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Home > Finding Care > Helpful Resources > Checklists > When in Doubt Seek a Professional Assessment

When in Doubt Seek a Professional Assessment

How to best serve your aging parent’s changing needs can be one of the toughest decisions you’ll have to make. If you’re having trouble figuring out what the next step should be, a geriatric care manager or care coordinator can help. They can perform a professional assessment of your parent’s or loved one’s quality of life. They can then make a recommendation that might help clarify what kind of care your parent needs now and how to plan for the future.

Cognitive/Mental Health

  • Has your parent been diagnosed with a mental or cognitive illness?
  • Are there symptoms of Alzheimer’s or other dementia or memory loss?
  • Does your loved one experience confusion or disorientation? Wander?
  • Does your parent still enjoy activities? Friends?
  • Describe your parent’s level of alertness.
  • Does your loved one experience mood swings?
  • Have there been changes in sleeping patterns?

Physical Health

  • Does your parent have any chronic diseases?
  • What symptoms does your parent experience? Any new symptoms?
  • Has your loved one recently been hospitalized? Reason? When? Length of stay? Prognosis?
  • How is your loved one’s mobility? Do they use a walker? A wheelchair? Is their current place of residence accessible?
  • When was the last dental appointment? Is there mouth pain? Can they chew their food?
  • Does your parent have vision problems?
  • Does your parent have hearing loss?

Activities of Daily Living

  • Does your loved one use or need to start using any adaptive devices?
  • What special dietary needs does your parent have?
  • Can your parent bathe or shower independently?
  • Do they need bathroom/toilet assistance?
  • Does your loved one need help getting dressed?
  • Does your parent need transferring to and from bed?
  • Do they need home or yard maintenance help?
  • Do they do their own shopping?
  • Is your parent still able to drive?


  • Do you have a list of all medications they are taking, including over-the-counter and herbal or homeopathic remedies?
  • Is your loved one able to manage taking the right medications at the right times?

Keeping up Appearances

  • Does your loved one need help with clothing care or choices?
  • Is your parent able to maintain personal hygiene?

Money Matters

  • What legal documents have been drawn? (will, durable power of attorney, living will, etc.)
  • Does your parent have insurance coverage?
  • Is there a comprehensive financial plan in place?
  • Does your parent have any assets? Own their home?
  • Is your loved one still able to manage expenses?

Current Home Safety and Comfort

  • Is the neighborhood safe? Does your parent know and like the neighbors?
  • Is the home and yard maintained for safety?
  • Does your parent have the ability to avoid fraud and scams?
  • Has the house been modified or remodeled to meet your parent’s changing needs?
  • Are there smoke alarms? (With strobe lights for the hearing impaired?)

Support System

  • What is the contact information for the family members? Do they live close by?
  • Are any family members available and willing to help with caregiving?
  • Who are your parent’s friends? Do they visit often?
  • Does your parent belong to a religious or social group?

Personal Interests

  • What does your parent enjoy? Include any social, physical, artistic, or relaxation activities.
  • Does your parent have a religious preference?
  • What were any past careers/volunteer work?