ADL stands for Activities of Daily Living, which can be just the basic tasks and help around the hours. IADL stands for Instrumental Activities of Daily Living. Both of these have some significant differences. These tasks represent the essential tasks specified for people living at home independently and requiring some assistance to maintain their lifestyle.

Difficulties with ADLs and IADLs often correspond to how much help, supervision, and hands-on care an older person needs. This can determine the cost of care at a facility, whether someone is considered "safe" to live at home, or whether a person is eligible for certain long-term care services.


Essential self-care can be a hassle and can become a burden as you age; however, the core responsibility in this area is to maintain the work and act accordingly. As you age, many things start deteriorating; the truth is that one has to maintain a modest lifestyle no matter what age they are going through. These activities include:

  • Walking/locomotion, or otherwise getting around the home or outside. The technical term for this is “ambulating.”
  • Feeding, as in getting food from a plate into one’s mouth.
  • Dressing and grooming, selecting clothes, putting them on, and adequately managing one’s appearance.
  • Toileting means getting to and from the toilet, using it appropriately, and cleaning oneself.
  • Medication reminders/preparation
  • Bathing/showering means washing one’s face and body in the bath or shower.
  • Transferring means being able to move from one body position to another. This includes moving from a bed to a chair or into a wheelchair. This can also be able to stand up from a bed or chair to grasp a walker or other assistive device.
  • Light housekeeping
  • Laundry
  • Cooking/meal preparation
  • Shopping
  • Transportation/Escorts to appointments

ADL varies from person to person, and if you have a senior who needs only partial assistance, then it could be the best plan for you; however, if there is more work, then IADL could be the suitable option for your seniors. It includes organization and complex thinking of tasks to align them according to the patient.

  • Managing finances, such as paying bills and managing financial assets.
  • Managing transportation, either via driving or by organizing other means of transport.
  • Shopping and meal preparation. This covers everything required to get a meal on the table. It also covers shopping for clothing and other items needed for daily life.
  • Housecleaning and home maintenance. This means cleaning kitchens after eating, keeping one’s living space reasonably clean and tidy, and keeping up with home maintenance.
  • Managing communication, such as the telephone and mail.
  • Managing medications, which covers obtaining medications and taking them as directed.