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activities of daily living, Alzheimer disease, attention



  1. Kaplan, Lillian R. MA, OTR
  2. Foldi, Nancy S. PhD


This article examines ways in which activities of daily living (ADL) are used clinically to assess persons with Alzheimer disease (AD). First, we consider 3 perspectives used to classify ADL: tasks categorized by their environment, tasks defined by performer skill, and a resource-based perspective that integrates environment and performer conditions. Second, we discuss requirements of ADL in the context of pathological and neuropsychological processes in AD. We propose that patterns of functional decline occurring early in AD are shaped by impairments of attention and that models characterizing ADL must take attentional skills into consideration.