Medical rehabilitation may serve to distinguish older adults capable of independent living from those in need of assistance. Return to independent living was evaluated in 372 older patients, all of whom lived alone before admission. For persons discharged alone, admission performance on the Functional Independence Measure was the only significant predictor of discharge self-care. For those discharged with supervision, age, memory, and depression were also significant predictors of discharge self-care. Thus, older live-alone patients may progress at different rates over rehabilitation, and psychosocial problems may foreshadow loss of independence.