WHAT KIND OF HOUSING?
Adults usually need a certain set of skills in order to be able function independently. The senior care professions calls them the Activities of Daily Living and use them to develop a functional assessment. A functional assessment helps identify medical issues and diagnose cognitive abilities in addition to helping evaluate a person’s ability to manage every day tasks.
You can use the ADLs informally to help narrow down the kind of housing that may be appropriate for you, a family member, or friend.
ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADLs)
Activities of daily living (ADLs) are basic self-care tasks. They are sometimes referred to as the Basic ADLs. They are the kinds of skills that people usually learn in early childhood. While you may see some variation to the list, the ADLs usually include the following:
- Selecting Proper Attire
- Bathing/Grooming/Personal Hygiene
- Walking and Transferring (moving from bed to chair)
- Maintaining Continence
WHEN IS INDEPENDENT LIVING NO LONGER AN OPTION?
When a person can perform all the ADLs and has no cognitive disability, he or she can usually live independently safely. As an individual increasingly requires help with one or more of the ADLs, alternative housing that provides supportive services should be considered. Supportive housing is known by a number of names, including the following.
- Assisted Living
- The Green Houses
- Residential Care Home
- Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
- 24/7 Skilled Nursing
- Nursing Home
Much of our elderly population lives with family. While the caregiver(s) may provide equal or better service than an official supportive housing facility, the stress for the caregiver may be intense.
You should learn the difference between the various types of supportive housing as one type may be much more suitable than another. They can vary on level of support, service, and costs.
Long-term care insurance uses the ADLs to help determine if a candidate is sufficiently in need of care. Usually the candidate must require help with at least two ADLs before coverage is approved.
INSTRUMENTAL ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (IADLs)
Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are the complex skills needed to successfully live independently. These skills are usually learned during the teenage years and are more complex mentally than the ADLs.
- Shopping–(Make appropriate purchasing decisions)
- Preparing meals: Cooking food, use kitchen safely
- Doing routine housework (dishes, laundry, cleaning)
- Basic communication such as using a telephone
- Taking proper care of pets
- Managing and taking medicines (accurate dosages, refills)
- Managing personal finances, budget, checks, bills
- Climbing stairs
- Handling transportation or driving
If an individual can perform the ADLs, yet has difficulty withe some of the IADLs, it may be possible to continue living independently with addition of In-Home Help. A few of the many In-Home Services include:
- Laundry Service
- Personal Shopper
- Pet Care
- Meals on Wheels
- Concierge Service
- Car Service
- Meal Preparation
Of course family and friends may also provide these services.
USE TECHNOLOGY TO ENHANCE FREEDOM
Additional independence may be provided with the aid of various technological devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, lifts, medication delivery devices, tracking devices, canes, reachers, and internet services such as Skype. The practical use of various simple technologies to enhance independence is just beginning. You may be surprised at how well you can live alone with the help of some of them.