Resource Guide for Family Caregivers
Activity of Daily Living assessments

Typically, Activities of Daily Living (ADL) assessments and Instrumental Activity of Daily Living (IADL) assessments are performed in order to determine a person’s level of functioning, strengths and needs in caring for him or herself and performing various tasks of everyday life. As such, ADL and IADL assessments are often referred to as ―functional assessments.‖ ADL assessments often comprise a component of a larger assessment instrument or process, such as that used by Long Term Care assessors. ADL assessments also are frequently done as part of a hospital discharge planning process.

Although ADL and IADL assessment instruments may differ somewhat, Instrumental Activities of Daily Living tasks generally include:

  • Preparing meals
  • Doing housework
  • Grocery shopping
  • Getting to places beyond walking distance
  • Managing money
  • Doing laundry
  • Using the telephone
  • Taking medications

Activities of Daily Living tasks generally include:

  • Feeding oneself
  • Dressing oneself
  • Grooming oneself
  • Toileting
  • Getting in and out of bed
  • Walking/getting around within the home

In performing an assessment, the evaluator notes whether the person is able to do the activity without any assistance at all, whether the person requires some assistance, or whether the person is unable to perform the activity at all. Evaluators should also distinguish between a person’s ability to understand what is involved in doing the activity (even if  the person is physically unable to undertake it) from a person’s inability to understand the task (and thus the person’s inability to instruct others to assist with the task).