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Published on 29 Jun 2011
Health Studies
HLTB01H3S: Health, Aging and the Life Cycle
Department of Health Studies
University of Toronto at Scarborough
Winter 2010
Instructor: Anna Walsh.
Term: Fall 2008 Mondays 3 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Lecture Room: Room AA112
A&G: Chapter 8
Functional Health, Health Promotion and Quality of Life
A person’s state of health is more than the simple sum of physical illness and
Functional health refers to the ability to take care of personal needs such as
bathing, toileting, and dressing, as well as being able to engage in everyday tasks,
including shopping, paying bills, using the telephone, and navigating the physical
and social environment.
There is an increased chance of developing a disability in later life, especially
among those over 85 years of age and older.
In advanced stages, chronic diseases affect many of the everyday activities of the
older person.
Assessing Functional Health
Two of the most frequent ways of assessing functional health include: measures
of daily living skills i.e. activities of daily living (ADLs) and instrumental
activities of daily living (IADLs). Gait, balance and cognitive function can be
assessed as well.
Activities of Daily Living
In general, ADLs are measured by asking either the person or the caregiver
whether a task can be completed i.e. “Can you dress yourself? At other times, it
is more appropriate to observe the person completing a task.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living
To complete IADLs, a person has to have the physical and mental abilities to
perform a task, as well as motivation.
Questions related to IADLs are generally worded, “Can you go shopping for
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