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Glossary of Terms

 

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General Terms

Activities of daily living are personal activities, such as walking, bathing, eating, dressing, toileting, and moving from being seated to lying down or standing up.

An advance directive is a document in which people state what medical treatment they want done if they are terminally ill, in a permanent coma or unable to breathe on their own.
An advocate for seniors is an individual or organization who provides support, information, and/or referrals to meet the needs of older people, their families, and caregivers.
Aging in place means being able to live in one's home setting and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.
Care managers are professionals who help seniors and their families create a care plan to identify needed services and resources. They link seniors to services and monitor the outcomes.
The Alzheimer's Association is a national, voluntary health organization which provides care and support, raises funds for research, and advocates on behalf of those with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.
Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia which may result in loss of memory, mood swings, speech imbalance, confusion, hallucinations, and problems in behavior and thinking.
Care managers are professionals who helps seniors and their families create a care plan to identify needed services and resources. They link seniors to services and monitor the outcomes.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): A certified nursing assistant provides basic services in homes, assisted living settings, and skilled nursing facilities. Personal care services include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and medication reminders. Nursing assistants usually work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse.
Licensed professionals provide mental health/substance abuse counseling to help individuals, families, and caregivers cope with aging issues. Treatment may include individual or group counseling/therapy sessions, support groups, and/or medication.
Dementia is a group of brain diseases that affect memory, judgement, personality, and ability to function.
A durable power of attorney is a document in which a person states who will make financial decisions for them if they are unable to do so.
Elder abuse or neglect is an intentional act or failure to act by a caregiver or family member that causes or creates the risk of physical, emotional, financial, or sexual harm to an older adult.
Elder lawyers provide legal services to people as they age. They can help to create important documents such as wills, powers of attorney, and living wills/advance directives. They can help families plan for future health care needs.
An emergency alert device automatically calls for assistance in an emergency, e.g., when someone falls.
A financial power of attorney is a document in which a person states who will make financial decisions for them if they are unable to do so.
A geriatric care manager is a professional who helps seniors and their families create a care plan to identify needed services and resources. They link seniors to services and monitor the outcomes.
Guardianship is a formal, legal procedure in which a court appoints an adult person ("Guardian") to take over all or some of the legal rights of another person ("Ward"). The court decides that the Ward is not competent to provide self-care or care of property.
A health care power of attorney is a document in which a person states who will make medical decisions for them if they are sick, unconscious, or unable to make those decisions for self.
Home Health Aides or Certified Nursing Assistants provides basic services in homes, assisted living settings, and skilled nursing facilities. Personal care services include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and medication reminders. Nursing assistants usually work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse.
Hospice is special care to reduce physical and/or emotional pain of someone who is dying. Services are also offered to families and caregivers. Hospice services can be given wherever the person calls home (e.g., private home, facility, hospital) or at a hospice home.
Instrumental activities of daily living are basic activities such as using the telephone, shopping for personal items, managing money, doing laundry, driving, doing light housework and preparing meals.
A last will and testament is a legal document in which a person states who should receive their property, directs how to pay debts and taxes, and names a guardian for minor children in case one is ever needed.
A living will is a document in which a person states what medical treatment they want done.
Nursing assistants provide basic services in homes, assisted living settings, and skilled nursing facilities. Personal care services include bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, and medication reminders. They usually work under the supervision of a Registered Nurse or Licensed Practical Nurse.
Occupational therapy is structured movement and exercise prescribed to promote recovery or rehabilitation so that people relearn activities of daily living. A licensed therapist provides this service, either in the home or in a residential facility.
Palliative health care provides relief from chronic pain and suffering for patients. The goal of palliative care is to improve the quality of life in all areas of the patient's life including physical, emotional, spiritual, and social concerns due to advanced illness. Palliative care can be provided at home or in residential settings. The patient does not have to be terminally ill.
A patient advocate is a professional who helps seniors and their families create a care plan to identify needed medical services and resources. They link seniors to services and monitor the outcomes.
Physical therapy is treatment of disease or injury, by physical and mechanical means (e.g., massage, regulated exercise, water, light, heat, and electricity). Physical therapists plan and provide physical therapy treatment programs for people to restore their function and strength. A licensed therapist provides services at home or in a residential community.
Respite care gives the primary caregiver short-term relief from their day-to-day responsibilities. Respite care is available in or away from home.
Part-time care given or supervised by registered nurses. Nurses provide direct care; manage, observe, and evaluate a patient's care; and teach the patient and their family caregiver. A registered nurse provides services at home or in a residential community.
A social worker is a licensed professional who provides services to help with social and emotional concerns related to illness. Services may include counseling and/or assistance in finding resources in the community.
Speech therapy is the treatment of communication disorders, memory problems, and swallowing problems. A licensed therapist provides services at home or in a residential community.
Telephone reassurance means daily telephone calls for isolated, older adults to check on them and offer comfort. Non-profit and/or for-profit organizations can provide telephone reassurance.
A will is a legal document in which a person states who should receive their property, directs how to pay debts and taxes, and names a guardian for minor children in case one is ever needed.

