Daily Living Skills



Daily Living Skills


___ Bathe/Shower
___ Brush and Floss Teeth
___ Wash and Style Hair
___ Shave
___ Deodorant
___ Select appropriate clothing for weather and activities

Meal Preparation

___ Prepare food
___ Wash dishes
___ Turn off appliances when finished
___ Wipe off counters and sink
___ Prepare and store leftovers

Self Care

___ Take medications
___ Use a pill dispenser to keep up with your medications.
___ Keep a calendar next to your medication to mark off the days and times that you have taken your medication.
___ If, you miss a dose of medication do not attempt to make it up by taking double the amount. Continue with your regular medication schedule.
___ Check calendar for appointments

Pet Care

___ Feed Pet (fresh water and food)
___ Walk or spend time with pet

House Keeping

___ Make Bed
___ Pick up rooms
___ Take out garbage
___ Check Mail


___ Make sure all appliances are turned off when leaving the house.
___ Make sure that all doors are locked when leaving the house.
___ Read all the labels on your medications to ensure that you are taking the correct amount.
___ Call crisis line if you need help or feel you are in danger.
___ Keep all emergency phone numbers near the telephone.
___ Do not open door for individuals that you don’t know.
___ Do not give personal information out over the telephone to individuals that you don’t know.


Click here to download the above Daily Living Skills Form

Weekly Living Skills

Grocery Shopping

___ Plan meals for the week
___ Make grocery list and attach coupons
___ Purchase Groceries
___ Fill prescriptions


___ Read clothing labels for washing instructions and sort clothes by colors and washing instructions.
___ Read labels on laundry supplies
___ Wash and Dry clothes
___ Fold clothes
___ Put clothes away

House Cleaning

___ Dust furniture
___ Windex mirrors and glass surfaces
___ Wipe down kitchen counters and appliances
___ Clean bathtub and sink
___ Clean toilet
___ Vacuum carpet
___ Change and wash bed linens
___ Sweep and mop floors

Yard Maintenance

___ Cut grass
___ Trim bushes
___ Pull up weeds

Self Care

___ Establish weekly goals
___ Plan weekly activities (doctor’s appointments, meetings, leisure, social activities, etc.)


Click here to download the above Weekly Living Skills Form


Monthly Living Skills


___ Haircut


___ House payment
___ Electric
___ Gas
___ Phone
___ Insurance
___ Water
___ Savings for emergencies
___ Cable
___ Other ____________________
___ Other ____________________


___ Check smoke alarm batteries

House Cleaning

___ Clean out and wipe down refrigerator
___ Clean out oven and/or microwave
___ Change air conditioning and furnace filters


___ Make deposits
___ Balance Check book
___ Prepare Budget
___ Always keep your money in a safe place
___ If you have an individual that handles your money, always ask questions to make sure that your money is being handled correctly.

Click here to download the above Monthly Living Skills Form

Sometimes on our journey to recovery we forget to address our most basic needs, whether because of learned dependence on caregivers, a recent trauma, or an increase in troubling symptoms. Reviewing basic Daily Living Skills can help us get back on track.

Eating Right

Food is an important part of our life - it affects us in many areas:

  • Self Esteem: If we eat right we are healthier and look better.
  • Health: Eating right gives us more energy and makes us less likely to become ill.
  • Recreation: Eating is a pleasurable experience for most people.
  • Friendship: Eating together with friends and family binds us together.
  • Religion: Eating or not eating certain foods plays a part in some religions.
  • Money: Food is a major part of our budget and eating right includes eating within our budget.

What should you and your family eat every day?

Milk Group (2-4 servings per day)

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Ice cream

Meat Group (2-3 servings per day)

  • Meat
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Chicken
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Nuts

Vegetable Group (3-5 servings per day)

  • Salad
  • Raw and cooked vegetables
  • Vegetable juices

Fruit Group (2-4 sevings per day)

  • Fruit
  • Prepared fruit (applesauce, raisins)
  • Fruit juice (not fruit drink)

Grain Group (6-11 sevings per day)

  • Bread
  • Tortillas
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Crackers
  • Rolls
  • Pancakes/ waffles
  • Cold and hot cereal

Other (sparingly--as little as possible)

  • Oil
  • Salty snack foods
  • Soft drink
  • Baked goods
  • Candy
  • Sugar
  • Salad dressing

One of the most important parts of this plan is the meat. But, there are alternatives to using meat that are less expensive and still fulfill this requirement. Sometimes they are combinations of other foods, such as

