Physical Demands of Caregiving: Time to Get Help?

Reviewed by Minesh Khatri, MD on May 16, 2021

It's natural to want the best possible care for your loved one. But whether you're the chief caregiver or you supervise someone else, it's sometimes hard to judge if the job is getting too tough to handle alone.

Take this short test to measure the physical challenges of caring for your loved one and find out if you need to get some extra help.

Check numbers 1, 2, or 3 for each category on this list. Then get your score by adding up the numbers you selected.

The results will give you the big picture of your caregiving situation. A high score means you've got things under control. A lower number means you might want to get more help.

Questions About the Person Who's Getting the Care

Ability to Get Around: Your loved one is usually:

_____ (1) Confined to the bed

_____ (2) Homebound, but not bed bound

_____ (3) Able to get about on their own


Eating: Your loved one is:


_____ (1) Not able to feed themselves

_____ (2) Able to feed themselves but needs supervision, coaching, and company

_____ (3) Able to come to the table for meals


Bathing and Dressing: Your loved one is:

_____ (1) Not able to bathe themselves or do other routine tasks like shaving or dressing

_____ (2) Able to take a tub bath or a shower but needs help and support

_____ (3) Able to bathe, groom, and dress on their own

Going to the Bathroom: Your loved one is:

_____ (1) Not able to control their bowels or bladder

_____ (2) Able to control bowels and bladder but needs help to use a bedpan or get to the bathroom

_____ (3) Can get to the bathroom on their own

Time Needed for Care: Your loved one:

_____ (1) Needs 20 hours of personal care a week

_____ (2) Needs between 10 and 20 hours of personal care a week

_____ (3) Needs less than 10 hours of personal care a week

Thinking Skills: Your loved one is:

_____ (1) Usually mentally confused

_____ (2) Sometimes mentally confused

_____ (3) Able to think clearly and make competent decisions

Questions About the Caregiver

Health: The caregiver:

_____ (1) Is in frail or poor health

_____ (2) Has some limits on activities

_____ (3) Is in good health and is physically active

Other Job Responsibilities: The caregiver is:

_____ (1) Employed full-time outside the home

_____ (2) Employed part-time outside the home or has a flexible and supportive work setting

_____ (3) Not employed outside the home

Other Care Responsibilities: The caregiver is:

_____ (1) Responsible for children or other family members

_____ (2) Responsible for no one other than the person receiving care

_____ (3) Able to hire full-time assistance

Caregiving Skills: The caregiver:

_____ (1) Lacks skills or confidence in providing care

_____ (2) Has adequate skills and confidence to meet home care needs

_____ (3) Can hire any needed assistance

Relaxation Time: The caregiver:

_____ (1) Has less than four hours "off duty" time each week

_____ (2) Has at least one day "off duty" each week

_____ (3) Can pursue personal interests and activities

Sleeping Habits: The caregiver:

_____ (1) Loses sleep regularly in order to complete all of the daily care needs

_____ (2) Occasionally loses sleep in order to complete all the daily care tasks

_____ (3) Is able to get regular sleep

Get Your Score

Add up the numbers you selected. A lower score means you're in a "less manageable" situation. You need to think about getting more support beyond what your or the primary caregiver can provide.

Higher scores mean you're in a "more manageable" caregiving situation.

The lowest possible score on this test is12. It indicates you need significant caregiver support.

The highest possible score for this test is 36.

Your total rating score for this test: ______

Show Sources


Anita Davis, RN, M.Ed., director of Health Strategies, Nashville, TN. 

The National Alliance for Caregiving, Bethesda, MD. 

Family Caregiver Alliance, San Francisco, CA. 

National Family Caregivers Association, Kensington, MD.

© 2021 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved. View privacy policy and trust info