WHAT IS AN ASSESSMENT?

As loved ones age they face challenges that family members may not know how to address. One way to help determine the need of assistance, is through an assessment.

What Is an Assessment? 
An assessment is a comprehensive review of a person’s mental, physical, environmental and financial condition. This helps establish the ability to remain safely independent and identifies risks.

The Goal of Assessment
An assessment should result in a plan for meeting needs and addressing problems. Assessment results may help your loved one decide moving or home care service are necessary for their safety and well-being. A good plan can mean fewer accidents and illnesses, a longer life, improved quality of life and greater independence. It is important to include your loved one in the discussion and decision-making about their options once the assessment is complete to help them feel more comfortable with the outcome.

How to Assess
Families can conduct assessments on their own but may want to hire an experienced professional to lead them through this process. Home Care Partners of Nebraska can help lead your family through this process. We will discuss the results with your family and  and offer practical assistance, such as caregiver services and housing options.

What to Assess
Professional assessments can take time depending on the level of care needed. All assessments should include a thorough review of every aspect in your loved one’s life. See the Assessment Checklist below for more details.

If you’re doing an assessment on your own, use this list as a guide provided by the AARP. Explore as many of these areas as you can to get a full picture of your loved one’s life.

Physical Health

  • Make note of these factors; you may need the help of your loved one’s doctor.

  • Diagnosis of any chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, emphysema, or stroke.

  • Unusual weight loss or gain in a short amount of time.

  • Incontinence.

  • Balance problems: How steady is the person while walking?

  • Persistent fatigue or sleeplessness.

  • Swollen feet or legs, or limping.

  • Vision problems such as cataracts or use of vision aids.

  • Hearing problems: Is there a need for a hearing aid? If there is one, is it being worn? 

  • Dental problems including gum disease, halitosis and ill-fitting dentures. 

  • Complaints of pain.

  • List of health professionals being seen. 

Mental Health

  • Make note of these factors; a primary care doctor can help, but a geriatric psychiatrist or neurologist might be more helpful.

  • Diagnosis of any psychiatric disorders such as depression, anxiety disorder or psychosis.

  • Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia

  • Recent hospitalizations for any of these problems.

  • Mood swings, including rage or hostility.

  • Forgetfulness or wandering off.

  • Sadness or loneliness.

  • Decreased interest in reading, writing and communicating.

  • Difficulty in maintaining friends.

  • Decreased interest in life.

Medication Use

  • List all medicines taken, prescription or over-the-counter, with frequency and dosage.

  • List all herbal remedies, supplements, traditional home remedies or vitamins being used.

  • Is the person able to take medications as directed and avoid interactions?

  • Are there any barriers to proper medicine use, such as forgetfulness, expense, poor understanding of purpose and results of use?

 

Daily Living

  • List special dietary needs and favorite foods.

  • Describe ability to dress, bathe, get up from a chair, use the toilet, use the phone, climb stairs, get help in an emergency, shop, prepare meals, do housework and yard work, and drive safely.

Home and Community Safety

  • Consider neighborhood safety. 

  • Consider home safety: Are there throw rugs? A need for handrails in the bathroom? Does the residence have working smoke alarms?

  • Is the person able to avoid telephone and door-to-door fraud?

  • What level of maintenance do the yard and house require?

 

Support System 

  • Know contact information for key family members, friends, neighbors and clergy.

  • Does the person have visitors or is he or she able to visit friends and family?

  • Does the person visit a senior center for activities?

  • List membership in organizations and groups.

Appearance and Hygiene
Factors to assess:

  • Personal hygiene.

  • Overall appearance.

  • Oral care.Trimmed nails.

  • Well showered and shaven.

  • Combed hair.

  • Clean clothes.

  • Appropriately dressed for weather and occasion.

 

Finances
Factors to assess:

  • Insurance coverage.

  • Long-term care coverage.

  • Total assets.

  • Legal documents including trusts, living wills and durable powers of attorney.

  • Is there an attorney who knows this person?  

Interests & Lifestyle

  • Hobbies.

  • Reading preferences: Are glasses or larger-print books needed? Would books on tape be enjoyable?

  • Favorite TV and radio programs.

  • Exercise — gardening and walking count!

  • Musical instruments played.

  • Languages spoken, and is there a preferred language?

  • Favorite conversation topics.

  • Travel experience.

  • Important life events.

  • Religious/spiritual background.

  • Accomplishments.

  • Social activities.

Thanks! Message sent.

Need assistance in completing an assessment for a loved one?

 Let us assist you and your family.

Fill out the Contact Form below or Call Us at 402-780-1211.