Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

A person's capacity to manage everyday tasks is assessed by measuring ADLs.

It is important to note that in ME/CFS, the ability to carry out one or more ADLs does not mean that the person is able to carry them out on a daily basis; or even to carry out any of those ADLS on a given day.

Basic ADLs

These are everyday personal care activities.

Basic ADLs include the following:

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)

These are activities related to independent living within the home and community.

Instrumental ADLs include the following:

  • shopping
  • meal preparation
  • housecleaning
  • home maintenance
  • managing communication, including telephone and mail
  • managing transportation
  • managing medications
  • coordinating health care
  • managing money
  • social interaction
  • community interaction, including services, events, hobbies and spiritual observance
  • responsibilities for others, including parenting and carer roles
  • safety procedures and emergency responses
  • decision making

Occupational therapists (OTs) assess a person's ability or inability to perform ADLs as a measurement of functional status; and may write reports to assist in applying for services.

OTs can advise on energy conservation, adaptations and equipment to support ADLs.

Illness severity does not reflect the level of disability. Even those with 'mild' ME/CFS have a significant loss of function. Fewer than 15% of people with ME/CFS are able to undertake paid work.

Last edited: 20 August, 2021