyone. And at a certain point in the aging process it’s sometimes necessary to ask for help. That’s what we’re here for.

Healthcare professionals use two assessments to evaluate the independence of the elderly. These assessments make it possible to spot deficiencies, notice skills that may be declining, and helps to prevent or remedy many potential hazards.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL) are the skills necessary to live a day-to-day life. They are skills we’re often taught as children like getting dressed, bathing, brushing teeth, and getting around safely.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL) are the more complicated skills that allow independent living. These are skills we often learn in college (though would be better taught in high school) such as personal finance, prescription management, driving, and preparing food.

One of the most common IADL assessments is the Lawton IADL Scale. This scale evaluates the following criteria:

  • Handle doctor prescribed medications responsibly.
  • Manage personal finances.
  • Access regular transportation.
  • Handle laundry self-sufficiency.
  • Safely prepare food.
  • Perform basic housekeeping chores.
  • Accomplish necessary shopping.
  • The capacity to use telephones.

Sometimes these skills can be hard to assess, especially if you don’t live with your loved one. But you can ask questions. Sometimes just the way that they respond is your answer. Some questions you can ask are:

  • Can your aging loved one prepare their own meals on their own?
    • Do they need any help obtaining ingredients, maintaining a healthy diet, or cooking?
  • Is your loved one able to take care of daily household chores?
    • Do they need assistance vacuuming, washing the dishes, or laundering their clothes?
  • Are the personal finances of your loved one stable?
    • Do they need help writing checks, monitoring cash flow, getting to the bank, or handling money?
  • Can your senior get around independently?
    • Do they need help with public transportation, driving, or finding locations?
  • Is your loved one able to communicate easily?
    • Do they need help operating a phone, can they remember necessary numbers, are they able to recognize when a call for help is necessary?


If you need some help determining if it’s time for your elderly loved one to have some assistance in their everyday living, we offer a free assessment. Our goal is to keep your loved on in an environment that’s comfortable and familiar to them for as long as possible. We want you to be able to enjoy your time with your family, and not have to stress about all of the caregiving issues. We are always here to help you.


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