Assessment is the undergirding of palliative care and of geriatrics care. Both disciplines insist on a comprehensive assessment that includes personal and social aspects of the patient's illness experience. At the same time, both face challenges due to the amount of time and skill needed to encompass such a broad scope and the often heavy illness burden of the patients, which makes interaction stressful or difficult. This article examines question-based assessment instruments in palliative care for elders. Important in all aspects of medicine, reliance on verbal assessments is of special importance in palliative care.