ADLs can be seen as routine activities most people tend to do everyday without needing assistance.

Things we normally do in daily living include any daily activity we perform for self-care such as feeding ourselves, bathing, dressing, grooming, work, homemaking, and leisure. These include activities performed within an individual’s place of residence or in outdoor environments.  Our ability or inability to perform ADLs can be used as a very practical measure of ability/disability in many disorders.  Younger children often require help from adults to perform ADLs, due to their not yet having developed the skills necessary to perform them independently.

Unfortunately nearly half of all Americans who turn 65 during any given year will eventually enter a nursing home as a result of being unable to perform two or more of the basic ADLs. While the majority of those nursing home admissions will be for a short term (less than a year), about a quarter will stay longer than a year. It’s important to keep in mind that while basic categories of ADLs have been suggested, what specifically constitutes a particular ADL in a particular environment for a particular person may vary.

ADLs are often categorized into those that are Basic and those that are Instrumenta

Basic ADLs (BADLs) consist of self-care tasks that include:

  • Bathing and showering (washing the body)

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  • Dressing

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  • Self-feeding (not including chewing or swallowing)

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  • Functional mobility (moving from one place to another while performing activities)

  • Personal hygiene and grooming

  • Toilet hygiene (completing the act of urinating/defecating)