Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is a term that health professionals use to describe an individual’s daily self-care activities. They use it as a measure of your functional status to assess how fit you are to stay in your home. There are six ADLs including bathing or showering, dressing, self-feeding, personal hygiene and grooming, toileting, and mobility (the ability to move yourself from one place to another).
One of the more important ADL is transferring and mobilizing. Without functional mobility, you will not be able to go to the dining room to eat or get out of bed to get to the bathroom or dress yourself. More importantly, all the other ADLs are dependent on your strength and mobility – specifically what we call “functional strength.”
Stay in the home you love longer
The biggest advantage of being a functionally fit person is that you get to stay in your own home as long as possible. Why is this? When a group at a local independent living residence involved in a care discussion were asked about staying home, they unanimously agreed it was their top priority. They wanted to sleep in their own bed, eat their own meals, be free to make choices and remain independent. One resident responded that she liked her home because “I’m familiar with my surroundings.” Her neighbor agreed. He said, “I can do what I want to do when I want to do it.”
As we grow older, remaining independent really comes down to one’s functional fitness. You need to stay strong. The good news is, with a little commitment and help, you can maintain, even regain your functional strength. “Whatever activity you do, there is an exercise that will target the muscles and joints required to do the activity and enable you to do them longer,” says Medical Exercise Specialist, Emma.
One of the things that happens when your balance deteriorates is a tendency to shuffle in order to try and keep your feet close to the ground. Medical Exercise Specialists will work with you to build a strong gait pattern and encourage proper posture. Every time you strike your heel on the floor, it impacts the bones and builds density. Shuffling does nothing for the bone.
The exercises are repetitive in nature to encourage those with Parkinson’s Disease or Dementia to gain a regular gait pattern through neuro muscular facilitation – the messaging which takes place between the muscles to the brain and the brain giving feedback to the muscles.
Picking Yourself Up
Falling is dangerous however getting stranded on the floor after a fall can be deadly. While we certainly don’t recommend any exercises from the floor, we do show you how to get up off the floor, because many people who fall don’t have any way to get up off the ground. We teach a couple of very simple ways to get up again, and there are some fine exercises which target the upper body and legs to assist with the push up off the floor.
In Home Chair Exercises
Even if you have difficulty standing, you can do many of these exercises from the comfort of your own chair and reap the benefits of increased strength.
Recover from surgery and hospital visits more quickly
If you undergo hip or knee replacement surgery, the exercise program you should do post-surgery is very comprehensive. These post-surgery exercises are extremely important. If you don’t do them, the muscles targeted in the surgery will atrophy.
When you leave the hospital, the outpatient program that sets you up with exercises sincerely hopes you will continue to follow-up in the community where you have the support of qualified personnel to assist you.
Seniors are into fitness for a completely different reason. They want to recover from surgery, focus on balance issues to prevent falling and make sure old injuries don’t come back to haunt them.
Engage a physiotherapist or Medical Exercise Specialist to set you up for in-home exercises which incorporates cardiovascular and strength training and specific exercises for balance and core strength.
Written by Johanna Booy, of Care & Company Ltd., SeniorCareVictoria.ca.