A masked nurse and two residents at an assisted living facility.

Understanding The Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living 

0 Comment Category: Assisted Living

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADL) are the abilities and skills that are necessary to do some of the daily tasks associated with independent living. These activities may not be essential for the basic functioning of a person. However, they are contemplated as important to evaluate the self-sufficiency of a person together with their quality of life. 


An evaluation of the capability of a person to manage the instrumental activities of daily living is used as a factor to understand whether a person can safely continue to live in their house without any outside help. Typically there are eight key focus areas for IADl and includes:

  • ability to use a phone, 
  • running household tasks and shopping
  • management of finances 
  • dressing and laundry
  • housekeeping 
  • meal preparation
  • transportation
  • management of medication 


Functioning Of Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living 

There are various scales used to measure the ability of a person to do the instrumental activities of daily living. These include the Katz ADL scale, Lawton IADL scale, Older American Resources, And Services ADL/IADL scale, and the Bristol Activities of Daily Living Scale. 

Some questionnaires are used by caregivers, family members, and health care professionals to measure the competence of a person with these skills. These are oftentimes used in assessments to find out if seniors can safely live at home independently. Alternatively, these are used to find out the level of services necessary to enable a senior to continue living in their home. 

These assessments will allow for objective considerations regarding decision-making around therapies and care in senior care and assisted living facilities. The lower the score of a person, the higher will be their dependence. On the other hand, a higher score shows a greater level of independence. 

Improving The Abilities Of A Person Related To IADL 

Supporting your senior loved one to maintain the instrumental activities of daily living can let the person live independently in their house and can help improve overall wellbeing and happiness. Also, this can help cut down the eldercare costs. There are many ways in which elders can sustain or improve their abilities to do the instrumental activities of daily living. Some of them are:

Exercising Daily

Many studies and research shows that older adults can cut down the healthcare costs, reduce hospital admissions and remain active by doing daily exercise. Even taking a daily walk around the block can be very much beneficial to seniors and can help keep their mobility and ensure independence. 

Focusing On Nutrition 

A healthy diet is required to ensure the overall health of seniors. Having food items like lean meats, seafood, leafy green vegetables, and foods with healthy fats like olives and avocados are best to ensure the health of seniors and thereby increase their independence. Assisted living facilities across the country ensure proper nutrition for the residents to maintain their health and independence. 

Completing Puzzles 

Many studies have found that in seniors who complete puzzles like word searches and crosswords about four times weekly, the chances of dementia are reduced by half. This is why senior care and assisted living facilities encourage their residents to complete puzzles that can stimulate their brains. 

Accepting Help 

Accepting help can be as simple as appointing somebody to assist with meal preparation or doing chores. Some of the seniors can benefit from more comprehensive and professional services like occupational or physical therapy. These services can help older adults to improve or maintain their skills in areas like cleaning or walking. 

If you have a senior loved one in your home, it will be a good idea to monitor the ability of the person to manage instrumental activities of daily living so that you can seek out the necessary services for their help. 

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