7 Fundamental Activities of Daily Living for Aging Adults

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Most Essential Activities of Daily Living for Elderly People in Rhode Island

If you’re caring for an older loved one, there are certain activities that will likely be on your to-do list every day. These are collectively referred to as activities of daily living (ADLs), which refers to commonly performed tasks involving older adults needing some level of care. Today, we’re going to discuss some of the most important ADLs and how you can help your loved one with them.

1. Bathing & Grooming

It’s important to encourage your loved one to remain as independent as possible, which means only offering assistance when it’s asked for or clearly needed. You may be able to achieve this type of balance with bathing and grooming tasks by:

• Installing a walk-in tub or grab bars
• Placing regularly used grooming products within easy reach
• Switching to more convenient grooming products (e.g., an easy-grip or long-handled hairbrush)

If your loved one needs help with bathing and grooming, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful addition to your caregiving team. When considering homecare services, 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.

2. Dressing & Undressing

When it comes to dressing and undressing, encourage your loved one to do as much as possible independently. You might do this by using a partition so your loved one can have privacy but still be able to ask for assistance if it’s needed. Also, give your parent plenty of time to dress and undress at a comfortable pace. Some seniors feel less anxious if you have a normal conversation with them as they dress or undress, while others prefer silence. Ask your loved one which option he or she prefers.

3. Preparing & Eating Meals

This has the potential to be one of the more enjoyable ADLs. For instance, meal prep gives you the opportunity to bond with your loved one as you help him or her prepare healthy, delicious meals. The extent to which you’ll need to help with feeding will depend on your loved one’s limitations. Some ways you may be able to make meal prep and feeding easier for both you and your loved one include:

• Putting frequently used utensils and ingredients within easy reach
• Using appropriate feeding and eating aids, such as scoop plates, adult bibs, and adapted silverware
• Working together on meal planning to minimize issues if your loved one is a picky eater

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. Rhode Island 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 serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.

4. Making Transfers

Transfers tend to be more demanding in terms of the physical effort involved. There are many types of transfer-related activities of daily living you may need to help your loved one with, some of which could involve:

• Getting in and out of a wheelchair
• Going from a bed to a nearby chair
• Getting in and out of a vehicle

With any type of transfer, you’ll want to take steps to avoid injuring yourself or your loved one. First of all, ask your loved one to help as much as possible. Also, keep your feet firmly on the ground and hip width apart so you’re well balanced. Lastly, ask for help from another family member or friend for more physically demanding transfers.

5. Using the Restroom & Incontinence Care

It’s important to find the right balance with daily living activities of this nature. For instance, you may be able to help your loved one maintain some independence when using the restroom by installing heavy-duty grab bars by the toilet. Using a toilet seat riser may be helpful as well. Incontinence care may involve the use of adult pads, monitoring your loved one’s intake of liquids throughout the day, and talking to your loved one’s doctor about medication.

6. Ambulating

Ambulation refers to walking, whether your loved one does it independently or with appropriate assistance. When your loved one remains as mobile as possible, he or she has the potential to:

• Strengthen coordination and balance
• Enhance posture
• Maintain joint flexibility
• Prevent muscles from becoming weak

Ambulation can also increase your loved one’s feelings of independence and give his or her self-esteem a boost. Such efforts may involve walkers, wheelchairs, canes, and gait-training aids.

7. Stimulating the Memory

Even if your loved one isn’t experiencing serious cognitive impairment, it’s still important to keep his or her mind sufficiently stimulated. Doing so can reduce issues with depression while also helping your loved one remain mentally focused and alert. Activities of daily living of this nature could include:

• Word games, puzzles, and memory-related board games
• Brain-stimulating apps such as Lumosity and Fit Brains Trainer
• Perception, memory, and reasoning exercises
• Storytelling or memory-based activities such as making family photo albums or scrapbooks 

If you’re the primary family caregiver for a senior loved one living in Rhode Island, live-in care is available if your loved one’s health has become too difficult to handle 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. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979 to learn more about our high-quality home care services.


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