What Are ADLs – Activities of Daily Living

In the healthcare care industry terms such as Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) & Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are used to measure a senior’s level of functioning in performing everyday tasks and chores.

These assessments can be useful for assessing the elderly in order to evaluate the type and level of care services a person may require.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

In the senior care industry a person who requires assistance with ADLs may be evaluated by a social worker or qualified medical professional.

The 7 Basic ADLs

  • Bathing and grooming
  • Dressing and undressing
  • Meal preparation and eating
  • Functional transfers
  • Bathroom use
  • Ambulation
  • Contingence

In certain senior housing facilities, the number of ADLs that a person may require assistance with is used to determine the resident’s level of care, and will likely effect the cost of services.

In the U.S., most medical insurance policies do not cover the cost of assistance with ADLs, however, most long term care insurance policies will cover some or all of the costs where assistance with ADLs is required.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Where ADLs address one’s ability to function fundamentally, IADLs cover the more nuanced and complex social activities in one’s life.

The 6 Basic IADLs

  • Light housework and chores
  • Meal preparation and cleanup
  • Shopping (groceries, clothing, household supplies, etc.)
  • Using the telephone (dialing, retrieving numbers, etc.)
  • Managing of finances
  • Managing of medications

In an assisted living facility or nursing home, occupational therapists may also evaluate IADLs in order to complete a patient assessment. These include other areas of IADLs that are usually optional, and may be delegated to others. These areas include:

  • Caring for others
  • Caring for pets
  • Child rearing
  • Community mobility
  • Health management & maintenance

Many seniors who live independently can perform most IADLs without assistance. Difficulty in performing some IADLs can be used to indicate where help is needed.

It’s common for family caregivers to provide assistance with IADLs. This is a great way to allow the senior to remain independent and in their home as long as possible, delaying the need for long term care.

Leave a Comment