What Is the ADL Scale?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 12, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

What is the "ADL Scale" -- is it the same thing as the Katz ADL Scale? Can you use this to help determine whether someone needs to move into assisted living or hire home care help? Is there just one form, or are there different versions? And how do you know if you're filling it out correctly?

Expert Answers

As Founder and Director of Circles of Care, Ann Cason provides caregiving, consulting, and training services to individuals and public and private organizations involved in eldercare. She is the author of Circles of Care: How to Set Up Quality Home Care for Our Elders.

Tools such as the ADL or Katz scale can be helpful on helping you to think about assisted living or in-home care. They say the Katz is better for rehab than assisted living. But, I wouldn't take any tool as the sum total of a person's life. The scales try to measure whether you can cook, bathe, walk, dress, or toilet yourself. But there are other areas to consider. Ask yourself if you are lonely. Or how afraid are you of being alone at night. Do you get lost in day dreams if you are alone too much? How much support do you have from family and friends? Do you enjoy following a schedule for meals and activities, or does it make you feel tired and rebellious? My advice is to sek counsel from a geriatric care manager or social worker or counselor. Try not to hurry your decision and visit several places. Sometimes people move into the wrong place, then have to move which is expensive and emotionally draining. But don't operate from fear: The question is not whether you can cook, but how can I continue my life journey and develop my innate wisdom?