Understanding The IADL

Last week we spoke about the basic Activities of Daily Living (ADL).  This week, we are going to go a bit more in depth and talk about the Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL).   The IADL are benchmarks that go beyond fundamental care for one’s self and address the ability for one to live by themselves.

When an occupational therapist evaluates someone for IADLs they look at certain functions. These points can determine if your loved one is in need of a home health care professional or further assistance.  These can include the following eleven criteria:

Housework: Can the patient do simple housework chores such as washing clothes, running a vacuum, or dusting?

Taking prescriptions on a schedule: Is the person aware of when they need to take their medications? Do they know the amount of medication they need to take?

Managing your finances: Paying bills and managing a checkbook.

Going to the store: Is there a problem grocery or clothes shopping?

Answering the phone: Can your loved one get to the phone to answer it? Are they coherent and aware of what they are saying on the phone?

Using a computer: While this is not as important as the others on this list, you should look for a loss of ability to use the computer if they originally were capable.

Getting out and about: Is your loved one able to go out to drive alone?  Do they go out to dinner or meet with friends?

Choosing a caregiver: Are they able to make a doctor’s appointment and keep it? Can they call out to a professional for assistance?

Taking care of pets or children: Can they walk the dog, clean a litter box, feed the animals or watch children?

Preparing food for meals: Can your loved ones cook dinner and clean up after themselves when the meal is done? Can they fill the dishwasher and turn it on?

Ability to respond to an emergency: Being able to call 9-1-1 or report a fire or criminal activity can be very important to living a safe and meaningful life.

By taking a look at these benchmarks, a caregiver can evaluate how functional your loved one is and suggest any assistance should they need it.  If you feel that there is a concern, please contact our professionals to find out your options.