What Are Activities of Daily Living? 

For the purposes of going into a nursing home or qualifying for other programs that would help you to pay for your long term care expenses, it is important to understand activities of daily living. There are six primary activities of daily living: bathing, toileting, dressing, eating, continence, and transferring or moving from one place to another.

These measures are used to determine a senior’s overall ability to function independently. The inability to perform ADLs and in particular, multiple ADLs, is a strong indicator of the need for a more involved level of care. Long term care facilities as well as in-home care providers will assess these ADLs to determine the appropriate level of care required for the patient.

A person who is incapable of handling a few ADLs on their own might still be able to live at home and rely on the support of family and friends. However, if a person becomes unable to perform more than two activities of daily living, a transition to a long term care facility might be necessary.

A physician can assist with determining how the activities of daily living will affect the senior’s overall independence and ability to live on their own. If your family is confronting the difficult situation of recognizing that a loved one might need more support than is currently available at home, you might need to speak with an experienced and knowledgeable attorney to assist you with estate planning to ensure that you have thought about your long term care plan.


Michelle P. Biddinger
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