Activities of Daily Living

One of the most important tasks of our occupational therapists (OT) is to help with activities of daily living (ADLs) associated with injury, disability or disease.

ADLs are tasks you perform every day that are part of living independently.

Your OT will help you with:

  • The ADL activity
  • The mobility required to complete the ADL task

Evaluation & Assessment

Your occupational therapist will conduct an evaluation to determine your levels of cognitive and physical abilities. In general, you’ll be rated on whether you can do a task:

  • Without help – You can perform the task on your own, without assistance.
  • With help – You can perform the task with assistance or cues.
  • Not at all – You are unable to complete the task, even with help.

Personalized Care Plan

Based on the assessment, your therapist will determine:

  • The nature and degree of dysfunction, if any
  • What special training or services you’ll need
  • What therapeutic intervention may be helpful


Your OT will then create a personalized care plan that meets your individual needs. As you progress through therapy, your therapist will regularly re-evaluate your care plan.

ADL (Self-Care) Tasks

  • Bathing and showering
  • Bowel and bladder management
  • Eating – tray preparation and utensil application
  • Feeding – setting up food and bringing it to your mouth
  • Functional mobility – moving from one place to another while performing activities
  • Personal device care
  • Personal hygiene and grooming – including washing hair
  • Toilet hygiene

Assistive Devices

If you have difficulty completing daily-living tasks, your OT will make recommendations for appropriate assistive device:

  • Balance or weakness – grab bars for tub or toilet
  • Difficulty standing – shower chair
  • Difficulty standing up – raised toilet seats
  • Coordination problems – weighted utensils and plates
  • Paralysis – adaptive devices to help with self-care
  • Dressing – devices to assist with putting on and removing clothes
  • Housekeeping -- devices to assist with kitchen function and housekeeping chore completion
  • Impaired vision – downloadable audio books
  • Memory problems – automatic reminders

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