What Are the Activities of Daily Living?

Activities of daily living, called ADLs for short, are a way for you and for your senior’s medical team to determine how independent she truly is. These ADLs can help you to gauge when your elderly family member needs more help and the type of help she needs.

Elder Care in Port St. Lucie FL: Activities of Daily Living

Elder Care in Port St. Lucie FL: Activities of Daily Living

Feeding Herself.

Cooking may be difficult or consume too much of your elderly family member’s energy, but feeding herself is considered an activity of daily living. The measure of success here is that your senior successfully moves food from her plate or bowl to her mouth. If she uses assistive devices, such as utensils with larger handles, that still counts toward success.

Bathing and Dressing.

Success with bathing and dressing involves your elderly family member being able to wash herself well by herself or with only a little bit of assistance. That little bit of assistance typically means that she only needs help with a particular body part or temporarily while an injury heals. To successfully dress herself means that your elderly family member chooses her clothing, removes it from where it’s stored, and puts the clothing on accurately.


Successful toileting involves your elderly family member going to the bathroom by herself and using the facilities on her own. She may need to use assistive devices or rely on hand rails in the bathroom, but she’s still able to do what she needs to do while in the bathroom.


In terms of continence, your elderly family member needs to be able to have a degree of control over her bowels and her bladder. You and her doctor might count occasional accidents now and then as still being successful with continence, especially if there are other health issues at play. As she loses control over these abilities, though, she may also be losing this activity of daily living.


Mobility success involves your senior’s ability to get up from a bed or from a chair without help from another person. She might use assistive devices, like a walker or cane, but those devices are enough to help her. She might also need to use hand rails more often, but successfully using them counts.

Elder care providers can be instrumental in either helping with ADLs or taking over these tasks for your elderly family member when she’s having too much trouble. Your senior may have more trouble with these activities at certain times or when she’s having more trouble with specific health issues. Her level of impairment with any of these activities can help to determine how independent she can continue to be.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Port St. Lucie, FL, please call the caring staff at Activa Home Health Care at (561) 819-4112.  Serving Delray Beach, Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Lauderhill, Coral Springs, Pompano Beach and surrounding communities.