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The importance of activities of daily living of seniors

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) refer to the basic self-care tasks that individuals perform daily to take care of themselves and maintain their well-being.

The six primary ADLs are:

  1. Personal hygiene: This includes activities such as bathing, grooming, and oral care.

  2. Dressing: This includes selecting and putting on appropriate clothing, fastening buttons, and tying shoelaces.

  3. Eating and drinking: This includes the ability to prepare and consume food and drink, use utensils, and manage feeding tubes.

  4. Continence management: This includes the ability to control bladder and bowel function.

  5. Mobility: This includes the ability to move around independently, such as getting in and out of bed, walking, and using a wheelchair or other mobility aids.

  6. Toileting: This includes the ability to use the toilet or manage incontinence.

These tasks are essential for maintaining an individual's health, safety, and independence, and difficulty performing any tasks may indicate a need for assistance or medical attention.

If an elderly person is giving up on activities of daily living, it may be a sign of physical or cognitive decline, depression, or other health issues. It's important to investigate the reasons behind this behavior and address any underlying issues.

What are the reasons behind activity changes?

There can be many reasons for changing the level of activities of daily living (ADLs) for an individual. Some of the most common reasons include the following:

  1. Changes in physical health: As an individual's physical health declines due to illness, injury, or aging, they may find it more challenging to perform certain ADLs. In such cases, environmental modifications or assistance with daily tasks may be necessary.

  2. Changes in cognitive function: Dementia, Alzheimer's disease, and other cognitive impairments can make it difficult for individuals to remember how to perform specific ADLs. In some cases, assistance or memory aids may be necessary to help them maintain their independence.

  3. Psychological or emotional factors: Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can affect an individual's motivation and ability to perform ADLs. Treatment for these conditions may be necessary to help the person regain their motivation and ability to perform daily tasks.

  4. Environmental factors: Changes in the living environment, such as moving to a new home or living with a different caregiver, can affect an individual's ability to perform ADLs. Modifications to the environment or assistance with tasks may be necessary to help the person adjust.

  5. Personal preferences: As individuals age, their preferences for how they want to perform daily tasks may change. For example, they may prefer to have more assistance with specific tasks or may want to perform tasks in a different order or at a different time of day.

But are the elderly aware of the changes in their activity at all?

The level of awareness of elderly individuals regarding their daily behavior changes can vary depending on the individual and the nature of the changes. In some cases, elderly individuals may be acutely aware of changes in their ability to perform daily activities due to physical or cognitive decline. In contrast, in other cases, they may be less aware of or deny any changes have occurred.

Some elderly individuals may also have limited awareness of the impact of certain behaviors, such as a lack of physical activity or poor nutrition, on their health and well-being. In these cases, education and support from healthcare professionals, family members, or caregivers may be necessary to help the individual understand the importance of changing their daily behavior.

It's important to approach the situation with empathy and understanding and work with the individual to identify any concerns or changes in behavior they have noticed and any challenges they may face in maintaining their independence and performing daily tasks. This can help to identify areas where support or intervention may be needed and help to develop a plan that meets the individual's needs and preferences.

What to do in case activity changes are detected?

It's important to assess the reasons behind ADL changes and work with the individual to develop a plan that meets their needs and preferences while maintaining their safety and well-being.

Some strategies to address this issue may include:

  1. Consult a healthcare professional: A healthcare professional can assess the person's physical and cognitive functioning, identify any medical or mental health issues, and recommend appropriate interventions.

  2. Modify the environment: Modifying the home environment can make it easier for the person to perform daily activities. For example, installing grab bars in the bathroom or using a shower chair can make bathing safer and easier.

  3. Provide assistance: Assisting with ADLs can help the person maintain independence and improve their quality of life. Family members, friends, or professional caregivers can assist with dressing, eating, and mobility tasks.

  4. Encourage social engagement: Social isolation and loneliness can contribute to depression and ADL decline. Encouraging social engagement through activities such as joining a club, volunteering, or spending time with family and friends can help improve the person's well-being.

  5. Consider assistive devices: Assistive devices such as walking aids, hearing aids, and magnifiers can help the person perform daily tasks more easily and maintain independence.

It's essential to approach the situation with empathy and understanding and work with the person to find solutions that meet their needs and preferences.


CleverGuard brings insights into seniors’ habit changes in a non-intrusive way, supporting them to stay longer at home independently and fostering meaningful discussions between seniors and their carers.

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