What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living (ADLs) refer to daily, basic self-care activities that are required to live. ADLs are learned during adolescence and are typically refined and shaped throughout adulthood to match our lifestyles and preferences.

Activities of daily living include:

  • Being mobile or able to freely move around your environment
  • Maintaining continence
  • Using the bathroom
  • Getting dressed
  • Managing grooming and personal hygiene tasks
  • Maintaining adequate nutrition and the ability to feed yourself

As you age, some ADLs may become more difficult to perform. In fact, those 65 and older have nearly a 70% chance of needing assisted living services to support them as they grow older. Senior living communities, like Santa Marta, are the best way to get personalized support for each activity of daily living.

Learn the details of each activity of daily living and see how assisted living at Santa Marta can help you or a loved one regain a more independent lifestyle.

Maintaining Mobility

The ability to freely and safely move around your home is essential for a high-quality life and comfortable environment. Narrow doorways and hallways that can’t fit walkers or wheelchairs, bathrooms with high tub walls and slippery tile floors, and tall staircases leading to the master bedroom can make parts of a home inaccessible or difficult to navigate for older adults with mobility limitations.

Assisted living neighborhoods have accommodating floor plans and community spaces that feel just like home. At Santa Marta, we offer several assisted living floor plans to match any lifestyle. Each residence is beautifully appointed and features bathrooms, hallways, and kitchens modified with safety features you rarely find in a residential home.

You or your loved one will always be able to confidently move around the home and community, and even attend social events and activities that improve balance, increase strength and help maintain an independent lifestyle for longer. A study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found removing environmental barriers for seniors with mobility limitations can increase physical activity and improve their overall quality of life.

Continence and Using the Bathroom

While controlling bowel and bladder movements is an essential part of mastering these two ADLs, the ability to successfully use the bathroom also relies on sitting down and rising from the toilet and completely cleaning oneself.

Sometimes, an older adult simply needs a bathroom with features that meet their needs to regain some independence. Grab bars next to the toilet, increased lighting, nonslip floors, and extra space make it easier to sit down and rise from the toilet without fear of falling.

For those who need more support, the trustworthy and respectful caregivers at Santa Marta are ready to help. Together, we’ll identify whatever is impeding your or your loved one’s routine. You and your family can always count on our team to provide individualized, compassionate support at all times.

Getting Dressed

To meet the standard for getting dressed, a person must be able to retrieve clean, appropriate clothing for the weather or occasion, and put the clothing on and take the clothing off themselves. While many seniors can easily change their routine by wearing items like slide-on shoes or avoiding shirts and pants without buttons, they still may need help with other articles of clothing.

At Santa Marta, we provide 24/7 personal support for each Resident in assisted living. Whether they need help with their coat on a winter outing or assistance changing into their swim gear for fun in the pool, no task is too big or small for our caregivers.

As Johnson County’s premier Life Care Community, Santa Marta offers a full continuum of care that includes short- and long- term rehabilitation services like occupational and physical therapy. Our skilled therapists can teach you or your family members how to use adaptive devices to get dressed, and provide techniques to aid with other ADLs, improve strength, and increase mobility.

If your loved one is struggling with getting dressed because of advancing symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, Santa Marta will provide them with a smooth transition to our memory care neighborhood. There, Residents receive specialized care led by a nurturing staff who promote confidence and comfort, while using the latest techniques in dementia care to stimulate cognitive abilities.

Grooming and Personal Hygiene

Grooming and personal hygiene refer to daily activities like bathing, brushing teeth, combing hair and nail care. An older adult may struggle with this activity of daily living for multiple reasons, such as:

  • Physical pain or discomfort
  • Limited mobility
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Fear of slipping and falling in the shower or bathtub

Depression and loneliness can also lead to practicing less self-care. Many older adults may be reluctant to bathe, shower, or dress because they feel frustrated by a decrease in their independence and lack of social engagement.

Along with providing personalized support, customizing a schedule according to personal needs and preferences, and offering occupational therapy services to help perform grooming activities, senior living communities are excellent at inspiring Residents to practice self-care.

At Santa Marta, we encourage Residents to visit the on-campus beauty salon and barbershop, gather with their friends and neighbors at one of our many social events, take advantage of a calendar of activities with an emphasis on wellness, and put on their Sunday best seven days a week with daily Mass and interfaith services.

Eating and Maintaining Nutrition

When it comes to activities of daily living, eating successfully means independently feeding yourself, while also maintaining adequate nutrition for a healthy body. There are many reasons an older adult might have difficulty eating:

  • Severe arthritis makes it hard to hold and balance utensils.
  • Injuries to both hands have made it difficult to grasp.
  • Limited mobility makes it impossible to lift food from the plate to their mouth.
  • Dental issues have led to difficulty chewing or swallowing.
  • Cognitive changes make it harder to remember mealtimes.
  • Medications or digestive issues have caused a loss of appetite.

Many seniors feel especially lonely when they eat meals alone. This can lead to poor food choices or simply skipping meal times altogether. Those who enjoy their meals with others are more likely to take longer to eat, make healthier choices and experience an improved mood.

Santa Marta provides assistance with eating in engaging restaurant-style dining venues that serve nutritious and delicious meal options. There’s always something appetizing on the menu and someone friendly to dine with at our senior living community.

Is Meal Preparation an ADL?

While tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning up afterward are important for a high-quality life, they aren’t considered ADLs.

Instead, they’re part of the instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which are required for an independent lifestyle, but not for daily functioning.

Other IADLs include:

  • Managing a budget
  • Remembering to take medications
  • Driving or using public transportation
  • Being able to do housework
  • Being able to maintain social life
  • Keeping up with a hobby

Santa Marta provides more than just personal care with ADLs, we provide an exceptional lifestyle. With medication management, weekly housekeeping and flat linen service, scheduled transportation, and access to amenities like our fitness center, library, pool, and therapy spa, residents have the comforts, conveniences, and care they need and want … all right here in our community.

Explore the Possibilities and Thrive at Santa Marta

At Santa Marta, personal service translates to personal freedom, creating a culture filled with purpose and satisfaction. To learn how living at Santa Marta is the value of a lifetime and how you can benefit from assisted living at our retirement community in Olathe, KS, contact our senior living counselors online to schedule an in-person tour.