Geriatric chronic psychiatric inpatients often remain in a chronic psychiatric hospital because of serious deficits in adaptive life functions. Because the additional complications and adaptive changes associated with aging have not been considered in previous scales, the Social-Adaptive Functioning Evaluation (SAFE) was developed. The items in the scale measure social-interpersonal, instrumental, and life skills functioning and are designed to be rated by observation, caregiver contact, and interaction with the subject if possible. Interrater and test-retest reliability were examined (n = 60) and convergent and discriminant validity were rated against other relevant measures (n = 50) in separate studies, with all being found adequate. The factor structure of the scale was examined with exploratory factor analysis, revealing a three-factor structure. Finally, predictive validity was examined in a preliminary study of 140 patients, 45 of whom were discharged after the assessment. The results indicate that patients who remained hospitalized could be discriminated from those who were sent to nursing homes or community care on the basis of certain SAFE items and subscales. These results support the use of this instrument in later studies of geriatric psychiatric patients.