Better Caregiving Comes from a Daily Needs Assessment Checklist

Providing senior caregiving can be overwhelming at times. You may not know where to begin, trying to meet every need in an effective way.  Often it’s necessary to take a hard look at declining abilities and go from there. Fortunately, there are tools available to help you formulate a game plan — Health Care New York presents a guide to get you started below.


In order to offer the best possible help, it’s important to make a thorough evaluation of your loved one’s abilities.  By gauging the areas where assistance is required, you can provide effective and appropriate care.  The University of Michigan Medical School suggests reviewing your senior’s ability to perform certain tasks independently, including two general areas:

Activities of Daily Living (ADL), the basic essentials of independent living. This includes:

  • Bathing
  • Dressing
  • Transferring (moving from one position to another, such as from lying in bed to standing)
  • Grooming
  • Feeding

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL), items that may require services for independent living. This includes:

  • Self-administration of medications
  • Shopping for groceries
  • Meal preparation
  • Telephone use
  • Driving and transportation
  • Handling finances
  • Housekeeping
  • Laundry

Simple solutions

Communicate with your loved one in-depth about how much help is needed in performing both ADL and IADL tasks.  By carefully assessing each area, you can determine ways to help your loved one remain independent.  Sometimes uncomplicated lifestyle alterations can help your older people remain independent longer.

Some professionals advise simple solutions like improved lighting.  Just leaving more lights on, using brighter bulbs, adding lights where rooms and hallways are dim, and adding nightlights can improve safety for many seniors.  Also, decluttering walkways, broadening floor space by moving or removing furniture, and eliminating sharp objects can reduce risks.  If you are concerned, your loved one may wander off; adding a deadbolt higher or lower than normal on a door can help.  Another option is putting a large piece of furniture in front of the door to hinder access, or you can try hanging a curtain over the door to disguise it.  You may want to consider investing in a tracking device if your senior has a history of getting lost.  Sometimes a little creativity can resolve serious risks!

Assistive technology

According to some studies, there is great benefit in enlisting technology to help your loved one remain independent.  Using simple devices such as PocketBuddy can help your senior communicate with a sort of journaling program.  Users record their days and remark about how successful they feel.  Another option can be adding voice-operated internet devices for controlling thermostats, turning on and off lights, listening to music, and reading books.  Users improve not only safety and independence but add more accessible entertainment to their lives.

High risk

Bathrooms, in particular, can be a serious danger zone for seniors.  Approximately 80 percent of falls take place in the bathroom, according to…  People over the age of 85 suffer over half of their injuries near the toilet.  The riskiest activities are showering, bathing, and getting in and out of the bathtub or shower.

There are some terrific options for bathroom-related risks, such as grab bars that can be colored for added visibility and raised toilets.  Shower seats and roll-in showers are also great options to explore.  However, make sure you outsource any plumbing-related tasks to professionals with plenty of experience.  Search for local plumbing companies online and read through reviews to make sure the plumber you select can handle the job.

Assessment provides answers

When providing care for a senior, making a thorough evaluation is key in offering good care.  Assessing your loved one’s abilities gives you a foundation for effectively meeting needs.  With creative and proactive solutions, you can keep your loved one safe and independent.


Ted James