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#7 ADL – Running Your Household

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
Cindy Davis
Written by Cindy Davis

How well do you get instrumental activities of daily living done?  Several factors may contribute to one’s ability to perform the tasks required to live independently including natural aging, acute illness, worsening chronic conditions, and recovery from hospitalization. 

An assessment of your ability to complete these tasks can assist loved ones, caregivers, and heath care providers in designing a rehabilitation program or arranging for in home services including meal preparation, nursing care, maid services, personal care, companionship, and ongoing supervision.  To learn where you may need additional support consider these six areas:

Cleaning and Maintaining Home

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Cleaning and Maintaining Your Home
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Cleaning and Maintaining Your Home

To complete household tasks alone or with occasional help, you

  • Dust, mop, and clean kitchen, bathrooms, and living areas,
  • Wash the dishes and put them in the proper place,
  • Launder, dry, iron, and fold clothing and return items to closets and drawers,
  • Change sheets and make the bed,
  • Complete low-skill home improvement projects such as changing light bulbs, replacing batteries, changing clocks to the correct time for Daylight Saving Time,
  • Mow, weed, water, and trim landscaping,
  • Dispose of trash and clutter appropriately

Planning and Preparing Meals

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Planning and Preparing Meals
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Planning and Preparing Meals

To meet your current nutritional needs, you

  • Plan daily meals that meet dietary recommendations and adequate nourishment,
  • Check supplies and draft a shopping list for ingredients,
  • Follow recipe directions for preparing and cooking food,
  • Serve meals, box up leftovers, and wash dishes, utensils, cooking equipment

Shopping and Transporting Trips

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Shopping and Transportation
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Shopping and Transportation

To leave your house and go to the store, pharmacy, medical appointments, and other locations, you

  • Drive own car or arrange for travel by friends and family, public transportation, taxi, or shared ride service,
  • Select and pay for household supplies, groceries, apparel, and other items either in-store or online,
  • Travel to designated place, park, and use elevator, escalator, or stairs to get to correct location

Managing Medications

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Managing Medications
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Managing Medications

To keep yourself healthy, you

  • Understand the purpose of taking over the counter and prescription drugs,
  • Fill and refill prescriptions to ensure everything is up to date,
  • Arrange daily medications to take correct dosage at prescribed frequency,
  • Consume or inject medicine at the correct time of day; with or without food and beverage, as directed,
  • Store and dispose of drugs that are outdated or no longer used as recommended,
  • Monitor health statistics and take appropriate measures

Handling Finances

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Handling Finances
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Handling Finances

To maintain financial security and stability, you

  • Make spending budget and balance accounts,
  • Complete large and small purchases,
  • Write checks and pay bills on time,
  • Make deposits and balance accounts,
  • Track and collect income from multiple sources,
  • Prepare or have taxes prepared and pay them

Communicating with and Entertaining Others

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living - Communicating With and Entertaining Others
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living – Communicating With and Entertaining Others

To talk with friends, family, and others, you

  • Dial traditional and/or mobile telephone; and hang up when done,
  • Call friends, family, and well-known contacts,
  • Hang up on telemarketer and other scam callers,
  • Address and send mail and/or email,
  • Plan, invite, and host visitors

About the author

Cindy Davis

Cindy Davis

Serial entrepreneur and former full-time caregiver for eight years to her father with multiple chronic conditions. A graduate of Dartmouth College with a Bachelor of Arts in Pre-Medicine and Asian Studies; and a Master of Business Administration degree recipient in marketing and finance from UCLA Anderson Graduate School of Management. Currently lives in Dallas, Texas with her teenage son and advises businesses on strategic planning, marketing, finance, and operations as owner of Next Level Consulting, Inc.

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