What Are ADLs and How Do They Impact Your Lifestyle?

SaraBella Senior Living Man Washing Dishes

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are fundamental tasks that individuals need to perform on a daily basis to ensure their well-being and maintain their independence. These activities encompass a range of functions that are necessary for self-care and functioning. ADLs are a critical component of a person’s overall health and well-being and can have a profound impact on an individual’s lifestyle.

As a Sarasota senior living community, we understand the importance of ADLs and how they influence a person’s lifestyle. Our expert team at SaraBella Senior Living regularly reviews ADLs on an individual basis to understand how they influence your daily life.

Understanding Activities of Daily Living

ADLs are typically categorized into two main groups: basic and instrumental.

Basic ADLs

Basic ADLs are fundamental self-care activities that are essential for maintaining personal hygiene, mobility, and overall well-being. They include:

  • Personal Hygiene: This involves bathing and grooming tasks like combing hair and brushing teeth. Maintaining personal hygiene is crucial for physical and emotional health, as it prevents infection and promotes self-esteem.
  • Mobility: Mobility-related activities encompass tasks such as getting in and out of bed, walking, and navigating general surroundings. These activities are essential for maintaining independence and preventing physical decline.
  • Eating: The ability to feed oneself independently is another basic ADL. It involves the coordination of motor skills to bring food to the mouth and chew and swallow effectively.
  • Senior Man Tying Shoes_Sarasota Senior LivingDressing: Choosing appropriate clothing and putting it on, including fastening buttons and zippers.

Instrumental ADLs

Instrumental ADLs are more complex tasks that require higher cognitive and functional abilities. They are crucial for living independently; however, they do not necessarily need to be performed every day. These tasks include:

Senior Man Cooking_What Are ADLs

  • Cooking: Preparing meals, using kitchen appliances safely, and following recipes are part of cooking ADLs. Proper nutrition is vital for overall health and well-being.
  • Housekeeping: Keeping a clean and organized living space involves tasks like cleaning and laundry. A clutter-free environment contributes to physical and mental health.
  • Managing Medications: This includes filling prescriptions, organizing medications, and taking them as prescribed. Proper medication management is critical for individuals with chronic conditions.
  • Transportation: The ability to drive, use public transportation, or arrange for transportation to appointments and outings is essential for maintaining social connections and accessing healthcare.
  • Communication: Effective communication, including using the telephone, writing, and using technology, is crucial for staying connected with others and accessing information.
  • Managing Finances: This includes paying bills on time and managing financial assets appropriately.

How Activities of Daily Living Influence Your Lifestyle

ADLs have a profound impact on an individual’s lifestyle and overall well-being. Here are some key ways in which ADLs influence your daily life:


The ability to perform ADLs independently is a measure of autonomy. People who can perform these tasks on their own experience a higher level of independence, leading to a more fulfilling lifestyle.

Health and Well-Being

Properly performing ADLs is essential for maintaining physical and mental health. Neglecting these tasks can lead to hygiene-related health issues, mobility problems, malnutrition, and an increased risk of social isolation, depression, and anxiety.

Social Interaction

Many instrumental ADLs, such as cooking, transportation, and communication, are integral to participating in social opportunities and maintaining relationships. An individual’s ability to engage and sustain connections directly impacts their social life and overall happiness.

Dignity and Self-esteem 

Being able to perform ADLs independently fosters a sense of dignity and self-esteem. Conversely, relying on others for these tasks can lead to feelings of helplessness and a diminished sense of self-worth.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are the cornerstone of an individual’s daily life. The ability to perform ADLs independently is crucial for maintaining independence, safety, health, social interactions, and well-being.

Our Sarasota senior living community supports resident’s needs, allowing them to safely maintain their independence while receiving necessary assistance. We strive to help individuals retire gracefully within a luxurious, resort-style community.

To learn more about our services and community, we invite you to contact a member of the SaraBella Senior Living team to schedule your personalized tour.