Activities of daily living  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Activities of daily living (ADLs) is a term used in healthcare to refer to daily self-care activities within an individual's place of residence, in outdoor environments, or both. Health professionals routinely refer to the ability or inability to perform ADLs as a measurement of the functional status of a person, particularly in regards to people with disabilities and the elderly.

Basic ADLs

Basic ADLs (BADLs) consist of self-care tasks, including:

A useful mnemonic is DEATH: dressing, eating, ambulating, toileting, hygiene.

Instrumental ADLs

Instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are not necessary for fundamental functioning, but they let an individual live independently in a community:

  • Housework
  • Taking medications as prescribed
  • Managing money
  • Shopping for groceries or clothing
  • Use of telephone or other form of communication
  • Using technology (as applicable)
  • Transportation within the community

A useful mnemonic is SHAFT: shopping, housekeeping, accounting, food preparation/meds, telephone/transportation.

Occupational therapists often evaluate IADLs when completing patient assessments. The American Occupational Therapy Association identifies 12 types of IADLs that may be performed as a co-occupation with others:

  • Care of others (including selecting and supervising caregivers)
  • Care of pets
  • Child rearing
  • Communication management
  • Community mobility
  • Financial management
  • Health management and maintenance
  • Home establishment and maintenance
  • Meal preparation and cleanup
  • Religious observances
  • Safety procedures and emergency responses
  • Shopping


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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Activities of daily living" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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