How to Assess Your Loved One’s Self-Care Skills

By American Geriatrics Society (AGS)

In order to assess your loved one’s ability to care for herself, questions will be asked to determine whether she still is capable of functioning independently. Be sure to state whether you’re already assisting your loved one with functional tasks (such as bathing, grooming, cooking, paying bills, and so on) so the doctor can determine how these tasks are being completed.

Possible questions include the following:

  • Does your loved one’s appearance show attention to detail? Is she neatly groomed or disheveled? Is she dirty from lack of bathing? Is she wearing two different kinds of shoes? Is she dressed for winter in summer or vice versa?
  • Does she remember to eat regular meals or is she forgetting to eat and therefore losing weight?
  • Can she manage her personal hygiene or does she need help?
  • Is she paying her bills and income taxes on time?
  • Can she successfully and consistently perform necessary household functions, such as cooking and garbage removal?
  • Does she still know how to operate basic household equipment, such as telephones, wash machines, stoves, and faucets? Does food burn on the stove because she forgot to tend to the pan and turn off the burner?