Today, especially in Sri Lanka the population is growing older. Which means there would be more and more debilitated personal in the future. While some older citizens are unable to live an independent life others are able to live a meaningful and independent life. Conditions such as dementia and other irreversible illnesses and general degradation of their cognitive abilities need help in order to live a meaningful life. Therefore they will need help in carrying out their activities for daily living (ADL).


In order to provide the senior citizens with adequate care, the most important activities of daily living should be identified and understood. This paper looks into what activities that needs to be focused more in order to care for debilitated senior citizens. Especially in terms of specialist care given to them.


Physical Self Maintenance

Developed by Simon and Lowenthal at Langley-Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute in 1964 (Lowenthal, 1964), the Physical Self Maintenance index is a model which will be used in order to identify the most important aspects of activities of daily living. Here they have identified six main areas of ADL which are Feeding, Dressing, Grooming, Toilet, Physical Ambulation and Bathing (Waldman & Fryman, 1964).



Feeding is important because this would be the main source of nutrition for senior citizens. It is the process of getting food from a plate or any other container which is carrying food into one’s mouth. Also this is one of the main abilities that person looses as they grow old. In addition, a person who can carry out this function, without any assistance and even in a very primitive way, is considered to be independent.



Dressing is considered as taking clothes from a drawer or a cupboard and clothing one’s self. This includes wearing clothes, socks and shoes. Apart from the ability to get dressed, getting dressed in a reasonable time is also important. Since this is one of the basic functions and one of the basic human rights, the ability to get dressed is also an important aspect of ADL (Kuhlen, 1959).



Grooming is another one of the important aspects that need to be taken care of when taking care of a debilitated person. This is because it can help the person to feel good about themselves and manage their mental health. Here, factors such as neatness of the way they dress, their hair, and other aspects such as nails and face need to be looked after (Kuhlen, 1959).



Going to the restroom or the toilet to perform main bodily functions such as bowel and bladder movements are what is been monitored here. It is one of the most important ADL’s since it directly correlates with cleanliness and basic hygiene of a person. Apart from actually the walk to the toilet, it is important to note other activities that should be accomplished along with this such as getting undressed and dressed, getting on and off of the toilet, cleaning themselves after (Ford, Katz & Adams, 1965).


Physical Ambulation

Keeping along the mental health aspect, being physically able to roam around is another main aspect that needs to be looked after when caring for a debilitated patient. Even though in some cases they will not be able to physically walk around themselves, providing necessary assistance is always a must (Katz, Ford, Moskowitz, Jackson & Jaffe, 1963).



Even though bathing is listed at the end it is not the least important area that needs to look at when caring for elders. Since this will ensure that proper hygiene is met with debilitated patients as well as it will ensure other illnesses such as fungal infections would not occur (Ford, Katz & Adams, 1965).


As given above, there are many aspects that needs to be looked at when caring for debilitated personal. Since their wellbeing sorely depends on how they are taken care of. The listed areas are based on past literature and have a direct impact on personal wellbeing of the patient. Therefore it is a must to ensure these basic needs are taken care of when caring for a debilitated person.

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