Aging comes with a lot of changes to our physical, mental, and emotional needs. People who grow old and reach the age of '60s are not as equipped to do things the way they used to. Bodies become naturally weaker and cognitive abilities aren't as sharp as before.
However, this article isn't to point out the negative things about aging. Yes, getting old has its complications but there are also plenty of ways we could do to deal with it. There are measures made available to manage and resolve the repercussions brought by it.
Whether they like it or not, seniors need all the care and assistance to survive. Some of them have illnesses or health issues that could not be dealt with by themselves alone. They need the help of others to do their everyday routines, particularly the activities of daily living.
Activities of daily living or ADL are defined as basic self-care tasks or routine activities that people have learned to do from a young age. This refers to things such as eating, bathing, dressing, amongst others. They may seem like simple tasks but when aging takes place, they happen to be a little bit of a challenge. So much so that some elders require the assistance of others to help them get through with it.
ADL is a term commonly used by professionals who are working in elderly care or senior care homes.
Not all seniors are incapable of looking after themselves. Some of them just need a little help when it comes to external or more complicated activities. This is where instrumental activities of daily living or IADL come in. Here, the elderly can accomplish the most basic tasks such as self-care but need assistance when it comes to things like housekeeping, managing finances, managing medications, and many more.
Getting old is a challenging process that's not easy to face alone. The elderly need to get all the care, support, and assistance that they could get. This is an even bigger deal for seniors who have health issues or a disability. Having diseases, pain, and bodily discomforts is already difficult as it is—just imagine not having the ability to feed, the ability to wash, or even the ability to move. They can experience a better quality of life if they receive help when it comes to their daily routines.
There are six basic activities of daily living such as feeding, washing, dressing, toileting, transferring, and mobility.
Feeding is being able to feed oneself or to consume the food that has been prepared. Some seniors have lost the ability to feed themselves because of cognitive impairment, dementia, or physical deterioration. Some also lose their appetite or simply forget to eat their meals which can cause malnourishment or unhealthy weight loss. It's important to help the elderly do this task by feeding them so they can get the nutrients they need.
Washing points to the ability to wash the face and body in the bath or shower. Hygiene is an important part of our everyday life. However, going into showers might also be dangerous for the elderly especially if they have poor balance. This is why it's important to assist them in their washing activities to minor or severe injuries.
Getting dressed requires both our mental and physical abilities. It starts from the ability to choose what to wear up to putting them on and managing one's appearance. Seniors require help in this activity especially if they have memory problems (some wear their clothes inside-out) or are wearing artificial limbs, legs, or any other medical or surgical appliances on their body.
Toileting is about the ability to go to and from the toilet and knowing how to clean after yourself. This also includes the usage of diapers or other forms of protective undergarments since a lot of elderly people have difficulties in managing bladder control. Toileting activities also require assistance in terms of going to the toilet room to avoid falling out of balance.
Transferring is a specific activity wherein the elderly patient has to move from a bed to an upright chair, or wheelchair, and vice versa. This requires proper strength, balance, and gentleness from the side of the caregiver as they assist the patient.
The thing about mobility is that it's an ability required for all six activities of daily living. Functional mobility affects how we stand, walk, and our ability to move from one spot to another. Sometimes, the elderly need help with moving around especially if they experience physical pain and impairments.
The elderly can also rely on the use of equipment when it comes to activities of daily living (ADL). Technology and equipment serve as their tools of support in accomplishing certain tasks. This makes the process easier for them and also saves them a lot of time to do them.
Here are some of the common equipment used in ADL:
IADLs are more complicated than basic self-care activities. To perform these tasks, they require thinking and organizational skills which not all members of the elderly can do. While they can live independently and look after themselves, they can rely on the service of others to tend to these activities on their behalf:
There are various institutions and facilities in Singapore providing care services that include ADL assistance for seniors. It depends on the patient's condition and circumstance to determine what type of care and support that they need. An assessment will be first done on the elderly patient to carefully evaluate his or her needs and then you can select from below which type of care services are the best fit for them: