ADLs vs. IADLs

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

What Are ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)?

ADLs refer to the basic tasks necessary for daily life. Examples include:

  • Bathing and Showering: Ability to bathe oneself.
  • Dressing: Selecting appropriate clothes and dressing oneself.
  • Eating: Feeding oneself.
  • Transferring: Moving from one position to another, like from bed to chair.
  • Toileting: Using the toilet independently.
  • Mobility: Walking or moving around.
Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living Vs. Standard Activities Of Daily Living

What Are IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living)?

IADLs are more complex skills needed for independent living. Examples include:

  • Managing Finances: Budgeting, paying bills, and handling financial matters.
  • Managing Medications: Taking correct dosages at the right times.
  • Meal Preparation: Planning and preparing meals.
  • Housekeeping and Cleaning: Maintaining a clean living environment.
  • Shopping for Groceries and Necessities: Buying and transporting groceries.
  • Using Communication Devices: Using phones, computers, or other technology.
  • Transportation: Driving or using public transit.
Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living And Standard Activities Of Daily Living

ADLs vs. IADLs

Activity TypeADLsIADLs
NatureBasic self-care tasksComplex skills for independent living
ExamplesBathing, eating, dressingManaging finances, meal preparation, transportation
PurposeFundamental for personal careNecessary for independent living in a community
Instrumental Activities Of Daily Living Vs. Standard Activities Of Daily Living


Understanding the difference between ADLs and IADLs is crucial for assessing the needs of individuals, especially the elderly or those with disabilities. ADLs focus on basic self-care tasks, while IADLs involve more complex activities necessary for living independently. Recognizing these differences helps in planning appropriate care and support. Contact us today for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are IADLs essential to assess in long-term care settings?

IADLs are essential in long-term care to determine an individual’s ability to live independently.

How does the ability to perform IADLs impact an individual’s overall quality of life?

The ability to perform IADLs affects an individual’s independence and overall quality of life.

What is an instrumental activity of daily living?

The instrumental activity of daily living (IADL) refers to a slightly more complex task necessary for independent living, such as managing finances, doing housework, shopping, meal preparation, communication, and medication management.

Why is it important to measure both ADLs and IADLs?

Measuring Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) is essential to comprehensively assess a person’s functional abilities, enabling a better understanding of their overall independence and the level of care they may require.

Shawn Plummer, CRPC

Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor

Shawn Plummer is a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor, insurance agent, and annuity broker with over 14 years of first-hand experience with annuities and insurance. Since beginning his journey in 2009, he has been pivotal in selling and educating about annuities and insurance products. Still, he has also played an instrumental role in training financial advisors for a prestigious Fortune Global 500 insurance company, Allianz. His insights and expertise have made him a sought-after voice in the industry, leading to features in renowned publications such as Time Magazine, Bloomberg, Entrepreneur, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, Women’s Health Magazine, and many more. Shawn’s driving ambition? To simplify retirement planning, he ensures his clients understand their choices and secure the best insurance coverage at unbeatable rates.

The Annuity Expert is an independent online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. The goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning and find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates

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