Activities of daily living are the types of activities that your loved one takes care of every day in order to keep herself healthy. These are activities such as feeding herself, bathing, grooming, and toileting. Knowing which of these activities are becoming most difficult first can help you to get the help for your loved one that she truly needs most.
It Can Vary for Your Loved One
Your elderly loved one’s overall health and her specific health conditions can help to determine which activities of daily living will give her the most trouble first. Many elderly loved ones have issues with bathing first, simply because it can be a difficult activity to maintain alone. Your loved one might be afraid to be in the tub or shower, making bathing something that she avoids. Other loved ones might have issues with toileting and incontinence that make that the primary issue.
Changes Can Be Gradual
Another problem that contributes to difficulty determining whether activities of daily living are an issue is that the changes to your loved one’s habits can be extremely gradual. Your loved one might go from showering every day to showering every other day, for example, and then switch to taking a bath every few days. That can then stretch into longer periods of time, sometimes without your notice.
Your Loved One Might Hide the Changes
A bigger issue is that your elderly loved one can hide some of these changes from your notice. She may realize that her health is deteriorating or that she’s losing some of her independence. One way to fight to maintain that independence is to keep changes in her habits and behaviors more to herself. If you don’t live with your elderly loved one, these changes can be very difficult for you to see readily.
Get an Assessment from a Specialist to Be Sure
One way to get a definitive answer on this issue is to ask a specialist to perform an assessment on your loved one’s activities of daily living. There are senior agencies that offer this service or you can talk to your loved one’s doctor. The assessment may find that your loved one does need extra help and you might receive recommendations such as hiring senior care providers for her.
Paying attention to your loved one’s habits and her daily condition can help you to spot changes that you might have previously overlooked.