On a day to day basis, the ability to care for oneself is often taken for granted. Our physical and mental health, safety, and self-care occur without significant assistance.
A biopsychosocial model captures the everyday of self-care. This includes biologic, psychologic and social variables; underneath these variables are the remarkable range of cognitive (intellectual), affective (emotional), and behavioral (activation) skills relevant to independent living, mirrored in part by the Activities of Daily Living (or ADL's).
ADL's (see right column) and also IADL's can be assessed in the context of the individual, their culture, education, career, family, personal style, etc.
The results of neurogeriatric consults, in combination with other data per e.g., Memory, Language, Visual Perception, Planning, Organization, Divided Attention, are fundamental in understanding our everyday capacities and capabilities. This data also provides us guidance and recommendations regarding successful living situations (kind of like, well, your 18 year old going to off college . . . should they live in a dorm? an apartment? the frat house?).
Memory - Remembering a few shopping items without a list, remembering appointments or meetings.
Language - Remembering names of objects, communicating thoughts in conversation.
Visual Perception - Following a map to a new location, finding way back to a meeting spot in the mall.
Planning - Planning the sequence of stops on a shopping trip or a day of errands.
Organization - Keeping living and work space organized, keeping financial records organized.
Divided Attention - Returning to a task after being interrupted, keeping track of multiple things while cooking.
This systemic and integrated approach becomes the most effective way for respecting our own talents as we age, the talents of our loved ones, as well as guiding us when making decisions.
So what is the "everyday life" for older folks? Read and/or download this wonderful brief from the good people at Health In Aging.
Day to Day Activities
A significant compromise or inability to consistently perform even just one of the six functional Activities of Daily Living(ADL's), may indicate the need for supportive services or care.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL's) are closely associated with independent living. While minor challenges in handling one's own finances and housekeeping may be acceptable (we all have "good days and bad days"), significant compromise in, for example, administering one's own medication, or grocery shopping, are of much greater concern. The DAFS (2010) is one measure of how key IADL's can be assessed.