How to Assess When an Older Adult Requires Caregiving Assistance

Mother & daughter on the couch

As we age, we are no longer able to do the same things we used to. It can be more difficult to even complete some of the simpler tasks we used to do. When it comes to seeing it in others, it can be obvious, or they may be hiding their struggles.

If you have a loved one who you think may need caregiving assistance, it can be a tricky conversation to have. People don’t always admit they are having problems out of fear.

Does My Aging Loved One Need Help?

There are a few signs you can look for even if they are not obvious. If you suspect your loved one is struggling with either physical or mental health, you need to be observant.


As we age, our hips, knees, and even our feet can develop problems. You may notice that they are walking slower, limping, or having difficulty with stairs. When this happens, they are at risk of suffering a fall.

If they are having mobility issues, you can help them by clearing access around their home. Remove loose rugs and other clutter or furniture that may cause them to trip.

You can add handrails to staircases, the bathroom, and around the home like in hallways to allow them the support they may need to get around. A walk-in tub or shower stall with a seat can also help.


This is another area where older people will try to cover up and hide the fact that driving has become difficult. It is extremely dangerous for people to be driving when they are no longer able to.

It could be their eyesight, hearing, hand-eye coordination, or mental health concerns. You can easily assess their driving abilities by joining them on a trip to the store or an appointment.

It could be their difficulties are stemming from a new medication, new glasses, dementia, or fear due to a recent accident. You may need to get other family members to drive them places or make other arrangements, like ride-share programs or public transportation.

Social Skills

If your loved one has stopped attending regular social functions, family gatherings, or seems withdrawn, they may be suffering from depression. It’s common for seniors to become lonely and despondent.

This could be due to loss of hearing, where they can’t hear what is being said and to avoid embarrassment, just stop going. It could be down to a fear of falling, a falling out with one of their friends, or a result of a change in medication,

There may be issues with controlling their bladder and bowels, as well. People are more reluctant to go out for fear of having an accident. If your loved one is having these types of problems, you should be able to tell.

Personal Hygiene

Dirty clothes, messy, dirty hair, body odor, unshaven face, all of these may be a sign that your loved one requires assistance with some of their basic care. Changes in appearance can result from a variety of reasons.

They may be depressed and simply no longer care if they change their clothes or bathe. There may be other mental health issues, like the onset of dementia, or the fear of falling in the tub or shower.

Ask them about it and try to find out what is going on. There may have been a change in their medication, or you may need to look into getting support bars installed in the tub or shower stall.

What’s Next?

If you’ve noticed recent changes in your loved one, it’s crucial to have them assessed by a professional as soon as possible. Prompt action ensures early detection and appropriate care. In case they require assistance, have an open conversation to understand their needs. Sometimes, a little support in the morning or help with transportation and grocery shopping can make a significant difference in their daily life.

Deciding on the type of assistance is essential. You can discuss among family members if they can provide the necessary help or consider bringing in a professional caregiver who is trained to cater to their specific requirements.

For added peace of mind and increased independence, consider investing in a medical alert system. These systems offer reassurance to all parties involved, knowing that help is just a button press away in case of emergencies.

Taking proactive steps and offering the right support will ensure your loved one’s well-being and enable them to maintain a sense of freedom and dignity throughout their daily activities.