Pittsburgh / Allison Park Senior Care Blog

What Are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living?

By Amy Felman

Activities of daily living are crucial activities that your senior does every day, like going to the bathroom on her own and bathing and getting dressed. Instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs, are similar in that they’re necessary activities but your senior may delegate them to other people. Having trouble with either type of activity may indicate that your senior needs more help from you or from elderly care providers.

Handling her own laundry and other light housekeeping tasks, like making her bed, are a big part of living independently. Even with help, your senior would ideally have a part in these tasks. For instance, putting her dirty clothes in the hamper so they could be washed is part of dealing with dirty clothes.

Managing Finances Completely or Partially

Paying bills and managing daily purchases may be something that you help your senior with on a regular basis. But if she’s still able to handle this on some level, then she gets “credit” for this instrumental activity of daily living. This would count even if she’s in charge of a separate household account, too.

In Charge of Her Own Transportation

Does your senior still drive or does she line up transportation for herself when she has an appointment? Both would be considered a successful application of this instrumental activity of daily living. Many aging adults worry that no longer driving means that they’ve lost control of this part of their lives.

Uses the Phone

Using the phone, including both answering incoming calls and knowing who to call for specific needs, is yet another IADL. This one is an important one, too. If your elderly family member needs help, it’s good to know that she knows where to find the right phone numbers, even if she doesn’t know the number right off the top of her head.

Shops and Handles Meal Preparation

If your elderly family member is still doing her own shopping, including grocery shopping, as well as meal preparation, then she’s fulfilling this IADL. This is an important one because it means that your senior is still ensuring that she’s eating, even if her meal choices aren’t always what you would prefer she ate.

If your senior is having trouble with instrumental activities of daily living, this is an area in which elderly care providers can make a big difference. At first, they might simply assist, but later they might take over for her with these activities. Regardless, it’s important to know that somehow these are things that are handled for your senior.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elderly care in Cheswick, PA, please call the caring staff at Home Helpers. Call today (412) 364-4663.