If a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, you may have heard doctors and dementia care specialists talk about Activities of Daily Living.
Shortened to ADLs by most health care professionals, Activities of Daily Living represent a list of essential, everyday self-care tasks that everyone performs, including you.
Your loved one’s care team will have mentioned ADLs directly because there may come a time when they need help performing these tasks.
Many people living with dementia face challenges with ADLs once they reach the later stages of the disease, as they may lack the cognitive or motor skills to complete these chores on their own.
Difficulty with ADLs interferes with their ability to live independently, but it does not signal the need to send your loved one to a nursing facility.
If you need help caring for your loved one, you can find dementia care services that come to you. These services help with ADLs in the comfort of your loved one’s home, so they can live with dignity in a familiar place.
Activities of Daily Living: What Are They?
Activities of Daily Living are basic self-care chores that non-disabled people can take of on their own. For those with late-stage dementia, ADLs include small tasks that prove to be awkward, hard, or even impossible to do independently.
Having a shower to start the day or a soak in the bath at night are things you might take for granted. But for those living with dementia, they may not have the mobility or cognition to bathe themselves properly. Your loved one might even forget they have to take care of these things.
Proper nutrition is an essential building block of your loved one’s health. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to achieve as the disease progresses. Brain degeneration may interfere with their ability to interpret hunger, while memory issues can confuse them about mealtimes. Changes in the brain can also affect their coordination, making it hard to handle utensils, cook food, or feed themselves.
Getting dressed in comfortable and weather-appropriate clothing isn’t easy when dementia affects a person’s cognition and coordination. They may struggle to manipulate their limbs through clothing or handle zippers and buttons on their own. They may also fail to understand how these fasteners work, what order clothes go on, or even why they need to get dressed in the first place.
The physical and cognitive ability to use the bathroom is another ADL that becomes harder with dementia. Someone living with the disease may lose the ability to understand their body’s signals, or they may not have the mobility or coordination to reach the bathroom in time.
Transferring and Mobility
Last but not least, transferring and mobility refers to a person’s ability to get up when they need to move. While this may overlap with continence, it refers to a broader range of movements, including standing up from chairs or walking from one room to another.
Home Health Care Agencies Can Help with ADLs
It can be challenging when a loved one relies on you entirely for their Activities of Daily Life. If you’re finding it too hard to meet their needs on your own, at home health care services can help. At home health care agencies preserve the health, comfort, and dignity of those under their care by helping your loved one through each of these ADLs.