  • cheese with pasta
  • peanut butter sandwich with milk
  • grilled cheese sandwich
  • beans and cornbread
  • cheese and rice
  • cheese and beans
  • beans and tortillas
  • cereal and milk

Steps in food Planning

Make Menus: The only way to make food dollars stretch to last the whole week (or month) is to plan your meals. This also allows you to make sure that you are meeting the nutritional guidelines above.
Write the days of the week across the top of the page. Write Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snacks along the side of the page. Now you can plan what you need to feed your family or yourself for the week. Remember that every day each person should have 2 dairy products, 2 meats, 3 vegetables, 2 fruits, 6 breads/cereals and limited sweets, fats and oils.

Make a Shopping List: Take your menu chart and use it to make a shopping list. Check the grocery ads and your coupons for special prices and adjust your menu accordingly. Be sure to add healthy snack foods so that you and your children aren't tempted to spend money on salty or sweet snack foods that are bad for you.

Shop with the List and Stick to It: Go shopping at a budget grocery if possible. Take your list and stick to it. Impulse buying is a good way to over-spend. Go shopping alone, if possible, so that you don't end up buying in response to the demands of the people (especially the children) who are with you. Don't go shopping when you are hungry - go when you are full so that you aren't tempted to buy everything that sounds good to you. Shop as seldom as possible - plan your meals for a long period and buy all the food you will need for that period at one time.

Compare Food Prices: Buy generic foods and store brands whenever possible -- they are usually much cheaper than brand name foods and generally of the same quality. Look at the labels and compare prices. The easiest way to do this is by the unit price - not by the price of the item. This is because you can't really compare the cost of items if they come in different sizes. The unit price is displayed on the price tag that is ON THE SHELF - not on the item. Usually the biggest number on this tag is the price of the item. However, to the left of this is a number called the unit price - the price per pound, per ounce, per foot, etc. - it doesn't really matter what the unit is because you are just going to compare one item's unit cost with another's. Often the larger size of something -- even the same brand - has a smaller unit price, so it is cheaper to buy. Store brands and generic brands usually have a cheaper unit price than brand names.

Look for Quality Food: Look for produce that is not bruised and that is fresh. Open the carton to make sure that eggs are not broken. Check to make sure that bags or boxes don't have holes in them (unless you are buying at a discount from a damaged goods shelf!). Also, packaged foods are now required to have nutrition labels so that you can check and compare whether or not they have too much fat, salt, or sugar, or cholesterol and that you are getting enough protein, fiber, etc.

Use Coupons Sparingly: Coupons may be OK if they are for foods that you would be buying anyway. But often they are not. They are generally for brand name foods which, even with coupons, will be more expensive than generics and store brands. And they can tempt you to purchase prepared and other foods that are costly (prepared foods cost many, many times more than the ingredients you would have to buy to prepare them yourself). So it doesn't usually pay to spend too much time collecting coupons.


Prevention: Household

The Dangers of Fire
Each year in the United States, more people die in fires than all other natural disasters combined. The National Fire Protection Association reports that fires kill more than 5,000 Americans and injure more than 300,000 yearly.

The majority of home fires are caused by smoking, highly flammable liquids and objects, heating and electrical problems, children, and cooking. The majority of fires and resulting deaths occur in homes where there are no working smoke detectors.
While the dangers of fire are very real and very frightening, there’s a lot you can do to protect yourself, your home and your family.

Again, taking a few precautions around your home can greatly reduce the risk of fires. Here are some quick tips to help keep your home a safe place:

  • Store and use matches, lighters, and candles carefully.

    Be sure to keep matches and lighters away from young children and from adults with mental or developmental disabilities. Store them in a cool, dry place away from heat sources (such as stoves or heaters) that could accidentally ignite them. Don’t light matches or burn candles around flammable objects (objects that can catch on fire) such as newspapers, cardboard boxes, or curtains. Avoid burning candles near an open window or breeze that could spread a fire, and never leave candles burning unattended.


  • Store and use flammable liquids carefully.

    If possible, store flammable liquids, such as paints, paint thinners, and gasoline, at least 30 feet away from your home (for example, in outdoor sheds or detached garages.) If you don’t have access to outside storage, store in well-sealed containers in a cool, dry place away from electricity and heat sources. Never use flammable materials (including things like aerosol cans and nail polish remover) around fire or lit cigarettes.


  • Use caution around fireplaces and wood stoves.

