What is ADL?

Elderly couple holding hands in the jungle

ADL, also known as activities of daily living, consists of basic self-care activities, including personal hygiene, ability to properly use the toilet, getting dressed, feeding and walking without assistance. People tend to lose the ability to perform these basic activities as they age or recover from surgery, therefore, requiring external assistance. ADLs are extremely important for an individual’s safety, for example, the inability to walk properly can risk the individual to fall and injure themselves. When they require assistance for two or more basic ADLs, their family would engage either for a nurse or caregiver to help their loved ones handle these activities. 

What are the common ADLs one should pay attention to?

  • Personal Hygiene

It is challenging for the elderly who suffer from depression, dementia and drowsiness, as well as patients with physical impairments or bed bound to maintain good personal hygiene. This can result in body odour, dental diseases, urinary tract infection (UTI) and many more. Care providers are able to assist the person by giving bed baths or brush their teeth, in order to help the patient in maintaining personal hygiene. Good personal hygiene is important in the prevention of illnesses, as patients recovering from surgery and elderly have weaker immune systems and are prone to infections.

  • Continence Management (Toileting)
Incontinence refers to the involuntary release of urine or faeces. It can occur due to several reasons, one being ageing, which makes the pelvic floor muscle loosen and the patient loses the ability to voluntarily control the release of waste. Patients struggle with continence management could receive assistance and advice from in-home care providers for ways and routines to manage it.
  • Dressing

Patients with mobility issues would struggle with dressing themselves, such as post-surgery or elderly impaired from age-related illnesses. Care providers are often needed in these cases to assist patients in picking and getting into the clothes. The patient should be dressed in comfortable and safe clothing; the clothing should be the right size, as there might be a fall risk if it is oversized. A regular change of undergarments is also important, since it may lead to poor hygiene and infections.

  • Feeding

Patients with mobility issues or chronic illnesses are vulnerable to feeding problems, such as having no teeth, not being able to swallow or hold a utensil. This may require the patient to use a feeding tube or someone to spoon-feed them. A balanced diet is important during recovery and ageing; therefore, it must be prepared with the right nutrients. Assistance from care providers may be needed for the preparation of food or looking out for warning signs of choking.

  • Ambulation
Immobility could be a result of impairment in balance or strength, physical injuries and immobilising conditions that are common in old age, such as Parkinson’s, dementia, arthritis or osteoporosis. Patients who suffer from these tend to be less active, as it becomes uncomfortable or painful to move around. Inactive muscles can cause deterioration and lead to musculoskeletal (bones and muscles), gastrointestinal (digestive system) and respiratory (heart and lungs) complications. To prevent this, care providers often play the role of assisting and encouraging the patient to participate in light exercises, in order to prevent further health complications and slow down the deterioration process.
It is crucial for patients to be able to perform self-care ADLs to live independently and healthily. In the event the patient needs assistance with ADLs, in-home nursing for will permit patients to comfortably perform ADLs in a familiar environment as well as allowing them to be themselves and recover more effectively. 

SeeQ 4 Care connects our team of nurses and caregivers, who specialise in providing high-quality care, to your loved ones requiring assistance with ADLs. We dedicate time to train them in assisting elderly and patients recovering from post-surgery in performing these ADLs in the comforts of their own home.