Author: Andrea Miller
Reviewed By: Brindusa Vanta

ADLs in assisted living are activities of daily living. Examples of these activities include brushing teeth, getting dressed and preparing meals. You or a loved one could benefit from assisted living care if you need help with ADLs. The inability to perform activities of daily living impacts health and quality of life. 

The Six Basic ADLs

According to the National Institutes of Health, the six basic ADLs include:

  • Toileting
  • Continence
  • Personal hygiene
  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Ambulating

Toileting describes the ability to get to the bathroom, use the facilities and clean up after, while continence refers to the ability to control bladder and bowel function. Personal hygiene involves nail, hair, dental and body care, including bathing and grooming. 

Dressing entails choosing and putting on garments, and feeding describes the ability to eat independently. Ambulating means walking and getting from one place to another without assistance. 

Instrumental ADLs

Instrumental activities of daily living, or IADLs, involve advanced activities that require more complex thought and planning. The NIH has defined six categories of IADLs:

  • Managing medications
  • Communicating with others
  • Handling home maintenance and house cleaning
  • Shopping and preparing meals
  • Managing finances
  • Arranging for errands and transportation

How Can Assisted Living Help With ADLs?

Assisted living helps with ADLs by providing aid when an individual can’t do something on their own. Professional staff members develop a care plan indicating the assistance needed. ADLs they help with include getting to the bathroom, transferring from bed to a wheelchair, dressing, bathing and eating.

Assisted living centers also help with IADLs. These facilities typically offer three daily meals and provide transportation to medical appointments. Some may also administer and manage medications as prescribed.