    Don’t stand too close to a fireplace or wood stove. You could get burned or your clothes could catch fire. If you have an open fireplace or stove, make sure it has a screen to protect you (and the surrounding furniture) from sparks. Don’t stack flammable things like newspapers, bags, or even firewood too close to a fireplace or stove and never leave a fire unattended. If you are using your fireplace on a regular basis, make sure you have your chimney professionally cleaned every year.


  • Never put anything over a lamp, like clothes or a blanket.

    Lamps, especially halogen lamps, can give off enough heat to ignite flammable objects. Be sure your lamps have fire-resistant lampshades and are a safe distance from flammable objects. Also be sure that the light bulbs you use are the correct wattage for your lamp or lampshade; if the wattage is too high it can start a fire.


  • Have multiple, safe and easy-to-use exits to your home.
    Be sure that exits such as doors and windows aren’t blocked and can be opened easily. If you have safety features such as deadbolts and security bars, be sure that these are in good condition and can be opened easily by people inside the home.


  • Check old lampshades, curtains, mattresses and other household objects to make sure they meet fire- resistance standards.

    While there’s no need to throw out family antiques, sometimes older objects do not meet newer fire standards. For example, the United States Fire Administration recommends replacing mattresses made before 1973, because they did not have same fire standards as today. Other experts recommend using antique lamps and shades for decoration only or with very low-wattage, low- heat light bulbs. Visit the United States Fire Administration Web site for more information.


  • Check appliances and electrical cords regularly.

    Nothing lasts forever, so regularly check appliance wires when the item is in use. Cords and plugs for appliances should not feel hot when in use.


  • Keep at least three feet between heaters and anything can burn.

    Keep objects like furniture, bedding and clothing away from radiators and space heaters. Do not leave space heaters on when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep. Not only are they fire hazards, they can also cause carbon monoxide poisoning.


  • Maintain your heating system.

    Whether you have central heating, gas, or electric, make sure that your heating system is maintained, cleaned and checked yearly.


More fires start in the kitchen than anywhere else in the home - but that doesn’t mean you have to get rid of your stove or eat out all the time. There’s a lot you can do to help fireproof your kitchen and reduce the chances of a fire starting from cooking.
Both gas and electric stoves can cause fires, as can toasters, toaster ovens, and any electrical appliance that can overheat. Be sure to follow the instructions when using your appliances.

Here are some quick tips to help keep your kitchen a safe place.

  • Don’t store things on top of, in, or around your oven.

    Keep flammable things like dish towels, paper bags, or cereal boxes, away from your stove. Don’t use your oven as ‘extra storage’ for flammable things like paper or plastic bags, plastic containers, or dishtowels. Even if you don’t turn the oven on, the pilot light can ignite objects inside.


  • Turn pot handles toward the center of the stove when cooking on the stovetop.

    Pots and handles should never hang over the edge of the stove where someone could bump into them. This is one of the major causes of serious burns in children and elderly people.


  • Don’t leave cooking unattended.

    It only takes a minute for a fire to get out of hand. Don’t leave things cooking on the stovetop unattended and check regularly on the things cooking in the oven.


  • Use caution when cooking and handling hot objects.

    Avoid wearing clothes with long, loose-fitting sleeves that may catch fire easily. Use potholders (as opposed to rags, that may catch fire) when moving any hot object. This includes objects coming out of the microwave - even ‘microwave-safe’ dishes can get extremely hot.


  • Keep cooking appliances free of food crumbs and scraps.

    Clean your stovetop, oven and toaster regularly to prevent leftover pieces of food from catching on fire. But remember, use caution when cleaning your appliances -- unplug any electrical appliances and follow the cleaning instructions closely to avoid electrocution.


  • Keep electrical appliances away from water and fire.

    Try to plug in your appliances and keep electrical cords as far away as possible from water hazards, like the sink, or fire hazards, like the stovetop.


  • Don’t try to put out grease or electrical fires with water, this will only make them worse!

    Adding water to a grease fire can make it spread. Adding water to an electrical fire can cause electrocution. Thus it’s important to have at least one type of fire extinguisher in your kitchen. The section on Fire Extinguishers, later in this course, will describe different extinguishers in more detail. But one of the simplest and cheapest extinguishers available is baking soda. Keep a box next to your stove to throw on stovetop fires.


  • Use your stove only as directed.

    If you have a gas stove and smell gas (beyond a burnt-out pilot light), turn off all burners, open windows for better ventilation and call your gas company. Be cautious when relighting pilot lights: make sure the room is well ventilated and use long-stemmed matches or lighters. Never use your stove (electric or gas) to heat the room.


