With aging, the ability to do daily activities (functional ability) declines to some degree in every person. Also, older people, on average, tend to have more disorders and disabilities than do younger people. But the changes that accompany aging are more than just changes in health. Social issues (such as living arrangements or type of work) influence an older person's risk and experience of illness.
Doctors often do what is called a social history to help them and other members of the health care team evaluate a person's care needs and social support. Doctors use the social history to help the older person and any caregivers make plans for care. Doctors may ask questions about the following:
Last full review/revision August 2013 by Daniel B. Kaplan, PhD, MSW; Barbara J. Berkman, DSW, PhD