Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s)

Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) are the fundamental tasks needed to independently care for yourself.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Activities of Daily Living are activities related to personal care that need to be carried out in order to live independently. For young and healthy individuals, ADLs are often tasks that are second nature and can be performed easily without assistance. However, elderly individuals may have difficulty performing some or all of these activities on their own and without special equipment. For each ADL, people can vary from needing just a little help to full dependency which requires others to do the task for them.  

Why are ADLs important for Senior Living

ADLs are an important concept in senior living as properties have a range of residents that are at different levels of independence. While some residents can currently take care of all of their ADLs, others may need help in order to get by. Staff of these facilities must be attentive to resident needs and condition and intervene when needed to ensure the health and safety of the resident. Often, ADLs are the primary indicator as to whether a resident is classified as independent, needing assistance, in need of memory care. Nurses are often the best qualified parties to assess and help with ADLs. ADLs can be split into two categories: Instrumental Activities of Daily Living and Basic Activities of Daily Living.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are complex activities related to the ability to live independently. Activities such as food prep, medication management, self transportation, home cleaning and laundry. These activities require complex thinking, memory, motor and organizational skills to complete in a safe and efficient manner. Because these tasks are understood to be difficult, seniors are more likely to ask for help when they become an issue. It isn't as big of an inconvenience or hit to the ego to receive assistance with these issues.

Examples of IADLs:

  • Driving
  • Grocery shopping
  • Clothes shopping
  • Using the internet
  • Cooking
  • Cleaning
  • Doing Laundry

Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADLs)

Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADLs) are the core activities needed to stay alive. Routines such as bathing, eating and walking are BADLs. These are often the last independent activities that seniors lose the ability to manage. Often times, admitting this is difficult and seniors put themselves in serious danger trying to do things they are incapable of doing alone. Nurses must remain vigilant of resident behavior to ensure that signs of BADL deterioration are not left unnoticed.

Examples of Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADLs) include:

  • Bathing 
  • Showering 
  • Dressing 
  • Getting in and out of bed 
  • Walking 
  • Using bathroom
  • Eating and drinking