Aging is a fact of life, and for many older adults, there comes a time when they can no longer look after themselves as they once did. Often, the adult children are left to determine when that time comes, and it can be a challenging period for both kids and parents. In this article, we help you learn how to assess your aging parent’s needs at home and highlight warning signs to look out for.

How to Assess Your Aging Parent’s Needs at Home

There are many things to consider when you’ve decided to care for an aging parent. It can be overwhelming to remember everything you should be doing and accounting for when you take on this responsibility.

Some points to consider when caring for your parents:

  • Clarify caregiving with your family. Put in writing family members’ caregiving roles, and stick to it.
  • Don’t forget about pets. Decide what to do with their pets if your parents need to move.
  • Explore various care options. Find out about in-home care, personal care homes and senior living.
  • Meet with your parents’ doctors regularly. Keep informed and make adjustments in their care needs.


A good elder care checklist should include a look at your parents’ finances. Getting their affairs in order is important. Here are some things to watch for:

Check into Financial Help

Investigate public benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance, Supplemental Security Income, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and veterans’ benefits.

Examine Insurance and Retirement Plans

See if your parent has disability coverage, life insurance, long-term care insurance, pension benefits and workplace health insurance. See if they cover home health visits, mental health services, physical therapy, skilled nursing or other short-term assistance.

Explore the Family and Medical Leave Act

As a caregiver, you may be entitled to take a leave of absence of up to 12 weeks under the Family and Medical Leave Act. Find tax breaks. Federal tax deductions may be available for many health care costs, including acquiring a hospital bed or wheelchair; hiring a part-time or short-term home health aide to provide respite for the main caregiver; paying for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by health insurance; and remodeling the home to make it accessible.

Health and Medical

Understanding your parents’ health problems and medical needs is key to caring for them. Work with your parents to do the following:

  • Connect with your parents’ doctors: Complete paperwork at each provider’s office so you can view and discuss medical conditions and records.
  • Escort your parents to their medical appointments: Get a clear understanding of any chronic health conditions and the results of visits and tests. This will help you plan for their needs.
  • Monitor your parents’ medications: Check that they’re taking their pills, and schedule all refills for the same day each month to make it easier. Find out about autofill options.


While your parents are relatively healthy, take care of their legal issues. Use this caring for aging parents’ checklist to help you remember to:

  • Become an authorized user on your parents’ accounts: This will allow you to pay your parents’ bills if they are no longer able to.
  • Collect your parents’ documents: Organize them into easy-to-use files. Important papers include:
    • Birth certificate
    • Citizenship papers
    • Death certificate of a spouse or parent
    • Deeds to cemetery plots
    • Deeds to property
    • Divorce decree
    • Insurance policies
    • Marriage certificate
    • Military discharge papers
    • Pension benefits
  • Help your parents with legal documents: They will need a will and an advance care directive. Have them grant you a general power of attorney so you can make decisions if they become incapable themselves.
  • Meet with an elder law specialist: These lawyers can help you sort out common concerns, such as seeking guardianship of your parents, managing their money, and planning strategies to protect their assets.

Parents’ Wishes

Talk to your parents about their values and wishes as soon as you can. Before dementia and other illnesses cloud the issue, get clarity on what they expect as they grow older. Don’t avoid this difficult but necessary discussion. Among the things to ask them:

  • Have you thought about how you want to be remembered?
  • If you are no longer able to do the things you once enjoyed or take care of yourself, what is most important to you?
  • If you have a life-threatening illness, what sort of medical care do you want?
  • If you have dementia, do you want doctors to focus on life-saving measures or comfort measures?
  • What are your fears about growing older?
  • What do your final arrangements look like?
  • What does a good end look like to you? Do you want to be in a hospital with doctors doing all they can, or resting at home?


Seniors face physical challenges as they age, from the dangers of falling to the failing memories associated with dementia. Here are some areas to consider:

  • Find out about your parents’ particular risks: Coordinate with their doctors to help your parents avoid falls and other dangers.
  • Meet with a geriatric care coordinator: Have them assess home safety and develop a plan to install home modifications such as grab bars, shower chairs, and stair lifts.
  • Invest in monitoring technology: An alarm or security camera can alert you if an older person is wandering away, while a necklace or bracelet with GPS can help you track their location.

Assess the Needs of Your Aging Parents and Take Stock of Your Skills

Any good guide on how to cope with taking care of an elderly person will tell you that taking on too much too soon will overwhelm you. That’s why one of the most essential things to do is assess your aging parent’s needs. This will allow you to be realistic about what you can provide. Whatever gaps are left can be filled with programs, benefits, and other available resources.

To assess your aging parent’s needs, you must focus on certain key areas. Including home safety, medical needs, mobility, nutrition, personal hygiene, cognitive health, social interaction, and family support.

Think of each of these categories in turn and determine how much support your aging parents are already getting. Then, determine how much support they need to remain safe and healthy.

Once you know what your aging parents need, you can determine how much of it you can handle on your own without affecting your own life and all the responsibilities that come with it. If anything is out of your capacity, be honest with yourself and with your parent so you can find the best solutions.

Get Their Finances in Order

Needless to say, the financial impact of caring for the elderly at home can’t be overlooked. As such, you need to get both your and your parent’s finances in order. This will help you determine how much of their care you can cover and how much help you’ll need.

Is there financial assistance for seniors? Absolutely! Elderly people may be eligible for a variety of programs, including government programs, and benefits that are meant to offset your aging parents’ living expenses.

So, what government programs are available for seniors? Well, there’s a great variety of them. For example, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, Benefits Checkup, IRS Elderly Tax Credit, and more.

Get Familiar with ADLs and IADLs

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs) are both very important when it comes to caring for senior parents at home. ADLs are the essential activities that help maintain the dignity and physical/emotional well-being of your elderly parents.

