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Activities of Daily Living

Rahul Thadani Sep 30, 2018
The basic tasks that a person performs each day are known as the activities of daily living. If a person is unable to perform these tasks properly, certain measures need to be taken in order to help them. Let us discuss on the topic in detail.
Activities of daily living or ADLs is a term that is commonly used in healthcare, especially when the nursing of an elderly or a disabled person is involved. Any activity or task that an individual undertakes throughout the course of the day constitutes as instrumental ADLs. Eating, walking, personal grooming, and hygiene, all come under it.
Many medical institutions and insurance companies conduct a study of these activities on individuals. Mostly, elderly people with mental illnesses, physically-challenged are put through this study. This is done to assess the functionality of a person. Once it’s been ascertained, the health professionals can decide what type of treatment should be provided.

Importance of Activities Checklist

There are 6 basic activities that a person is expected to perform. So, if an individual cannot perform at least 2 of these activities independently, the nursing home will mostly likely admit him/her.
All the tasks are monitored to ascertain if a person should be admitted or not. The cost of admitting someone into nursing homes is quite high, and as a result they need to be absolutely certain with their decision.

Basic ADLs

As mentioned earlier, there are basically 6 ADLs that any health professional will consider a part of this list.

Taking a bath/shower

Getting dressed


Toilet hygiene

Moving from one place to another

These activities need to be performed independently in order for an individual to take care of himself/herself. The most common cases where people are unable to independently perform their ADLs, is in the case of elderly people.
Therefore, the analysis of these activities for elderly people is of utmost importance. Based on the results of the analysis, it can be decided what sort of nursing conditions a particular individual will require.

Instrumental ADLs

Apart from the fundamental ADLs mentioned above, there is a list of instrumental ADLs that determine if a person is capable of living in a community independently, or if they require additional assistance.


Taking medication


Using the telephone

Managing money

Care of others

Care of pets

Doing housework

Emergency responses

Safety procedures

If it is found that a person can perform their basic ADLs but are unable to perform their instrumental ADLs, it is probably best to assign someone to look after them. Mostly, insurance companies tend to require this information as most of the treatments will be covered by their organizations.
There is a possibility that some people may try to con these companies in order to get the insurance money. So, these companies carry out the tests very carefully to ascertain the true functionality and mobility of an individual.
Before a person is actually admitted into a nursing home for treatment, everyone must be made well aware of the specific activities they can and cannot perform. Elderly people and those with chronic illnesses are likely to be more susceptible to these tests. Monitoring their functionality can only benefit the family members and friends in the long run.