What are the 6 Activities of Daily Living?


Activities of Daily Living

If you or a loved one are possibly in need of home health care, you have more than likely heard reference to the 6 ADL’s and may not be exactly clear on what they are, or how they effect your ability to use the benefits of a long term care insurance policy.

The 6 Activities of Daily Living, or ADL’s, are mentioned often in home health care but they aren’t always explained in detail. It is very helpful to have some background knowledge about the 6 ADLs to see if any apply to your situation and if you qualify to use any benefits of an existing long term care policy.

What are they and what are some examples?


The 6 activities of daily living are simple yet essential tasks that individuals complete on a daily basis. They are tasks that are taken for granted and considered second nature for many of us.

However, these tasks can become more challenging, and do for many, as we progress into our retirement years.

As individuals age and they can’t perform these six daily tasks, this is where long term care insurance comes in to assist. This type of insurance is available to those who would benefit from home care services to successfully and safely perform the 6 ADLs.

These 6 activities of daily living vary to some degree in definition when it comes to different long term care insurance companies and other facilities, but they are generally recognized as:


  1. Bathing. This refers to grooming and other personal hygiene aside from bathing also, such as shaving and brushing teeth. A home health aide can be an extremely helpful caregiver for those who are in search for assistance with this ADL, as they receive training in being able to properly bathe and provide personal hygiene to those they are caring for.

  2. Dressing. This refers to being able to dress oneself without having difficulty buttoning or zipping up clothing. This can be a rather tedious thing to have to deal with on one’s own, and a companion or home health aide could be of great assistance.

  3. Eating. The ability to prepare food and feed oneself without difficulty. A companion caretaker can be there to assist in meal prep and provide eating assistance if necessary.

  4. Transferring. This refers to being able to move about without assistance throughout the day, either walking around or moving from bed to wheelchair. Caregivers such as home health aides are trained in this and can help to safely maneuver those in their care through their daily motions.

  5. Toileting. The ability to get off and on the toilet and be able to properly care for oneself afterward is a very important function. If one has difficulty with this, a health aide can be there to help with this.

  6. Continence. This ties into the last one, where one is able to control the movement of one’s own bladder. An in-home caregiver can again be there to provide the proper hygiene measures to individuals who struggle with this ADL.

Why are the ADLs Important?

These 6 ADLs are the measure for long term care providers to assess if someone actually qualifies to use benefits within their LTC plan and how much of the daily benefit amount is required to be paid out for services rendered.

A general rule of thumb is that the inability to perform two out of the 6 ADLs is the normal criteria to activate benefits within your policy.

The first step is to call your long term care provider and ask them what needs to be done to use your benefits. They will normally provide a form to be filled out and signed by a physician stating that you need assistance with at least 2 of the 6 ADLs.

Some policies have a waiting period of 45 -90 days to start benefits. This is to ensure that it’s actually a long term issue which is what the policies are designed for. After being on claim, you may have to “re-qualify” every six to twelve months by having the physician re-sign the order.

In general, these are easy tasks to accomplish, and if you think you may qualify, a licensed home health agency will be happy to assist in this process at no charge.

What If I Don’t Have Long Term Care Insurance?

Many people never purchased long-term care insurance, and by the time you need care it’s to late to apply.

Many people utilize private / self-pay for these services and it’s completely voluntary. A Physician’s note is not required to elect care from a home health agency, assuming it is non-medical care as described in this article.

If you are interested in possibly hiring a home health aide in Boca Raton or the Palm Beach County area, we offer a free consultation to review your situation!

Feel free to call us anytime to discuss any impending information you might still have regarding the ADLs, qualification, and long term care insurance!

Hiring professionals from Unified Pledge comes with the following advantages:

  • Level II FBI background checks of all staff

  • Driving history checks

  • Companions, Home Health Aides, LPNs are our direct employees and not independent contractors

  • Constant communication to patients, family, and care team

  • Registered Nurse supervision is ongoing with every care plan

Contact us today for a free consultation by a Supervisory Nurse at 561-910-8770.


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