In-home Services

Home care services are non-medical services provided in the home. These services include light housekeeping, doing laundry, shopping, bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, medication reminders, and meal preparation. Family members, friends, or home health aides/certified nursing assistants can provide these services.
Licensed medical personnel such as nurses, physical therapists, speech therapists, social workers, home health aides provide home health services. These health services can include monitoring weight, heart rate, blood pressure, or sugar levels, under a doctor's order.
Medical house calls means a primary care provider (doctor, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant) goes to an individual's home or residential care facility to give medical care for chronic or severe health problems for home-bound or home-limited people who have trouble traveling to a doctor's office.
Personal care aides provide in-home services. To qualify, an individual must have Medicaid insurance and have a medical condition, disability, or cognitive (memory) impairment, and need help with eating, dressing, bathing, toileting, and mobility. Need must be certified by a doctor, nurse practitioner, or a physician ssistant and determined by an assessment conducted by the NC Department of Health and Human Services.
Senior move managers provide services to manage the stress of relocating for older adults. These services include sorting belongings, deciding what to keep and what to release, furniture placement for a new residence, packing items to move, overseeing the movers on move day, and unpacking belongings and setting up the kitchen and bedroom for immediate use.

Out-of-home Services

Adult care homes provide licensed residential care for persons who do not need medical care but cannot live alone unsupervised. They offer room and board, activities, medication management, medical transportation, assistance with personal hygiene, and 24-hour supervision.
Adult day care is a place where older people can go for care and supervision, activities, and social contact with others. This type of care can be scheduled on a daily, weekly, or part-time basis.
Assisted living is licensed 24-hour housing for seniors who need help with activities such as meals, bathing, and taking medications. Assisted living can be in an adult care home or a residential community. Assisted living is not for seniors with serious medical conditions which require nursing care.
A Continuing Care Retirement Community is a residential community with a campus that includes independent housing, assisted living housing, and skilled nursing housing. A resident can move from independent to assisted to skilled nursing housing based on their contract and medical and  cognitive needs.
Family care homes are licensed to provide personal care for 2-6 residents. They offer services in a home-like setting including meal services, bathing and taking medications (assisted living).
Independent living is a general name for any housing setting solely for seniors. Other names for independent living include continuing care retirement communities, retirement homes, senior housing, and senior apartments. Independent living housing is designed to be more compact and easier to get around in, and to offer social opportunities.
A memory care unit is a community placement which specializes in caring for the memory impaired. Memory care units can be part of assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, or stand alone. Medical personnel who work in a memory care unit are trained to provide for the special needs of dementia.
A nursing home/skilled nursing facility gives seniors the highest level of 24-hour personal medical care outside of a hospital. A doctor supervises each resident's care and a nurse or other medical workers are always available on-site.
Skilled nursing care facilities which provide short-term residential services such as physical therapy and occupational therapy for patients recovering from surgery or illness. Patients usually go to rehabilitation facilities directly from hospitals per a doctor's order.
Rest homes provide licensed 24-hour housing for seniors who need help with activities such as meals, bathing, and taking medications. Assisted living can be in an adult care home or a residential community. Rest homes are not for seniors with serious medical conditions which require nursing care.
A nursing home gives seniors the highest level of 24-hour personal medical care outside of a hospital. A doctor supervises each resident's care and a nurse or other medical workers are always available on-site.

Living Arrangements

Most assisted living residential communities offer minimal supervision, assistance with taking medicines, help with bathing, walking, dressing, eating, and moving from sitting to standing. They also offer housekeeping, transportation, security, and recreation activities.
Independent living residential communities are designed solely for seniors. Other names for independent living communities include continuing care retirement communities, retirement homes, senior housing, and senior apartments. Independent living housing is designed to be more compact and easier to get around in, and to offer social opportunities. There are many non-medical and medical services that seniors can bring into their independent housing setting to allow them to age in place, if their insurance or private resources allow them to do so. Look back at the General and In-home Services sections for some of these services.
There are many non-medical and medical services that seniors can bring into their home/residential community to allow them to age in place, if their insurance or private resources allow them to do so. Look back at the General and In-home Services sections for some of these services.
Nursing homes are the highest level of care that one can receive outside of a hospital. They offer advanced medical care, patient supervision by doctors, skilled nursing on site and help with bathing, dressing, eating, and other activities of daily living.

Paying for Senior Services

CAP/DA (Community Alternatives Program/Disabled Adults) is a Medicaid program that allows low-income elderly and disabled adults to receive support services in their home as an alternative to nursing home placement.
Long-term care insurance helps cover the cost of long-term care. Longterm care insurance pays for care usually not covered by health insurance, Medicare, or Medicaid.
Medicaid is public assistance for low-income people who are unable to pay for health care. Medicaid is available only when all other personal assets and funds are gone. If a person qualifies, Medicaid pays for medical deductibles, co-payments, and nursing home care. State Medicaid funds may pay for assisted living facility expenses for low income people.
Medicare is national healthcare insurance for eligible people 65 and older and in some cases disabled people. Medicare Part A pays for hospital and skilled nursing services; Part D pays for outpatient prescription drugs and medications. Medicare-covered services include hospice, skilled nursing, physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, home health aide services, medical social services,  medical equipment (e.g., wheelchairs, walkers, hospital beds, and oxygen) and medical supplies. Medicare will not pay for assisted living or long-term nursing home care.
PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) is a Medicare and Medicaid program that helps people meet their health care needs in the community instead of going to a nursing home or other care facility. There are limited funds for PACE.
Private pay means that people must use their own money instead of government funds to pay for services.