The Personal Touch of Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living (ADL’s), those self-care activities we do on a daily basis, like washing our face, brushing our teeth, brushing our hair, putting on shoes, etc…(the list can go on) can have great meaning if done with great care. Helping a loved one with ADL’s, when needed, can be comforting and familiar. Consider some of the following:

  • Brush hair, styling your older family member or friend’s hair the way he or she likes it styled. (Also consider a salon visit if this is something they’ve enjoyed in the past. There are some stylists that will come to your home. Check on-line for someone in your area.)
  • Washing hands may be something they now forget to do. Assist as needed with warm water and soap, then dry with a soft towel.
  • Rub lotion into hands and arms or after a bath, if not allergic to these products.
  • Carefully clip fingernails or file as needed. Paint a female family/friends nails if she has always enjoyed this. Use warm towels, rice bags, or heating pad set to low to place their hands on while painting. This warms the hands and feels wonderful!
  • Wash face using a warm wash cloth, then dry with a soft towel.
  • When assisting someone with eating, choose topics of conversation that are interesting such as current events happening in the world, family events that already occurred or will happen, weather, or even reminiscing. Place a flower or other centerpiece on the table where they eat.
  • When assisting with mobility, point out things that are along your path such as a picture of a grandchild, a knick-knack, or plant that may need watering. Assist them in seeing, hearing, touching, and being a part of their environment.

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