Is It Time to Get Help? A New Tool Helps Seniors Is It Time to Get Help? A New Tool Helps Seniors and Families Decideand Families Decide

In an ideal world, the signs that you or your parents need extra help would be crystal clear and easy for everyone to agree on. In the real world, the signs aren’t always easy to read, and emotions and disagreements can make it hard to reach any sort of conclusion about what to do and when. To help seniors and families decide if it’s time to get help, the Middle Tennessee Council on Aging and a North Carolina tech startup have created an online tool that gives you customized recommendations based on a 4-minute questionnaire.

The goals of Is It Time to Get Help, developed by healthcare decision startup Roobrik, are to “find the best balance of safety and independence,” and to show whether help is needed right away, the best place to get care, and how to find support. To see how it works, I spent some time answering questions for myself and for some hypothetical seniors.

Trying out Is It Time to Get Help?

The first step is to choose who you’re asking about, then answer 23 questions about housing, driving, daily life, attitudes, access to help, and more. At the end of the questionnaire, you’ll have the option to share your email so you can save your results, and there’s a check box if you want to share your responses with the Council on Aging of Middle Tennessee. If you’d rather not share your information, you can click the Skip button to see your results.

When I took the quiz for myself, my care needs were rated minimal – living at home with no help or in an independent living community were my recommendations. When I took it again for a hypothetical married woman who’s nervous about driving, doesn’t like to ask for help, and has had a recent fall, her care needs were rated low, with recommendations similar to mine plus the options to have light help at home or added services in independent living.

Finally, I took the quiz for a hypothetical senior veteran with medication management and daily care needs and a strongly independent attitude. His results were moderate, and the recommended living situations included home with moderate help, including home health care, or an assisted living community.

What sets this senior-care tool apart

The first thing I noticed about Roobrik’s care assessment tool is that it never asks for the person’s age, income, or specific health conditions. The questions instead focus on ability, judgment, social engagement, attitudes about receiving help, and the quiz-taker’s concerns for their health and wellbeing. That seems like a useful springboard for family discussions.

You can click on each of the terms in your results to get a more detailed definition, and you can save, view and share your results with friends and family if you choose—another way to extend the discussion, especially if they take the quiz, too. From the results page, you can find Middle Tennessee and national resources as well.

Having the talk (or talks) about care for your parents isn’t easy, but this tool seems to offer a way to open those discussions or bring everyone closer to agreement when your parents need care. Read more about talking to your parents about their care needs and explore your care options at


  1. Emily Pfeifer January 10, 2017 Reply

    Thats so nice..

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