What are the Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)?


The Activities of Daily Living are a series of basic activities necessary for independent living at home or in the community. They are performed on a daily basis. There are many variations on the definition of the ADLs, but most organizations agree there are 5 basic categories.

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  1. Personal hygiene – bathing/showering, grooming, nail care, and oral care.
  2. Dressing – being able to make appropriate clothing decisions and physically dress and undress oneself.
  3. Eating – the ability to feed oneself, though not necessarily the capability to prepare food.
  4. Maintaining continence – being able to mentally and physically use a restroom. This includes the ability to get on and off the toilet and clean oneself.
  5. Transferring/Mobility- being able to stand from a sitting position, as well as get in and out of bed. The ability to walk independently from one location to another.

The level of independence is based on whether someone can perform these activities on their own or they need help from a family caregiver.

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