Assessing Long-Term Care Needs


Assessing Long-Term Care Needs

Is it normal memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease? Is it depression or dementia? The early symptoms of cognitive changes are often subtle and far more difficult to assess than those associated with a physical illness or disability. As a result, it can be difficult to determine whether a friend or family member can live independently or whether it’s time to seek long-term care services.

Your answers to the following questions may help you assess whether your loved one can continue to live independently or whether immediate intervention is needed.

Independent Living Test1


  • Are prescriptions not being refilled, resulting in failure to take medication when scheduled?
  • Has taking medication become difficult due to poor memory or confusion? Evidence may include problems taking pills on time, different pills mixed together in a pillbox, or an oversupply or undersupply of pills.
  • Have conditions previously under control become acute because medication is not being taken correctly?

Food and Groceries

  • Based on past food habits, are the cupboards frequently empty or being filled with unusual foods?
  • Is the food in the refrigerator often spoiled or kept long beyond the “use by” date?

Daily Business

  • Is the mail being picked up and opened regularly, or does it remain uncollected and/or unopened?
  • Are credit cards or checkbooks being misused or not balanced as well as in the past?

Social Contact

  • Has the amount of social contact changed dramatically, so that there are few public outings or limited social visits with close friends?
  • Has the ability to drive deteriorated? Is there a fear of driving or a recent history of multiple minor accidents that is leading to isolation?

Living Habits

  • Has there been a change in dress or appearance or a decline in personal hygiene that is not related to physical disability? Is dress appropriate for the weather?
  • Have housekeeping habits changed so that a normally neat and orderly home is now cluttered and not cleaned regularly?
  • Are pets that were normally well cared for suddenly not being fed or cared for as they had been in the past?


  • Is there a sudden increase in ordering unnecessary items through mail or televised advertisements?

Calls to Family Members or Health Care Providers

  • Has there been a marked increase in panic calls to family or medical providers without apparent need?
  • Have unnecessary calls been made to 911?

According to the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging (AAHSA), among people age 65 today, 69% will need some form of long-term care, and by 2020, 12 million older Americans will require long-term health care.2 Consider protecting yourself and your loved ones with the security that Long-Term Care Insurance coverage can provide.

1Source: Long- Term Care Partners, LLC

2Source: American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, “Aging Services: The Facts,” (accessed February 2010).

Long-term care insurance issued by Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, 200 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10166.

Like most long-term care insurance policies, MetLife policies contain exclusions, limitations, reductions of benefits and terms for keeping them in force. I’ll be glad to provide you with costs and complete details.

Copyright © 2010 Liberty Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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This article appears courtesy of Karl Susman. Karl Susman is a representative of the New Engl and Life Insurance Company. He focuses on meeting the individual insurance and financial services needs of people on the West Coast. You can reach Karl at the office at (424) 785-4337. New Engl and Life Insurance Company, 501 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116