Have Things Changed? A Self-Assessment for Care Needs

By Charlene Neu, Mature Caregivers

It will only take a moment to appreciate the chance to spend time with the older members of your family. It’s a chance to reconnect and to get a sense of any changes in their lives. It's also helpful to understand if their care needs may have changed since the last time you saw them. As a simple, non-comprehensive tool, use this checklist to help assess change and taking a more in-depth caregiving needs assessment or contacting a Family Advisor using the form on the right-hand side of the page.


  1. Stop, look, and take note. But don’t jump to conclusions immediately.
  2. What’s different How does the house look? Is it messy? Lots of laundry? Has the trash gone out in a timely manner?since the last time you were there?
  3. Eating too little, or too much? Check out the fridge. Is there spoiled or outdated food items? Or, is there nothing at all except for mustard and ketchup?
  4. Medications—more, less, or none at all. Medication adherence is important. Are the medications being taken? Are they being taken correctly?
  5. Is the house safe for walking around? Check for mobility issues or fall risks.
    1. Are there too many loose area rugs that can cause sliding and falls?
    2. Are there grab bars in the shower and bathroom in case?
    3. Is there wall or furniture walking?
    4. Frequent sitting down and resting?
  6. How does the car look? Is the inside of the car littered with bags, debris, or cups? Is there visible damage on the outside of the car?
  7. Is regular mail or voicemail piling up? Ask if there’s a difficulty with retrieving messages or opening and reading the mail.
  8. Talk to the neighbors. Have they noticed anything different?
  9. Talk to your loved one. Is the way that you talk to each other different?
  10. What about Fido or Tigger? If there’s a pet in the house, is it being cared for daily?

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