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Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)

What are Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)?

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL’s) are activities related to living independently in the community. These activities could include creating a schedule, using the phone, preparing meals, shopping, money management, and cleaning the house. IADLs require problem-solving, organizational, and executive functioning skills. These skills involve remembering key information to complete a task, adjusting to unexpected changes, and understanding how you are doing at the moment. 

Activities to Improve IADL’s:

  • Complete simple meals 

  • Prepare 3-4 step meals such as mac ‘n' cheese or a sandwich

  • Follow this link to access visual step-by-step recipes for common meals

  • Play money management games

  • Practice identifying coin value and dollar amounts with a board game such as Monopoly

  • Use an app to organize daily tasks

  • Use Google Calendar or the iPhone calendar to set alarms and reminders for upcoming doctor appointments, medication times, chores, meetings, or events 

  • Grocery shopping

  • Practice creating a grocery list and finding each of the items in the local grocery store 

  • Roleplay phone conversations

  • Create a story with pictures to practice how to have conversations on the phone and who to call during emergencies

Consider reading more about instrumental activities of daily living with these evidence-based resources.


Auld, C., Foley, K. R., & Cashin, A. (2022). Daily living skills of autistic adolescents and young adults: A scoping review. Australian Occupational Therapy Journal, 69(4), 456-474.

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