Getting old is inevitable but scary as it comes with loss of capabilities. Among them, loosing cognitive capability either due to normal aging or more severe conditions such as dementia rates quite high on concerns of old age. Nevertheless, loss of physical capabilities is perhaps more important as it determines a person’s sphere of action, which influences one’s social network, which in turn is one of the biggest determinants of happiness, life span, and quality of life. The reason behind it, being the purpose that comes with living a well integrated life.
A key aspect of keeping a well integrated life for long is the ability to perform the regular “activities of daily living” (ADL). According to the book “The AgeTech Revolution”, these are: to move one’s body independently, to feed, bathe, and groom oneself, to get dressed and to have bladder and bowel control, as well as to actually use the toilet independently. In essence, ADL are the essential and routine activities that younger adults can perform without assistance. According to the same source, on top of these essential activities, there are “instrumental activities of daily living” which include the ability to get to places, to shop for groceries, to manage personal finances, to prepare meals. to clean the house, to manage medication and to communicate with other people through phone or email.
Interestingly, it seems to me that both in the book and in the community at large, most solutions in AgeTech target the instrumental activities of daily living (iADL), by (semi-)automatizing the process of scheduling and buying services, as well as by outsourcing (i.e., providing human support for) transportation, meals’ preparation, cleaning and overall management of daily life.