As Our Loved Ones Age
All things considered, aging is a natural process that affects our daily living and self-care. We recognize that with old age, many problems and disease condition set in, making it difficult for loved ones to carry out their basic activities of daily living, also referred to as ADL.
Some of ADL that become challenging with aging and illness are:
- Personal grooming
- Moving in and out of bed or chair
- Climbing stairs
- Maintaining a safe environment
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
Health experts have categorized another group called IADL—these complex activities require some expertise and decision-making skills:
- Using public transportation
- Handling medical emergencies
- Taking and preparing medications
- Finance management
- Social activities
Knowing When We Need Help
Regrettably, as our loved ones are affected by various illnesses, they often find it difficult to carry out their daily routine tasks.
Seeking some form of help from family caregivers or a professional in-home service, can provide much needed relief and support. Let your loved ones manage their lives as long as they can.
The idea is for your loved one to live an active, productive, healthy lifestyle as long as possible. There are tools and exercises to maintain and increase their independence and support both ADL and IADL:
- Occupational therapy
- Strength training
- Balance exercises
- Brain games
- Ergonomic equipment and devices
In occupational therapy, our loved ones learn to exercise on a regular basis in order to maintain their functional independence. This refers to one’s capacity and capability to carry out their daily activities with minimum help from caregivers.
Furthermore, the lifelong benefits of exercise, strength training and balance exercises on a regular basis can ensure our loved ones enjoy lifelong benefits, and continue to independently handle their daily activities with ease.
4 Basic Necessities
Our loved ones should develop the habit of exercising regularly and continue with the practice. As well as helping them carry out their ADL, it will enable them to stay active. Exercise and occupational therapy are more of a necessity if our loved ones are frail. OT can significantly reduce their dependence on help from others.
Prospective memory is a form of memory that involved remembering to perform a planned action or recall a planned intention at a future point in time and successfully carry our these instrumental activities. I’ve found, in my practice, that brain games significantly improve prospective memory and IADL.
Some Brain Games to Try
- Memory Card Games
- Computer Applications
- Board Games
In general, the more enjoyable the activity, the easier it will be to get your loved one to try it. Sensorial stimulation can increase their ability to remain mentally independent. Each activity should be tailored to their abilities and interests. Keep their hands exercised, strong and limber. It will make it easier for them to do so many of the activities listed above.
Equipment and Devices
- Canes and Walkers
- Grab Bars
- Raised Toilet Seats
- Special Eating Utensils
- Ergonomic Writing Pens
- Magnifying Glass
- Hearing Aids
In conclusion, figuring out your loved ones difficulties before there is a problem can make independence a lot easier for them and for their loved ones.
- Practice ambulation. Use a cane of walker to maintain their balance when needed.
- Install grab bars throughout the house—in hallways, the kitchen and bath for stability.
- Purchase special eating utensils for proper control
- For loved ones with arthritis, there’s a special pen that will ease difficulty writing.
- Purchase a magnifying glass to help them see more clearly.
- See a doctor to be fitted for a hearing aid.