You must accept the inevitable: You, your parents, and every other human being on earth will eventually grow old. And, with aging, comes the increased need for additional care and support for those who opt to stay in their home. If you’re feeling that you, or a loved one, may benefit from receiving assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), it is important to perform a senior care needs assessment.
A senior care needs assessment in relation to patients’ unique needs for home care services is generally performed by family members or, on occasion, licensed caregivers. As we age, living alone becomes increasingly difficult, and often becomes worrisome for everyone involved.
In this care assessment, we will discuss the various categories and questions you’ll need to cover when conducting a senior care needs assessment at home. Once you’ve gone through the following steps with your senior loved one, you should be able to confidently determine what types of assistance your senior will need, and how to perform a care needs assessment at home.
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What is a Senior Care Needs Assessment?
When it comes to senior care, the most effective approach is to have an accurate picture of what areas are lacking, and would therefore benefit from home care assistance.
Also known as an in-home care assessment, these evaluations are essential prior to hiring home care services for seniors. The assessment provides family members and future caregivers alike, the opportunity to tailor services in order to meet each client’s specific care concerns and challenges. A senior care needs assessment should be performed before determining the best plan of action.
That being said, discussing in-home care and senior living options with an elderly loved one can be a difficult task. When a parent is no longer able to live alone, it often causes the child to develop feelings of stress and anxiety. Constantly worrying about an aging parent’s safety and happiness can feel like a heavy burden.
Although reversing the parent child responsibility roles may be tough, the best solution is to find help by making new, more appropriate, living arrangements.
What to Include in an Assessment:
- A detailed and complete list of the senior’s current medications and their purpose
- A summary of the seniors’ medical history
- Physical abilities (Current)
- Cognitive abilities (Current)
- Social involvement (Current)
- Home safety issues
- A comprehensive list of all the medical professionals and doctors the senior is currently seeing, and what each is treating the senior for
- Detailed summary of the seniors’ current situation, and any actions that can be taken to meet short and long-term care goals and objectives
As every individual has their own set of challenges, there may be more points you’ll want to add to the checklist above. However, we’ve provided a foundation for you to work with – as each of the topics listed are required points of discussion when performing a home care needs assessment.
Areas to Review for a Care Assessment
When you’re conducting a care needs assessment, it is crucial that you take the time to understand all of the areas that must be addressed.
Below, you will find a list of areas to evaluate, including questions to consider when performing the care assessment:
- Medications – Does the individual have a good routine system set in place for managing medications? Do they clearly understand the purpose for taking each of their medications? Is there any confusion about how, and when, the pills should be taken (with food/without food)? Are any of their medications expired? Do they consistently remember to refill their prescriptions? Does remembering to dose their medications present any problems? Are there any unpleasant side effects associated with taking their medications?
- Home Safety – Does the home currently present any danger of falls? Are there safety features installed in the bathroom (grab bars, shower bench, etc.)? Is there an unsafe amount of clutter in the home?
- Mental Status – Is the individual having trouble remembering things? Do they present any signs of difficulty making decisions? If so, be sure to contact a neurologist as soon as possible, to have the individual diagnosed.
- Nutrition – Do they keep an adequate amount of food in their home? Is the food properly stored? Is the food in the refrigerator fresh? How often are they able to go grocery shopping? Do all the kitchen appliances work and function properly? Does the individual have any health issues or lack of stamina that may make meal preparation difficult?
- Bill Paying – Is the person still capable of managing financial affairs? Have the bills been paid in a timely manner? Would an automated payment option be possible on some, if not all, of their bills?
- Mobility – Is the person able to walk steadily? Does the individual have a difficult time getting in and out of a chair or the bed? The majority of emergency room and hospital visits for seniors occur as a result of an accident within their home.
- Driving – If the individual is still driving, can they do so competently? If they are still driving, is it possible to arrange a time to go on a few errands with them, to observe their driving abilities behind the wheel? Should you find the person’s driving to be a risk, consider having his/her driving evaluated by a professional.
- Isolation – How much contact does the individual have with others? Are there people who interact with him/her on a regular basis? Is there anyone who would be available to “check in” regularly to monitor how things are going?
- Cash Flow – Is managing money a problem? Would you consider the individual “at risk” for financial abuse? Should access to finances by restricted or monitored to limit potential exploitation?
- Legal Paperwork – Does the individual have a will or trust? Have they completed the assignment of Powers of Attorney for themselves? Are you the one who’s designated as agent or surrogate decision maker for the individual? Where do you keep those documents, and, are they kept safe?
These topics need to be discussed with the individual as you are performing a senior care needs assessment.
Most Seniors Lack Proper Care in the Following Areas
It is important to be aware of the areas where seniors struggle the most. Once you’re aware of weak areas, you’ll be able to provide assistance and fill in any gaps where necessary. Below, you’ll find a list of the areas most commonly neglected by seniors:
- Access to needed senior care services
- Shopping for personal items/groceries
- Financial responsibility
Tables to Fill In for Assessment
Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
Conditions & Functional Status
(How do the following affect the person’s ability to function?)