Life Essentials | Part Three: Determining the Care Needs of Your Aging Loved One

LIFE ESSENTIALS :: Part Three: Social, Emotional & Financial Needs


It can be difficult for many people to see their aging family members and loved ones change over time. Unfortunately, for many families it takes a crisis, like a fall, to make them aware of their parent’s circumstances. It is important to watch for signs of new needs and assess those changes on a regular basis to maximize safety and make sure they are free to enjoy their lives. Seeing those changes and facing them begins with knowing what to look for and asking the right questions. This three part Sound Options series, breaks down the important topics you should be looking at and lists the important questions you should be asking:

Tips for Planning Care:

  • Gather all the facts
  • Understand preferences
  • Prioritize
  • What financial resources are needed?
  • Family involvement?
  • Professional help?

PART THREE: Social, Emotional, & Financial Needs 

Social & Emotional Needs

  • Start with your loved one’s personality.  Is he/she outgoing and social?  Independent or dependent?  Quiet and a loner?
  •  Do you notice changes in his/her longstanding personality traits?
  •  Have you noticed a loss of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable, changes in sleeping habits, general sadness or loss of energy?
  • Does your loved one still drive or have the ability to get out into the community without relying on a friend or family member?
  •  Has your loved one experienced recent losses; friends, spouse/partner, change in living situation?
  •  Are there other physical factors that contribute to greater isolation such as vision loss, hearing loss, Alzheimer’s or dementia?
  • Do you have concerns about alcoholism or substance abuse?
  •  Do you have concerns about hoarding behavior?
  •  Does your loved one have cognitive or physical impairments that make him/her vulnerable to abuse or exploitation?

Finances & the Role of the Family

  • Have you or another family member discussed care preferences and care options with your loved one?
  • What are your loved one’s sources of Income?
  • What are their resources and what is their net worth?
  • Does the family have a plan for their assets? ( vacation homes, boats, etc.)
  • How does your loved one plan to pay for long-term care?
  • Does a family member know the financial status of the older adult?
  • Is there a professional financial person involved?
  •  Does your loved one have a durable power of attorney for finance?
  •  Where is the document?
  •  Who is the attorney-in-fact?

Published on May 22, 2013.