ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADLs) for Adults
For adults, age, a major event (ex: a stroke, car accident, fall, injury) or a developmental disability (Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder etc.) can make it more challenging to complete ADLs independently and safely. An OT can help people regain the strength, dexterity, or movement to care for themselves or teach people a new way to complete their ADLs and IADLs that is easier and safer so that people can live with the least amount of help possible.
WHAT ARE ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING (ADLs)?
Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the self-care tasks we engage in every day, to care for our physical well-being. ADLs are the gateway to enjoying and participating in our everyday lives. Examples of ADLs include:
- Grooming—bathing/showering, hand washing, brushing teeth, combing hair,
- Toileting/Continence—managing bowel and bladder
- Dressing—dressing (and undressing) in clothing appropriate for the weather, managing zippers, buttons, and laces
- Eating—feeding yourself an appropriate bite size, chewing, and safely swallowing
- Functional Mobility—moving safely about your environment (walking, rolling in bed, wheelchair use and transfers)
In addition to ADLs, we also have routines around other self-care tasks that involve a higher level of thinking and complexity (multiple steps), which are known as Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs). IADLs include:
- Meal planning and preparation
- Cleaning and household chores
- Managing money — paying bills, balancing accounts.
- Shopping — getting what is needed and transporting it home.
- Managing medications—organizing and taking medications correctly
- Community Mobility — getting the important places (school, work, store) via public transportation, biking, walking, or driving.
- Caring for others — pets, children, and or older generations.
WHEN DO YOU NEED AN OT?
Occupational Therapy (OT) can help children and adults become more independent in ADLs when there is a gap in skills needed to complete these tasks. Occupational Therapy can help people of all ages and abilities break down these daily tasks and build functional skills or adapt the task itself so that people can be as independent as possible in these crucial activities we do every day.