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J Gerontol Nurs. 1999 May;25(5):22-9.

Activities of daily living. Old-fashioned or still useful?

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  • 1University of California, San Francisco, USA.


1 The Index of Activities of Daily Living (ADL) is used by many nurses to assess function in older adults, but there is debate regarding the scoring, wording of questions, and validity in diverse populations. 2 Older adults may give inaccurate answers to ADL questions because they misunderstand the questions, have personal reasons for underreporting or overreporting difficulty in ADL, or fail to recognize difficulty because they have adapted to changes in function. 3 Physical performance tests, especially of the lower extremities, may be an alternative method of assessing function, especially in high-functioning older adults who report no difficulty in ADL.

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