ADL/IADL– What does that stand for and what does it mean?
Jeanne R. Seliskar, MA, CCC/SLP
Corporate Director of Rehabilitation
The GRAND of Dublin
Activities of Daily Living include Grooming, Dressing, Bathing. Toileting. Sounds like simple tasks because these are things we do every day and take our abilities for completing these essential functions for granted. A broken arm or leg, generalized weakness, surgery, paralysis and other temporary or permanent disabilities can make these tasks hard or impossible to complete without help or rehabilitation. Rehabilitating or compensating for these skills is the primary role of an Occupational Therapist. Work simplification and energy conservation techniques are components of the process. Along with adaptive equipment, such as reachers, sock aids, dressing sticks, long handled sponges or shoe horns can make a tremendous difference in a person’s independence.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living are more complicated tasks that are performed daily and are essential for truly independent living. Some examples which can be disrupted for individuals include medication management, using a cell phone, preparing meals, shopping, cleaning, and managing finances just to cover some of the various areas.
Not being able to complete these various tasks may for some be the difference between return to home or having to rely on help in a facility. It takes the skills of an Occupational Therapist and the motivation/efforts of their patients to bring back valued independence into their lives.