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Activities of Daily Living (also referred to as ADLs) is one of the three guidelines used for the definition of Total & Permanent Disability coverage in many life insurance policies in Singapore.  Furthermore, ElderShield and CareShield Life also adopts the same definition for severe disability. With this purpose in mind, let’s find out the six Activities of Daily Living in Singapore:

1. Washing

Washing refers to a person’s ability to wash in the bath or shower. In addition, this includes getting into and out of the bath or shower. In like manner, washing also takes into account whether the person is able to wash satisfactorily by other means.

2. Toileting

Toileting assesses a person’s ability to use the lavatory or otherwise manage the bowel and bladder functions. This is to maintain a satisfactory level of personal hygiene to this end.

3. Dressing

Dressing looks after a person’s ability to put on, take off, secure, and unfasten all garments. Whenever it is appropriate, dressing also includes any braces, artificial limbs, or other surgical or medical appliances.

4. Mobility

Mobility assesses a person’s ability to move indoors from room to room on level surfaces.

5. Transferring

On the other hand, transferring assesses a person’s ability to move from a bed to an upright chair or wheelchair, and vice versa.

6. Feeding

Finally, feeding takes into account a person’s ability to feed oneself after it has been prepared and made available.

How is ADLs used in Insurance Policy Contracts?

In general, there are four parts to fulfil in order to submit a claim for Total & Permanent Disability based on Activities of Daily Living.

  1. The Insured is not a juvenile;
  2. The event occurs on or after the policy anniversary occurring on or immediately following the Insured’s 65th birthday;
  3. The Insured is not capable to perform at least two of the above-mentioned six Activities of Daily Living. Moreover, this inability is despite the aid of special equipment. To this end, another person will always need to render physical assistance throughout the entire activity;
  4. Such disability must continue uninterrupted for at least six consecutive months. Additionally, there is no possibility of improvement for an indefinite time.
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All things considered, a Physician must confirm and certify the incapability in order to submit a claim for Total & Permanent Disability.


On the whole, Activities of Daily Living are everyday actions that we will almost take for granted. While we chase our goals, don’t forget to slow down and check our blind spots. After all, life insurance only attempts to solve the financial issues associated with a disability. On the contrary, our life will never be the same again.

Life insurance is like a parachute; if you don’t have it the first time you need it, there is no second chance. – Luis A. Ortiz Haddock

Thoughts of the Day 💭

  1. Should you get insurance coverage for Total & Permanent Disability?
  2. How much life insurance coverage do you have?
  3. When was your last insurance portfolio review?

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