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Determining Wants and Needs

In starting the care planning process, it's important to ask questions to discover the wants and needs of the care recipient and support network group, including family members and friends.

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The following items all contribute to decisions about plan of care.

  • Where does the care recipient prefer to live? Is that a reasonable preference? Does it adequately address needs?
  • What are the respective expectations of caregiving family members and the care recipient regarding the provisions of care and support for the caregivers?
  • What financial resources are available to pay for care?


The assessment phase of the caregiving process is crucial. The results of an assessment provide a kind of map to ensure that the recipient receives appropriate care — care that supports the strengths of both the recipient and support team and also addresses challenges. There are different kinds of assessments. The caregiver, the care group and the recipient can complete an initial, informal assessment of how well the recipient functions in day-to-day life. This will be helpful to the professionals caring for the recipient.

When the initial assessment process is completed, it is likely that the assistance of health professionals is necessary. Other assessments require the expertise of doctors, geriatric care managers, psychologists, and/or social workers. These assessments will guide the caregiver, the care recipient, and the care team during the next step — forming an initial plan. Your primary medical care provider or a professional geriatric care manager may help you decide which of the following professional evaluations may be helpful:

  • medical assessments
  • Neurological assessment
  • assessments of overall functioning and strengths
  • psychological assessments
  • assessments of rehabilitation needs

Professionals will also carefully evaluate the wants, needs and capabilities of the care recipient, and use this information to guide decision-making.



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