One of the most difficult tasks we face as humans living in a society is how we take care of our beloved elders. There may come a point in time when a senior can no longer live on their own, though, so as members of their families, we must make difficult decisions regarding how we handle this situation. On one hand, it’s emotionally taxing to see someone you love not be able to take care of themselves when they used to be the one taking care of you. But on the other hand, there’s only so much you can do to take care of a senior in your family until it becomes overbearing and inhibits your ability to live a normal life. There’s a middle ground that can often be found when it’s necessary. That’s particularly true at a certain point where it makes sense for both the senior and the caregiver to develop a plan for senior care. But this is an expansive industry, so it’s important to determine which type of care you or a loved one may need.

How Do I Know What Type Of Care I Need?

One way to measure the level of care a senior needs is through charting ADLs, which are activities of daily living. This concept was developed by a doctor named Sidney Katz back in the 1960s, and it helps professionals understand how well a senior can complete routines and basic activities that contribute to daily life. Katz broke these routines down into six main categories:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Toileting (going to the bathroom)
  • Transferring (the ability to get in and out of bed)
  • Continence (being to control your bowels)
  • Feeding

Each category has equal value of importance in Katz’s chart. A number—1 if you can complete the task, or 0 if you can’t—is assigned to each category. Once that is done, you add up the numbers. The higher the score, the more independent a patient is able to live. For example, if a senior scored a five out of six on the model, he or she has a relatively easy time completing basic functions of life. But if a senior scores a one or two out of six, it’s clear that he or she needs a lot of care and attentiveness, and thus will need a type of senior care that is more hands-on. Once professionals measure ADLs, there are other types of more broad activities they gauge to get a deeper understanding of the type of care a senior needs. These activities are called IADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living. These include activities like:

  • Paying the bills
  • Cleaning the house
  • Cooking food for yourself
  • Being able to transport yourself outside of the house
  • Socializing

These activities are measured in a similar fashion as ADLs, with numbers being assigned to specific activities. But because ADLs are far more expansive than ADLs, the number ranges are different. The ranges are different for men and women, too, in order to avoid any potential gender bias. For men, the scores range from zero to eight, and for women, the highest number is lowered to five. They’re similar to ADLs in how they’re measured, though, because the higher the score, the more likely that someone can live more independently (and vice versa).