Here's a guide for understanding what activities of daily living are.


What are ADLs and IADLs?

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Activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living are both common terms that are often used in senior care. In general terms, they refer to basic activities that people must do when they live on their own. Understanding ADLs and IADLs is important for a couple of reasons. For seniors and their family members, determining whether the senior is ready for continuing care is largely based on the amount of ADLs he or she is able to do unassisted. For providers of elderly home care services, acknowledging the ADLs and IADLs that a senior client needs help with will help them provide individualized and comprehensive care.

Activities of daily living 
ADLs are very basic functions, most of which are learned as children. These are considered ADLs: 

    • Eating
    • Bathing, dressing, grooming and other hygiene-related tasks
    • Toileting and continence
    • Getting around, walking and transferring (such as getting in and out of bed or a chair)

Instrumental activities of daily living
IADLs are more complex functions, but are still important for a senior to be able to do to live independently. Here are some IADLs:

    • Housework, including dishes, laundry and meal preparation
    • Shopping
    • Driving or managing public transportation
    • Keeping appointments
    • Managing finances
    • Taking medications properly
    • Socializing


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