Background: People with dementia (PWDs) and their informal caregivers frequently report difficulties in maintaining their usual activities. We had previously developed a set of indicators to estimate whether dyadic, activating interventions can meet these needs for activity. This study investigates how PWDs and informal caregivers talk about the indicators in interviews for needs assessments, and how professionals identify activity needs and preferences. Our research goal was to explore the usefulness of the indicators for assessing the activity needs of community-dwelling dyads. Such assessments are needed for appropriate referral to activating interventions. Methods: A dementia case manager assessed the needs of community-dwelling PWDs and their informal caregivers; we carried out secondary analyses on the dataset resulting from the audio-tapes and transcripts. We applied qualitative, deductive content analysis because we wanted to identify both explicit and implicit needs and preferences. We used the indicators that we had developed in previous research as codes. Results: Both PWDs and informal caregivers do explicitly mention needs, preferences, and characteristics related to the indicators in the needs assessments. Possible implicit needs and preferences were frequently identified in their stories. Conclusions: Needs-driven care requires high-quality needs assessments. Both PWDs and their informal caregivers need encouragement to express their latent needs and preferences. In addition, latent needs and preferences have to be further explored in needs assessments to find out the real meaning. The outcomes of this study highlight the significance of structured needs assessments for mapping the activity needs of PWDs and their informal caregivers. Many PWDs and informal caregivers reported activity needs, which suggests that activating interventions may be appropriate. The indicators can help professionals identify activity needs so that they can discuss matching activating interventions with the dyad.