Overall, ADLs ensure that the daily living requirements your parents need are achieved. These activities include tasks of functional mobility, such as getting in and out of chairs, beds, etc., dressing, self-feeding, showering or bathing, personal hygiene, and toilet hygiene, which refers to self-cleaning, getting to and from the toilet, etc.

Aging parents whose mobility is impaired and who have health issues struggle with ADLs and need to receive the appropriate help. You can provide care yourself, hire a qualified professional to work at home with them or invest in equipment and accessories to help them perform these activities on their own.

IADLs are not necessarily essential, but these activities still relate to the independent functioning of senior adults. That includes cooking, meal prepping, cleaning, house maintenance, purchasing necessities, running errands, money management, taking prescribed medication, and more. These activities must be taken care of as well and using technological devices may be of great help.

Avoid Stretching Yourself Too Thin

Stretching yourself too thin won’t help anyone, especially your aging parents. Caring for elderly parents at home can be challenging, but it’s also very rewarding. However, doing it all on your own is not the best game plan. You will need help.

For example, you can enroll your aging parent in an adult day program where they can socialize and be taken care of while you take a break for the day. There are also volunteer senior programs that can be of great help. Of course, hiring an in-home caregiver will also be helpful, but you need to find the right fit.

Moreover, asking family members and close friends to help with errands will lessen your load. For instance, they can help run errands, drive your parents to doctor’s appointments, prepare meals, do some light housekeeping, or do anything else that can be of help. It takes a village!

Take Full Advantage of Available Resources and Services

One of the best ways to care for the elderly is to take advantage of the available resources and services that are meant to improve their lives. Care coordination will help you do that, so it’s a good investment to make, and your elderly loved one may even qualify for this service to be of no cost to you. As you can imagine, there are plenty of services and resources to choose from.

When it comes to senior care services, the options include home care services, meals on wheels to maintain proper nutrition, personal care services, veteran assistance, senior centers, in-home respite care, and so much more.

There are also opportunities for seniors to enjoy fun and engaging activities, fitness classes, and volunteer programs that allow them to still be a part of the community, meet new people, and socialize beyond their inner circle of loved ones and caregivers.

Making the Assessment

As you spend time with your loved ones you will need to know what to look for to determine the level of assistance they may require. Whether you’re vising in person or catching up via video chat, look out for signals that help is needed.

Here is a list of signs to look for that can help you assess the level of assistance they may need:

  1. Bounced checks and late payment notices: Are they paying bills late or not paying them at all? Are collection companies calling?
  2. Neglected home repairs: Have they stopped cooking or maintaining a regular meal schedule because their kitchen appliances don’t work? Are important items, such as light bulbs or smoke alarms, breaking or not being tended to?
  3. Changes in mood: Are your parents acting differently toward you, friends, or even strangers? Are they experiencing uncharacteristic mood swings?
  4. Neglected housekeeping duties: Is the home beginning to look and feel different or unrecognizable?
  5. Confusion about routine tasks: Do your parents seem unsure about how to complete daily chores or tasks such as laundry, vacuuming, or washing dishes?
  6. Feeling depressed or having little to no energy: Has your parent’s demeanor noticeably changed? Do they smile or laugh like they used to?
  7. Wearing disheveled or tattered clothing: Do your parents regularly neglect their appearance? Are their clothes worn or dirty?
  8. Keeping expired groceries: Is food collecting mold on the counter or making the fridge and house smell?
  9. Forgetfulness: Are they losing or misplacing keys, wallets, or other important items?
  10. Improper medication management: Are there full bottles of prescription pills in medicine cabinets?
  11. Leaving house or yard maintenance unattended: Are weeds growing uncontrollably? Is trash piling up outside?
  12. Loss of interest in activities or hobbies they once enjoyed: When was the last time they did something they loved?
  13. Missing important appointments: Are they frequently rescheduling missed appointments or simply not showing up?
  14. Weight loss or poor dieting habits: Are they eating much less or consuming only fast food or prepackaged snacks?
  15. Poor personal hygiene: Do they have bad breath or body odor more often?
  16. Trouble getting up from a seated position: Are they struggling to sit or stand?
  17. Frequent injuries or bruising: Do they have unexplained and more frequent bruises, scratches, or cuts?
  18. Unexplained dents or damage on their car: Are they getting into more accidents? In general, are they not paying attention to their car or safety?

If you notice any of these signs, it may be helpful to write down your concerns. Talking with your siblings and other relatives, or perhaps planning an elder care family meeting, can be extremely helpful.

Once you have done your research you can then discuss what the next steps will be. Be sure to include your loved ones in on your concerns and best steps for their care. Whether it is staying at home with additional care or turning to assisted living, the end game is to ensure they are safe and well taken care of.


Being a family-owned business, the owners of Promedcare are engaged in the day-to-day operations and get to know both clients and caregivers on a first-name basis.  Having both owners and staff present vs. working remotely with our clients creates a feel of FAMILY and allows Promedcare to create an environment of care that reduces turnover and increases dedication to the brand.  We provide 24/7 service with the ability to interact with Senior Management and the owners as needed.

Promedcare has evolved into a caring business that focuses on individuals’ specific needs and preferences. This type of care fosters independence, happiness, and a sense of familiarity by acknowledging older individuals’ desire to age in the comfort of their own homes.

For some, it’s to provide extensive ongoing care for an aging senior. For others, we offer a much-needed break or, respite care – such as a night out with a spouse, vacation, or simply a few hours of quiet time at home – for family members who provide regular care. We offer a wide range of care services customized for each individual client.

Promedcare services include Personal Care Services, Companion Care Services, Dementia / Alzheimer’s Care Services, and Respiratory Solutions.

Contact us today to see how Prodmedcare can help you!