Senior Care Definitions

Activities Director Individual who plans, organizes, develops and directs the overall operation of the Activity Department in senior living settings to assure that an ongoing program of activities meets the interests and wellbeing of each resident.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) ADLs refer to daily self-care activities within an individual’s place of residence and outdoor environments. ADLs are often referred to as a measurement of the functional status of a person.

Acute Care A branch of secondary health care where a patient receives active but short-term treatment for a severe injury or episode of illness, an urgent medical condition, or during recovery from surgery.

Adaptive Technology Any object or system that is specifically designed for the purpose of increasing or maintaining the capabilities of people with disabilities.

AdministratorIndividual who directs the day-to-day functions of an Independent Living, Assisted Living, or Skilled Nursing Facility to assure that the highest degree of quality care can be provided to residents at all times.

Adult Day Care CenterA non-residential facility that supports the health, nutritional, social support, and daily living needs of adults in professionally staffed, group settings.

Advance DirectiveAdvance directives are legal documents that allow an individual to convey decisions about end-of-life care ahead of time.

Aging in PlaceThe ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level.

Alzheimer’s DiseaseA type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

AmbulatoryRelating to or adapted for walking.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)A wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability.

AssessmentA plan of care that identifies the specific needs of the client and how those needs will be addressed by the healthcare system or skilled nursing facility.

Assisted LivingAssistance with activities of daily living (ADLs); coordination of services by outside health care providers; and monitoring of resident activities to help to ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

Assistive DevicesAny item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

BariatricsThe branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

CaregiverAn individual responsible for the care of someone who has poor mental health, physically disabled or whose health is impaired by sickness or old age.

Case ManagementA collaborative process that facilitates recommended treatment plans to assure the appropriate medical care is provided to disabled, ill or injured individuals.

ChaplainA minister in a specialized setting such as a priest, pastor, rabbi, imam, lay representative of a world view attached to a secular institution such as a hospital.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)A residential retirement community where a variety of living and medical services are provided to residents.

Community Based Care (CBC)Long-term care services administered in a person’s residence or care facility.

Custodial CareNon-skilled care that helps with Activities of Daily Living.

Dementia A serious loss of global cognitive ability in a previously unimpaired person, beyond what might be expected from normal aging.

Director of Nursing (DON)A registered nurse who supervises the care of all the patients at a health care facility.

Discharge PlannerA social worker or other health care professional who assists hospital patients and their families in transitioning from the hospital to another level of care.

Elder CareThe fulfillment of the special needs and requirements that are unique to senior citizens.

Emergency Response System24-hour electronic response system

Functional ImpairmentThe need for assistance to carry out a specific number of activities of daily living.

GerontologyThe scientific study of old age, the process of aging, and the particular problems of old people.

GuardianshipAttention and management of an individual implying responsibility for safety

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO)An organization that provides or arranges managed care for health insurance and self-funded health care benefit plans; acts as a liaison between individual and health care institutes such as a hospital.

HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996)Provides the ability to transfer and continue health insurance coverage for millions of American workers and their families when they change or lose their jobs. Reduces health care fraud and abuse. Mandates industry-wide standards for health care information on electronic billing and other processes. Requires the protection and confidential handling of protected health information.

Home Health CareHealth care or supportive care provided in the patient’s home.

Home Health AideAn individual who assists the family in caregiving, helping the patient remain in the home.

HospiceA special concept of care designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when a life-limiting illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments.

Housekeeping Services – Non-skilled assistance with daily activities such as washing dishes, laundry, sweeping, vacuuming.

Independent LivingAny housing arrangement designed exclusively for seniors, generally those aged 55 and over. Some living arrangements may includ senior-centric amenities.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) – A nurse who has enough training to be licensed by a state to provide routine care for the sick.

Living WillA legal document that a person uses to make known his or her wishes regarding life prolonging medical treatments.

Long-Term Carechronic illness or disability who cannot care for themselves for long periods of time.

Managed CareHealth insurance plans that contract with health care providers and medical facilities to provide care for members at reduced costs.

MedicaidA federal system of health insurance for those requiring financial assistance.

MedicareA federal system of health insurance for people over 65 years of age and for certain younger people with disabilities.

Medication ManagementThe prescribing and/or administering and reviewing of medications and their side effects.

MedigapVarious private supplemental health insurance plans sold to Medicare beneficiaries.

Memory CareSelf-contained neighborhoods in Continuing Care Retirement Communities specially designed to serve residents with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias.

Non-ambulatoryA person with the inability to move independently due to being bedridden or hospitalized.

Nursing HomeA private institution providing residential accommodations with health care, especially for the elderly.

Occupational TherapyTherapy for those recuperating from illness that encourages rehabilitation by performing the activities of daily life.

OmbudsmanA neutral mediator in dispute resolution, with the ability to investigate and make recommendations – without authority to make or reverse a decision.

Optional State Supplement (OSS)A supplement a person’s income to help pay for costs in an assisted living facility, mental health residential treatment facility, and adult family care home. It is not a Medicaid program.Varies from state to state.

Palliative CareFocuses on relieving and preventing the suffering of patients.

Physical TherapyThe remedying of impairments and disabilities and the promotion of mobility, functional ability, quality of life and movement potential through examination, evaluation, diagnosis and physical intervention.

Registered Nurse (RN)A fully trained nurse with an official certificate of competence.

RehabilitationRehabilitation is the process of helping an individual achieve the highest level of independence and quality of life possible – physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.

Respite CareTemporary institutional care of a dependent elderly, ill, or handicapped person, providing relief for their usual caregivers.

Skilled Nursing CareDaily nursing and rehabilitative care that can be performed only by or under the supervision of, skilled medical personnel.

Speech TherapyTraining to help people with speech and language problems to speak more clearly.

TransferPatient discharge from one level of care to another.

Transitional CareA set of actions designed to ensure the coordination and continuity of health care as patients transfer between different locations or different levels of care within the same location.