Don’t use electrical cords or appliances that have exposed, old, or otherwise faulty wiring.
In particular, watch out for electrical blankets and space heaters with bad/old wiring. If your home is more than thirty years old, you may want to have an electrician check the internal wiring to ensure that it meets the National Electrical Code. For more information, visit the National Fire Protection Association, Inc.

  • Don’t place electrical cords under rugs or fasten them with things like nails or staples.

    While loose electrical cords can be another kind of safety hazard (who hasn’t tripped or gotten caught on one at some point in their life?), ‘tricks’ to keep them out of the way can sometimes do more harm than good. Cords that are ‘hidden’ under rugs become damaged more quickly from the weight of people walking on them; in addition, people are less likely to notice the damage because they are hidden away. Similarly, fastening cords with staples or nails can potentially cause electrocution (in the process) or expose live wires.


  • Don’t put anything but a plug into an electrical outlet.

    With the exception of safety covers to protect small children, the only thing you should put in your electrical socket should be an electrical cord. Sticking anything else into a socket can lead to fire or electrocution (especially if the object is metal.) You should be cautious even when plugging in an appropriate electrical cord and be sure not to touch the metal prongs in the process.


  • Don’t put too many plugs in an electrical outlet.

    Drawing too much energy from one electrical outlet can cause you to lose electricity or (far worse) start an electrical fire. You may also want to consider buying a surge protector to protect expensive equipment (like computers, TVs, and stereos) from electrical surges, which can cause damage. Heavy current appliances such as stoves, hot water heaters, electric dryers, etc. should be on separate circuit breakers or fuses because they draw a lot of current.


  • Turn off lights, stereos, TVs and other electrical equipment when you are finished using them.

    Save energy, money, and be safe all at the same time! Consider gradually switching to long-lasting compact florescent bulbs for your lamps. Although more expensive than the conventional bulbs, they last years and use less energy.


  • Don’t try to ‘fix’ electrical appliances or wiring yourself.

    Unless you are a licensed electrician, don’t try to fix your home wiring or appliances, even if it seems straightforward. Use caution when working around electrical outlets or sources (such as light fixtures), to avoid exposing yourself to or damaging live electrical wires.


Only use grills outdoors in flat, open spaces. Never use a grill indoors. Make sure your grill is at least 10 feet away from your house or any building and not underneath a porch, tree branches, or any other covering that could catch fire. Make sure it’s on a stable, level surface so it won’t tip over.

  • Never leave a grill unattended while lit or hot.

    Make sure your grill is completely extinguished and cool before leaving. Keep an extinguisher nearby, in case the fire gets out of hand.


  • Make sure your grill is in good shape and follow the manufacturers’ instructions.

    If you have a gas grill, make sure that the hoses are clear and in good condition, and check the tank for leaks prior to starting the grill.


  • Light grills properly and keep flammable objects away from grills.

    Keep lit cigarettes, matches, or open flames away from gas grills. With charcoal fires, use a charcoal lighter fluid (not gas or kerosene, which can explode.) Once a charcoal fire is started, never add additional lighting fluid to the grill. Make sure you have oven mitts that are made to resist fire, along with long-handled utensils to use when cooking or handling the grill.


  • Never go near downed power or telephone lines.

    These lines can have very strong electrical currents running through them. If you notice an electrical or telephone line has been damaged, immediately contact your local utility company. Also, make sure others within the area are warned of this danger, especially children.


  • Don’t light fires or burn leaves without checking burn regulations.

    Most areas only allow you to burn things outside during certain times. If the weather has been particularly dry, avoid lighting any outdoor fires. Be sure you have a way (water hose, fire extinguisher, or bucket of sand) to put out a fire before lighting it. If the region is dry, don’t light a fire at all. Always check with a ranger before lighting a campfire or the local fire department before burning leaves, twigs or other things outdoor. You can be fined or even put in jail if you light a fire illegally. And remember, never leave an outdoor fire unattended!


  • Store firewood, flammable liquids, etc. at least 30 feet from your home.

    Make sure they aren’t near other heat or electrical sources. Be particularly careful with flammables in hot weather.

Smoke Detectors

Fires can spread very quickly, so every second is important. Smoke detectors can give you extra time to escape a fire by alerting you if there’s a fire somewhere else in your home or apartment building, waking you up if a fire starts while you are asleep, or by detecting a fire before you are even able to see flames or smell smoke.

