Activities of daily living (ADLs) are the basic self-care tasks that individuals typically perform on a daily basis to take care of themselves and maintain their health and well-being. ADLs can be used as a measure of an individual’s functional ability and independence.
The six main ADLs are:
- Bathing: the ability to clean oneself, either in a bathtub or shower, including the ability to get in and out of the tub or shower safely.
- Dressing: the ability to put on and take off clothing, including the ability to fasten buttons and zippers.
- Eating: the ability to feed oneself, including the ability to use utensils and manage food and drink safely.
- Toileting: the ability to use the toilet, including getting on and off the toilet, managing clothing, and cleaning oneself.
- Transferring: the ability to move oneself from one position to another, such as from a bed to a wheelchair, or from a wheelchair to a toilet.
- Continence: the ability to control bowel and bladder function.
Some experts also include instrumental activities of daily living (IADLs), which are more complex activities that individuals perform to manage their lives. IADLs include tasks such as shopping, cooking, managing finances, using transportation, and performing household chores.