Activities of Daily Living

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are basic, routine self-care tasks that most people are able to perform on a daily basis without assistance. ADLs include the following: bathing/grooming, dressing, eating, transferring and toileting.


Includes hygiene activities such as shaving, washing face, brushing teeth and hair


Choosing appropriate garments and being able to dress and undress, including management of buttons, zippers or other fasteners


Being able to feed oneself


Being able to transfer oneself to and from various surfaces (bed to wheelchair; wheelchair to toilet)


Being able to use the toilet, perform hygiene after toileting and management of clothing items before and after task.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living

The instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs) are more complex tasks necessary for maintaining a person’s immediate environment. IADLs include the following: managing medications, preparing meals, housekeeping and laundry tasks.

Managing medications

Taking the appropriate medications and correct dosages on time

Preparing meals

Preparing meals safely

Maintaining the home

Doing or arranging for housekeeping and laundry

Adaptive Equipment:

Adaptive Equipment includes any device that is used to allow increased independence with performance of a functional tasks.

Examples include:

  • long handled shoe horn: a curved instrument used to ease one’s heel into a shoe
  • long handled reacher: reacher with a long handle that can aid in dressing or retrieving objects that are out of arms reach (often used after a hip fracture/surgery when a patient has restrictions with bending at the waist)
  • long handled sponge
  • sock aid: plastic molded Sock-Aid with rope handles holds the sock open after it has been placed on the plastic form in order to assist with putting on socks (often used after a hip fracture/surgery when a patient has restrictions with bending at the waist)
  • dressing stick: long rod with a clothes hook attached to one end used to pull on clothing
  • button hook: a small hook with a long handle for fastening tight buttons
  • weighted utensils: heavy weighted utensil helps to stabilize the hand hand and to give proprioceptive feedback during self-feeding tasks.