Glossary of Senior Care Terms

Here is a cheat sheet of senior care definitions to get you started

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)

    These are daily activities such as showering, grooming, dressing, medication management, toileting and eating.

  • Acute Care

    Short term or temporary medical care for an illness, injury or recovery from surgery.

  • Alzheimer's

    This is the most common type of dementia. Alzheimer's affects memory, thinking and behavior.

  • Assessment

    A physical assessment done by an assisted living community advisor to find out what care needs the senior may require. This also helps to determine the care costs.

  • Assisted Living

    A residential community for seniors to live in their own apartments or rooms with shared common areas. This type of community assists with non-medical needs. Caregivers are trained to assist with ADL's. Assisted living communities provide 24-hour supervision, three meals a day, housekeeping, activities and social interaction.

  • Board and Care Home

    Generally a six-bed home that cares for seniors who have more extensive care needs or mid-late stage dementias. These are licensed by the state the same as an assisted living facility.

  • Care Levels

    Most assisted living communities charge for care based on how many ADL's they will assist with. There is generally a point system or levels of care from 1 (being the least amount of care) to 4 (for the highest level of care).

  • Community Fee / Move-in fee

    A one time fee usually required to move into an assisted living community or board and care home. This is generally the cost of the assessment and administrative fees.

  • Dementia

    An umbrella term covering many types of memory loss. About 70% of all dementia cases are Alzheimer's. The other major types of dementia are vascular dementia, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s and mixed dementia.

  • Home Care

    For seniors who need non-medical help at home, including help with ADL's, meal prep and sometimes light housekeeping.

  • Home Health Care

    Help from a licensed, medical professional. It requires an order from a doctor and is generally covered by Medicare.

  • Hospice

    When someone experiences an incurable illness or disease and the doctor has determined they have 6 months to live hospice care is available to keep the patient as comfortable as possible.

  • Independent Living

    These communities offer room and board for seniors who are still independent and do not require any assistance with their activities of daily living. They have an all inclusive price for their apartment / room, three meals a day in a communal dining room, housekeeping and social activities. Many of the independent living communities also offer assisted living in the same community.

  • Memory Care

    This is a community that specializes in caring for people with all types of dementia. Some offer locked areas so the resident is not able to wander outside the building.

  • Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI)

    The stage between normal cognitive decline, due to aging and dementia. MCI affects memory, thinking, language or judgment.

  • Nursing Home

    A permanent residential facility with 24-hour a day staff to assist with medical needs; i.e. IV fluids, feeding tubes, catheters.

  • Physician's Report / Form 602

    A state required medical report completed by your doctor. This comprehensive report lets an assisted living community know what medical conditions you have, the type of care that may be needed and also lists all medications.

  • POA - Power of Attorney

    A legal document that allows another person to act on your behalf.

  • Rehab Facilities

    These facilities provide short term, in-patient rehabilitation. Most people are transferred here after a hospital stay for follow up care. These are also called skilled nursing facilities (SNFs).

  • Respite Care

    Short term or temporary care, usually done in an assisted living community. Most communities will ask for a minimum 30-day stay.

  • Senior Apartments

    Generally for ages 55+, these apartments consist of individual housing for residents not requiring any assistance. They do not offer chef prepared meals or housekeeping like an assisted living community.

  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

    Typically for rehab patients who do not require long-term care. These are also called rehab facilities.

  • Veteran's Aid and Attendance

    The Veteran's Affairs Dept. offers supplemental income to veterans and their spouses as long as the veteran served at least one day during wartime.