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Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)

Quick Answer

Activities of daily living (ADLs) are learned activities that each person performs to live a normal life.

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Detailed Answer

Activities of daily living (ADLs) include our most basic learned tasks and abilities. There are six key activities of daily living.

These six ADLs are:

  • Bathing
  • Continence
  • Dressing
  • Eating
  • Toileting
  • Transferring

You may be familiar with most of the activities on this list, but here’s a quick overview of the lesser-known ADLs.

Continence is the learned ability to control the bladder and bowel.

Transferring is the ability to move from standing to sitting positions and vice versa.

Long-term health care centers around helping people with ADLs. In fact, to receive Long-Term Care Insurance benefits, a doctor must confirm you need either stand-by or hands-on assistance with two or more ADLs.

Hands-on assistance means a health care professional may need to physically help with ADLs. This can include physical help dressing or a hand to hold or lean on while moving from standing to sitting positions.

Stand-by assistance means a health care professional needs to be in the room or nearby while performing ADLs. Stand-by assistance is also common for individuals with cognitive decline or impairment. These individuals may need to be monitored in case they get confused or begin to endanger themselves.

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