Most smoke alarms alert you by making a loud beeping or ringing noise. However, people with hearing impairments or visual impairments can purchase alarms that alert them with a strobe light or vibrating pad. If your smoke alarm goes off, you want to follow your home escape plan and get out of your house or apartment as quickly as possible.

Smoke Detector Tips:

  • Every home should have at least one working smoke detector.

    If you rent, your landlord is required to have working smoke alarms in your apartment or house. If you own, you should make sure your apartment or home has several working fire alarms.


  • Test smoke alarms monthly to make sure they are working.

    There’s no point in having a smoke alarm if it’s not working. Checking your smoke alarm will also let you know what it sounds like when it goes off.


  • Replace old batteries with brand new ones at least once a year.

    Some alarms run on batteries, which can wear out, so you want to check them regularly. You may also want to purchase a smoke alarm that runs off of two power sources, in case one fails (for example, one that plugs into an electrical outlet and has a back-up battery.)


  • Put smoke alarms in prominent areas.

    Put smoke alarms near bedrooms (where your family will be able to hear when sleeping); in or near kitchens (although not right over the stove, as steam from dishes may cause the alarm to go off); and in non-frequented places like the attic or basement. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one smoke detector on each level of your house or apartment.


  • Keep smoke alarms clean from dust and clear of obstacles.
  • A smoke alarm needs to be able to detect the heat or smoke in a room.

    It will be less likely to do this and less sensitive to changes in the home if it is covered or dirty. Never place objects over or around your smoke alarms and dust them regularly by running a vacuum cleaner attachment over and around them.


Fire extinguishers can put a quick end to small fires or clear the way for you to reach safety in the case of larger ones. They’re lifesavers that don’t cost much, so there’s not reason not to have several in your house. You can purchase extinguishers at most drug, hardware, and general stores.

  • Put fire extinguishers in easily accessible spots around the house.
    Put extinguishers in places where fires are more likely to occur, like the kitchen or basement, and in places where they can make a difference in escaping a fire, like bedrooms and near stairs or exits. Be sure that everyone in your family is able to reach, and knows how to use, your extinguishers. (With the exception of small children who may be tempted to use them as toys.)


  • Know how to use your extinguisher.

    Read the operating instructions on the label, and examine the extinguisher thoroughly before buying it to make sure you have selected the extinguisher you need and that you understand how to use it.


  • Check the pressure on your extinguisher.

    Unlike smoke detectors, extinguishers should not be tested, this causes them to lose pressure and be less effective. Most household extinguishers should have a gauge, which indicates if they are still operable. Try to make it a habit to check this gauge every six months.


  • Avoid damage to your extinguisher.

    Do not store at high temperatures or near heat sources. Throw away the extinguisher if it has been damaged in any way.


Daily Living Skills / Riding the Bus (or Subway) 

Getting Organized to Ride

1. Get a map of bus/subway lines.

2. Get a bus/subway schedule.

3. Learn where the nearest bus stop is and what lines come to it.

4. Check the price of the bus or subway so that you will have the correct amount. If you are going to use the system often, check on the price of a monthly pass. Count up how many trips you are likely to take in a month (Example: You ride the bus to and from work five days per week. It costs $1.00 each way. You would be spending $2.00 per day or $40.00 per month. A monthly pass costs $35.00. Therefore, you would save $5.00 per month by buying a pass.)

5. Check to see if children ride free and at what age they have to start paying.

Riding the Bus

1. Learn the address you are going to and the address you are returning to.

2. Plan your bus route using the map or by calling the bus/subway information line.

3. Arrive at the stop in plenty of time.

4. When you get on the bus, ask for a transfer if you are going to have to transfer to another line.

5. If you're not sure what your destination looks like, ask the driver to let you know when you get there BUT DON'T REL Y ON THE DRIVER, entirely. Watch the street signs. About a block before you reach your destination, signal the driver (by pulling the signal cord above the seat, pressing the signal pad on the side of the bus, etc.) The bus driver will only let you out at a bus stop.

Riding the Subway

1. Check on a map to discover the subway stop that is closest to where you are going.

2. Using the route map, figure out which train(s) you will have to take to get to that point. . Make note of where you may have to change from one train to another.

3. Enter the station and, if it is not clearly marked, ask an attendant which train you' take and in which direction.

4. Pay the fare in the appropriate manner.

5. Subways and trains make regular stops at certain stations. Usually the name of the station is written on the wall of the station, or on a sign. Watch the signs to look for your station and exit


Problem Solving