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What Are Activities of Daily Living?

Healthcare, kindness and support with nurse helping elderly patient in assisted living home, smile

As seniors age into their golden years, it is common to lose independence and require professional caregiver assistance for basic activities of daily living (ADLs). Below is a list of common ADLs you should know if you are a family member caring for an elderly loved one. There may come a time when your older family member needs ongoing assistance to avoid a dangerous fall, medication mixup, or another severe injury. 

If you are looking for senior living in Phoenix, don’t hesitate to contact Immanuel Campus of Care today. Our community is conveniently located in Peoria, just off Route 101 and Route 60. We have proudly provided assisted living, independent living, skilled nursing, and mental health services since 1998. Schedule a tour with us today and learn why we have been a leader in senior care for over 25 years. 

Meal Preparation & Feeding

Meal prepping effectively ensures seniors digest healthy and nutritious food essential to their physical health and well-being. Preparing food and helping with feeding also ensures seniors don’t suffer an accident, such as a dangerous slip or fall. Providing proper nutrients helps keep their mental and physical health sharp and lively. Assisting seniors to plan their meals beforehand saves time and money while improving their strength and energy levels. It also makes storing food in the fridge or freezer easier for later consumption.

Bathing & Grooming

Bathing and grooming are important activities of daily living that help senior citizens stay healthy and independent. Bathing is necessary for keeping skin and hair clean, while grooming keeps nails trimmed and hair cut. As people age, performing these tasks independently can become more challenging, so bathing and grooming are considered vital ADLs for seniors. In addition to caregiver assistance, various products are available for seniors to stay clean and well-groomed such as retractable shower heads, shower chairs, and bath lifts. 


One of the most common challenging tasks for older adults is using the bathroom and toilet. Toileting is a naturally private matter that seniors may feel uncomfortable needing assistance with. Although seniors might feel embarrassed, physical help using the toilet helps prevent elderly people from sustaining possible injuries that might occur in the bathroom. It’s essential to be patient and supportive when assisting a senior using the toilet—examples include keeping a path clear of obstacles on the way to the bathroom and casually helping seniors remove their clothing easily. Caregivers are encouraged to use devices like grab bars and low-sitting toilets to help seniors enter the squatting position. It is also critical that caregivers minimize feelings of embarrassment by cleaning genitals discreetly and promptly.   

Transportation Assistance

Senior citizens need to understand their own capabilities when it comes to walking and driving. Making sure they are taking all necessary safety precautions, assistance with walking provides seniors with a form of exercise and helps them get from place to place around the house. On the other hand, driving allows seniors to venture further within their means and get to doctors’ appointments, run errands, and just get outside the house. Most seniors reach an age that they cannot drive on their own, and thus a vital activity of daily living is transportation assistance from a caregiver. 


Housekeeping is an integral part of maintaining a comfortable and safe environment. As people age, keeping up with dusting, vacuuming, and basic cleaning becomes more challenging. A clean, organized, and safe environment will reduce the risk of potential health hazards or other accidents seniors can experience in their living space. With the help of professional caregivers, seniors can enjoy a healthier and more organized atmosphere without worrying about tedious cleaning tasks.


Preservation of mobility is a crucial aspect of maintaining independence as individuals age. Ambulating is the ability to walk, sit, stand, lie down, or climb stairs inside and outside your home. Many seniors struggle with transferring from the bed to a chair or bathroom. Regular exercise is vital to an active, healthy lifestyle, and some older adults are not aware of the importance of ambulation. Decreased mobility can result in increased mental and physical health risks and hospitalization. Professional caregivers provide ambulating assistance to seniors with injuries or mobility restrictions, making it easier to get around and reducing the risk of an unnecessary fall. 

Medication Management

Medication management is essential for senior health care. Seniors must take their prescribed medications safely and correctly to avoid becoming ill or unbalanced. As people age, the difficulty of remembering to take medications and the correct dosage becomes common and frequent. Medication boxes or pill organizers can better manage their daily dosages and routine; however, these devices simply cannot replace the value of caregiver assistance. Medication management is a crucial ADL for maintaining health and safety in the continuum of senior care. 


We hope this article helps clarify which basic activities of daily living you should monitor for your elderly loved one. Constant evaluation and review are essential when caring for older adults. Suppose you feel they can no longer perform any of the above ADLs independently. In that case, it’s time to consider hiring a professional caregiver or relocating to a senior living community.  If you are looking for a senior living in Phoenix, please contact Immanuel Campus of Care to schedule a tour of our wonderful community. We are looking forward to meeting you!