What Are ADLs and IADLs?
ADLs, or activities of daily living, are key tasks that people have to manage to be able to live independently.
ADLs are basic self-care tasks that we typically learn as small children. This includes dressing, eating, moving around, and bathing.
The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) defines the following as ADLs:
Toileting and toilet hygiene
Eating and swallowing, self-feeding
Functional mobility - involves moving from one position or place to another, such as from the bed to the bathroom
Personal device care - using, cleaning, and maintaining items such as hearing aids, glasses, prosthetics, and glucometers
Personal hygiene and grooming - caring for hair, skin, nails, and teeth
IADLs, or instrumental activities of daily living, are things we usually learn as teenagers. This is a broad category, including things like managing our finances, shopping, home upkeep, and managing medications.
AOTA defines the following IADLs:
Care of others, including supervising caregivers
Care of pets
Communication management - sending, receiving, and interpreting information)
Driving and community mobility - This also includes walking, cycling, taxis, etc.
Health management and maintenance - Such as physical fitness, nutrition, and medication
Home establishment and maintenance
Meal preparation and cleanup
Religious and spiritual activities
Safety and emergency maintenance - This includes things like replacing smoke alarm batteries, identifying emergency contacts, and reducing threats to health and safety.