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Your Guide to Needs Assessment at an Assisted Living Community

Most senior living communities have multiple levels of care. Figuring out which level of care is best for your aging loved one can be difficult to do.

But you don’t have to make this decision by yourself: if your family member is interested in moving into an assisted living facility, they will first have to undergo a thorough, in-person assessment of their physical and cognitive health. Read on to learn what to expect of the assessment process.

What a ‘Senior Needs’ Assessment Involves

The main goal of this type of in-depth assessment is to help facilities better understand your parents’ current care needs and determine which level of care will benefit them the best. This will allow them to create a more personalized care plan, allocate necessary resources, and ensure your loved one is getting all the care and support they need to live a comfortable and enjoyable life.

Most senior living facilities have an assessment checklist they use to examine and understand your loved one’s behaviors, communication abilities, dietary requirements, ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs), medical history and need for assistive devices.

Behavioral Condition

Most facilities will take a close look at the senior’s behavior. This might include identifying if the senior can respond to staff instructions, interact with other residents respectfully and comply with the facility’s policies. This is mainly to ensure that your loved one will not put the health and safety of themselves, other residents or staff at risk.

Mental and Cognitive Function

This part of the assessment mostly focuses on gauging your family member’s cognitive and mental condition. The staff needs to know if they experience confusion, disorientation or difficulty recalling information so they can provide specific care that is customized to your loved one’s cognitive state.

Level of Bathroom Assistance

There are a few questions in this portion, such as:

  • Does the senior have bladder incontinence, and do they need the help of assistive devices?
  • Do they need to be reminded to wear protective garments?
  • Do they need reminders to go to the bathroom?
  • Do they need assistance getting to and using the bathroom?
  • If yes, will they require the help of more than one person?

Medical Needs

This will involve everything from going through the senior’s past medical records and looking for chronic illnesses, to assessing their current health needs. Your loved one will also be evaluated for vision and hearing problems as well as incontinence. This will allow the staff to make the necessary arrangements and ensure your loved one’s well-being.

In addition, the facility staff will also look into how often the senior needs to be monitored, what medications they take, and if they need reminders or assistance in taking those medications.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

As the name suggests, this section measures the level of assistance your elder loved one requires with everyday activities like bathing, dressing, and eating.

Fall History and Risk

This part of the assessment will look at your family member’s fall history in the last three months. They will also test for level of mobility (such as how well they can get out of a chair on their own, or how well they can walk to the bathroom).

Special Support Services

Your loved one might have special dietary requirements, need help with oxygen or require extra assistance from the staff. The staff will make a note of these support requirements during the needs assessment.

The needs assessment is not just for the senior living facility to understand your family member’s care requirements; it will also give you the knowledge you need to make future care decisions for your loved one. Remember, you are not alone in navigating senior living options for your family members: contact Oasis Senior Advisors at 475.619.4123 or 914.356.1901, or fill out this online form and let us help you find the best fit for your loved one.

Oasis Senior Advisors


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Paul and Susan Doyle

Certified Senior Advisor®

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