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Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Definition, classification and exercises for kids and adults

What are activities of daily living?

ADLs are all those tasks of everyday life which have a specific value and meaning to individuals, as well as purpose.

Occupations are central to a person’s identity and competence, and they influence how one spends time and makes decisions.

How are activities of daily living classified?

ADLs are divided into the following categories:

1. Basic Activities of Daily Living :

Basic Activities of Daily Living (BADLs) are activities oriented toward taking care of one’s own body.

Basic activities of daily living include:

2. Instrumental Activities of Daily Living:

IADLs are activities oriented toward interacting with the environment; they are often complex, and they are generally optional in nature since they may be delegated to another.

Instrumental activities of daily living include:

3. Education

Activities needed for being a student and participating in a learning environment.

4. Work

Activities needed for engaging in remunerative employment or volunteer activities.

5. Play

Any spontaneous or organized activity that provides enjoyment, entertainment, amusement, or diversion.

6. Leisure

Nonobligatory activities that are intrinsically motivated and engaged in during discretionary time, that is, time not committed to obligatory occupations such as work, self-care, or sleep.

7. Social Participation

Activities associated with organized patterns of behavior that are characteristic and expected of an individual or an individual interacting with others within a given social system.

How can activities of daily living be improved?

Next, we introduce several exercises developed by NeuronUP for improving basic and instrumental activities of daily living in both children and adults. We start with exercises for improving activities of daily living in adults.

Exercises for improving activities of daily living in adults

Get Dressed

This first exercise is a good example to work basic activities of daily living, and is ideal for working with Alzheimer’s patients. This task involves dressing a doll figure appropriately, by taking into account both the part of the body where each item goes and dressing in a sequential fashion, as well as selecting clothing appropriate to occasion. This activity focuses on procedural memory, body schema, ideational praxis, semantic memory, and planning.

Accurate Payments

Accurate Payments is an activity of daily living which consists on selecting the amount of money request. It is a very exercise for people with Alzheimer’s disease. We will be working on working memory, purchasing and planning.

What’s Making Noise in the Kitchen

Many ADL’s happen in the kitchen, we all have to eat! In What’s Making Noise in the Kitchen you have to identify which everyday kitchen item is making noise. This is important to be able to manage typical meal preparation in the kitchen. As the levels get more difficult there are more items to recognize and less time to successfully click on the item. This activity works auditory gnosis and cooking and cleaning skills.

The following ADL activities below are appropriate for children and teenagers:

Exercises for improving activities of daily living in children and teenagers

Pack your Backpack

The first activity of daily living for children and teenagers is Pack your Packback. This task involves packing the packpack for school by selecting only the objects necessary for that day of school. The aim of the game is that the children don´t forget anything behind, but also they don’t have to pack things that they won´t need or the backpack will be too heavy for them to carry! A great challenge!

This game to improve planning and selective attention is ideal for children with ADHD. This children tend to inattention and put things in their backpack without thinking if they are useful or not and forgetting half of books at home. This game will teach them how to pack their backpack.

Step by Step (Picture-Only)

This planning and reasoning activity consists on putting in logical order the different steps necessary to complete an activity (visual content).

Step by Step (Text-Only)

This NeuronUP activity of daily living is similar to the previous one, but in this case we work with written content instead of drawings. In addition this exercise also works the comprehension.

Straighten Up the Kitchen

The last activity of daily living for children and teenagers is Straighten Up the Kitchen. The exercise consists on putting these ordinary kitchen items away in their usual place. This activity focuses on sustained attention, semantic memory, episodic memory and reasoning.

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