Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

There are six basic Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, transferring and continence. The ability to accomplish each of these things independently is used as a measure of a senior's functional independence. When making long term care decisions, in-home care providers and long-term care facilities assess activities of daily living to determine the appropriate level of care.

The inability to perform ADLs without assistance is a key indicator of the need for a higher level of care. For instance, an individual who needs some assistance bathing or preparing meals may still be capable of living independently if the right support is in place. However, a transition to a long-term care facility may be necessary when an individual becomes unable to perform more than two of the six ADLs without assistance.

For more information regarding the importance of this measure and the role of activities of daily living (ADLs) in planning for a senior's long term care, explore our articles, assessments and Q&A from other caregivers in the Caregiver Forum.

Activities of Daily Living Articles

  • Activities of Daily Living Defined

    The six activities of daily living (ADLs) are used to assess a senior’s ability to care for themselves, determine they level of care they require, and verify their eligibility for supportive services and financial assistance.

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  • The Importance of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

    Activities of daily living are used to measure a senior’s functional status. An ADL assessment will help determine the level of care an aging loved one requires and what support programs and benefits they may be eligible for.

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  • Needs Assessment: The First Step When Moving to Senior Housing

    Senior living communities conduct a needs assessment that measures potential residents’ physical and cognitive abilities to ensure that a senior’s needs match the services the community is able to provide.

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  • Daily Life with Dementia: How to Take the Stress Out of Getting Dressed

    In the middle and later stages of dementia, dressing becomes a more challenging activity of daily living. Following a few simple suggestions can help make the process of getting dressed easier.

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Activities of Daily Living Questions

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