Most daily living skills, like preparing food and taking care of our bodies, need to be completed on a regular basis to maintain a good level of health and safety but, for some people, health conditions or physical and cognitive disabilities often cause difficulties with performing some or all daily living tasks.
From the benefits daily living skills bring to the individual to the rewarding effect it has on their social life and employability, learn all about the importance of developing daily living skills and the added independence they can bring for those living with disabilities.
What are daily living skills?
Daily living skills are the activities and habits that are necessary for leading an independent and social life. People who have disabilities may have difficulty developing these daily living skills for a variety of reasons.
Activities surrounding daily living skills include:
- Meal preparation
- Personal hygiene
- Home maintenance
- Money management
- Dressing and undressing
- Education and employment
- Home safety
- Health and medication management
- Socialising and recreation
Why are daily living skills important?
Mastering important tasks for daily living is essential to one’s wellbeing and will lead to more independence, social opportunities and self-care.
While it may take some time to learn certain skills, completing challenging tasks can raise confidence in your abilities. With each new daily living skill that’s acquired, you can feel proud of your accomplishment in increasing your ability and independence.
How to teach daily living skills?
Every person living with a disability is different, so the pace at which daily living skills should be taught varies from person to person. There is an endless number of life skills to learn which can be practiced both at home and in the community. Most people benefit from practical experience in daily living skills that will help them to increase independence.
To teach daily living skills, it’s best to use a three-step approach:
Assess the daily living skills needed: By assessing the essential needs and capabilities of an individual, you can identify areas of their life that could be improved by learning a new skillset.
Teach the daily living skills in a supportive way: Through information, activities, staying focused, and completing the necessary steps within a task, learners can begin developing their new daily living skills.
Practice the new daily living skills: To learn a new skill it’s essential to practice it in a realistic setting. This may mean learning a transportation route and the necessary steps for taking the bus at home, but to practice, you need to actually ride the bus.
Types of daily living skills
General life skills
Learning and practicing general life skills such as maintaining the cleanliness of your home, personal hygiene and good nutrition are useful skills and are a step in the right direction to develop independence and a sense of ownership over one’s life.
Interpersonal daily living skills
We use interpersonal skills every day when we communicate and interact with other people, both individually and in groups. Interpersonal skills involve using communication skills such as listening and speaking as well as using the ability to manage emotions.
Transport and travel skills
The ability to use public transportation without assistance is a great skill to possess. Learning how, where and when to take a taxi, bus or train will increase independence, along with providing increased opportunities for socialising and employment.
Financial management skills
Financial management is the ability to use your money efficiently to be able to afford everything that you need such as paying rent and bills, buying groceries and affording transportation without going over budget.
Getting help with daily living skills
ConnectAbility’s staff can work with you to develop your daily living skills so you can lead a more independent and fulfilling life. We recognise the issues you might face relating to social skills, sexuality, interpersonal relationships, regulation of emotions and personal safety. Our team is here to help you to overcome any obstacles that may be holding you back from your goals.