Gauging a senior’s level of independence may often be subjective, especially in the aftermath of suffering a disabling condition. Unless a family member or close friend regularly spends significant amounts of time with the aging person, assessing his or her level of function may not always be precise enough to warrant change or additional help.
In response to the need for help to assess a senior’s ability to function, the Katz Index of Independence in Activities of Daily Living was developed in the 1950s. This helpful tool is utilized even today to measure how well seniors perform the activities of daily living, or ADLs.
The Katz ADL index measures a senior’s ability to perform ordinary activities that are necessary to function in a community. Each task is assessed based on how much the individual requires help, whether with assistance, with direction or without supervision.
What are the six ADLs?
Common activities that fall under the ADLs are bathing, dressing, toileting, feeding, ambulating (such as getting in and out of bed), and continence. Physicians and care practitioners give points to each activity accomplished without help. At the conclusion of the assessment, a picture of the senior’s functional level develops.
How are the ADLs scored?
Seniors who are capable of performing all six tasks without assistance are considered full functioning and rarely require assistance. A score of four out of six indicates the senior is mildly impaired and needs additional help. Elders displaying severe functional impairment manage only two out of the six ADLs and must depend on others for their daily needs.
Soon after the emergence of ADLs, the 1960s saw the rise of the IADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living. The Lawton Instrumental Activities of Daily Living is a measurement scale that identifies how well a senior performs the non-essential tasks of daily living.
What are the eight IADLs?
The IADLs are not as intrinsic to managing day-to-day life but are still required to maintain a level of high-functioning independence. The IADLs can be identified as managing finances, shopping, using the phone, laundry, housekeeping, transportation, food preparation and medications.
How are IADLs scored?
Similar to the Katz ADL Index, the Lawton IADL Scale assesses how much extra help a senior requires. Points are given in accordance with whether or not the individual has a command over each task. Once tallied, the higher the score, the higher functioning the senior is (0 is low function; 8 is high function).
Is a single assessment sufficient?
The combination of both tools (Katz ADL Index and Lawton IADL Scale) to measure an elderly individual’s capacity to function is necessary for an overall picture. Using just the ADL score fails to take into account the more complex requirements of life.
An aging person’s ability to manage household bills, for instance, is not a daily, essential task (like bathing) but is required to sustain independence and can be measured with the IADLs scale.
Are the measurements 100 percent accurate?
Keep in mind that an individual’s cognitive and physical capabilities often vary from day to day. A gradual decline in ability is also a likelihood, especially when the senior suffers from a debilitating condition, like a stroke, dementia or a broken hip.
In essence, the senior’s answers during one physician assessment may fluctuate from another given day. Plus, the aging person may intentionally or unintentionally skew the answers to influence the outcome. Forgetfulness is normal in seniors, making personal responses biased rather than fully objective.
Who should be assessed?
Seniors with dementia and dementia-related conditions, like Alzheimer’s disease, find difficulty in completing the ADLs. Since brain function is adversely affected in people with dementia, cognitive abilities steadily decline. Making judgments and sustaining attention are required to successfully complete the ADLs and IADLs.
Family members who suspect a loved one requires additional help should seek to schedule assessments of the ADLs and IADLs. These measurement tools come in the form of checklists and are ideal starting points to help determine how much the senior requires extra support.
Medicare, long-term care insurance companies and government assistance programs rely on the ADLs and IADLs assessments when evaluating a senior’s need for financial help.
A senior starts to show signs that he or she is losing a grip on independence when unexplained weight loss occurs, medications are failed to be taken on schedule, remembering appointments becomes difficult, and confusion about daily activities becomes rampant.
Additional causes for concern arise when the senior gets lost, experiences isolation, food in the fridge spoils, meals are skipped and typical routines undergo drastic changes. When warnings like these take place, scheduling an assessment of the ADLs and IADLs paves the way for a safer life for the senior.
When the results of either assessment show a need for extra care at home, turn to a reliable senior home care agency for compassionate caregiving services. Assisting Hands Home Care provides in-home care services for the elderly population. Caregivers arrive onsite to aid in numerous daily activities.
Comprehensive, non-medical services include assistance with the ADLs, like bathing, grooming, toileting and dressing. Care is ensured to provide discretion with personal aid. Help with the IADLs includes transportation, meal preparation and companionship. Additional services include Alzheimer’s care and fall prevention.
Assisting Hands Home Care is also a dedicated hospice care provider for seniors diagnosed with a terminal condition. Our hospice services are non-medical in nature and include medication reminders, one-on-one care, meal preparation and personal assistance with the ADLs.
Finding a compassionate caregiver who can be trusted to provide exceptional care to your loved one starts with a meeting with our representatives. A flexible care plan is developed upon the initial meeting. Families are kept updated on a frequent basis.
As a licensed, insured and bonded home care agency, Assisting Hands Home Care provides care recipients and families with maximum peace of mind. Assisting Hands Home Care serves the elder populations and families of Naperville, Illinois and surrounding areas.