ADL describes the basic daily physical activities of an independent person. These include eating, grooming, dressing, toileting, walking, taking medication, and other personal care functions.
Adult Day Care
A daytime program for older adults in a group setting, adult day care centers typically provide structured activities, meals, and various programs. Some centers are specially equipped to provide skilled medical care. Additional services like transportation may be available for additional fees.
Administration on Aging (AoA)
The AoA is an advocate agency in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, representing older persons at the federal level. Functions include policy development to ensure proper home and community-based services for elders and their caregivers. AoA works in cooperation with a national network of State and Area Agencies on Aging (AAA).
The Area Agency on Aging is the local affiliate of the AoA, providing information on and referrals to available home & community-based care options, case management, protective services and various other programs (i.e. senior centers).
Aging in Place
Aging is place is an idea that suggests older adults should be able to stay in the setting of their choice even as they move through age-related physical/mental changes.
Communities that specialize in Alzheimer's care place an emphasis on safety, structure, and personalized attention. All staff and medical personnel are trained to understand and serve the special needs of its residents who have Alzheimer's disease. These communities are often called special care units or memory support neighborhoods.
The term ambulatory refers to an individual's ability to walk/move about freely, as opposed to an individual who is bedridden or wheelchair-bound.
Assisted Living Facilities
Assisted living facilities are professionally managed residences that provide a unique combination of independent living and personalized 24-hour care by assisting elders in their daily lives, including but not limited to preparing their meals, facilitating transportation, maintaining their homes, assistance with bathing, and managing their medication. Assisted living facilities are often licensed and regulated by state government; some states also license personal care homes, which offer comparable levels of care to assisted living facilities.
A caregiver is typically a family member or close friend who provides (uncompensated) care for an aging/disabled individual.
A system used to assess, coordinate, and implement necessary health care support services for seniors and their families. Geriatric Care Managers often work with families to access these services.
Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
A certified nursing assistant, also known as a can, is a trained and certified assistant who works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to provide personal care services to residents including bathing, dressing, housekeeping, etc.
Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
These communities offer a range of housing options and services (often called the continuum of care) in a single or adjacent location that can meet the changing needs of seniors, so that they can seamlessly upgrade their level of care as needed. Housing options at continuing care retirement communities include, but are not limited to, independent living, congregate housing, assisted living, and nursing care. In addition to monthly fees, a CCRC resident contract often requires an entry fee, which may be partially or fully refundable.
Dementia is a global term that encompasses memory loss and other changes in brain function that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's (accounting for 50-70% of all cases of dementia).
Elder Care Attorney
An elder care attorney focuses on the legal needs of the elderly; they may assist seniors and their families with locating/financing long term care, estate planning, and crafting alternative decision-making documents (i.e. power of attorney, advanced directives, etc.)
Health Care Power of Attorney
Health care power of attorney means that elders legally give the health care decision-making rights to another person in the event that he or she may not be able to make or communicate one's own health care decisions.
Home & Community-Based Services (HCBS)
HCBS encompasses an array of social and supportive services that may be provided in the home or in a community setting (such as a senior center). Some HCBS are funded by government programs and are administered through the local Area Agency on Aging.
For seniors who wish to remain living in their own homes, but who need some assistance with activities of daily life (eating, bathing, dressing), home care services can bridge the gap and provide the help they need. Sometimes, companion services may also be provided for lonely or isolated seniors.
Home Health Agency (HHA)
HHAs facilitate and provide home care services such as physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, and other care.
Home Health Care
For elders who do not require 24-hour supervision, home health care is a viable alternative to a nursing home or hospital. Usually under the direction of a physician, home health care is provided through a Home Health Agency, which offers a variety of services to accommodate a patient's needs.
Hospice care is provided to help comfort terminally ill individuals and their families, and come to terms with and enhance the final months of life.
Seniors who choose independent living live on their own and care for themselves, but in a community in which household services, recreational and social outings, and property maintenance are available to them.
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
IADL encompasses the more complex social and cognitive tasks associated with independent living, including taking medications, using the telephone, meal preparation, shopping, managing money, and cooking.
When a person loses some of all of their functioning abilities because of a chronic illness, dementia, or other health issue, it becomes necessary to receive long-term care services. This can include medical and other personal care services in the home provided either by family, with home care assistance, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home.
Long-Term Care Insurance
To help alleviate long term care expenses, older adults may take out long-term care insurance policies. Because of the growth in the need for various care options not covered by other types of insurance, many major long-term care insurance policies cover some of the cost.
Managed care means that a patient agrees to stay within a network of doctors to maintain set health care costs.
Medicaid is government-funded health insurance for low-income individuals/families who meet state/federal guidelines for eligibility (states administer the programs). Payment for services is sent directly to the health care provider.
Medicare is government-funded health insurance for Americans aged 65 and older; sometimes, those under 65 are eligible if they have certain qualifying conditions. There are 4 components to coverage: Part A (hospital), Part B (medical), Part C (Advantage plans), and Part D (prescription drugs).
Medigap is an insurance policy program that supplements Medicare benefits, to help pay for Medicare deductibles, prescription drugs, or other services beyond Medicare's support.
Nursing Home/Skilled Nursing
At one time, nursing home/skilled nursing was the only type of supportive senior housing available; now, this setting of care is most utilized by those with serious, chronic care needs. Sometimes, individuals with acute conditions - such as a stroke or heart attack - or those who have undergone major surgeries - access skilled nursing for short-term rehab purposes.
An occupational therapist is a professional who helps patients learn to cope with the tasks of everyday living despite physical or developmental limitations.
The Ombudsman Program is a public advocacy program supported by the government that advocates for the rights of those residing in 24-hour long-term care facilities. Program volunteers help by monitoring facilities and helping residents resolve any conflicts with the staff.
A physical therapist is a professional who works with patients to promote movement, restore function, reduce pain, and ultimately prevent the loss of mobility.
Prior to being admitted to a nursing home or other long-term care facility, a senior may be scheduled for pre-admission screening to assess the level of his or her functioning capabilities and medical and personal care needs. This professional screening helps to determine which particular type of facility will best meet the needs of the patient.
Resident Care Plan
Upon entry into a nursing facility, a team works to create a written plan of care for each resident. A resident care plan outlines the resident's medical, nursing, personal care, and social needs, and lists services that are to be provided.
The process of rehabilitation serves to improve, recover, and ultimately restore functions lost after an event, serious illness or injury (i.e., stroke, severe burns, or a spinal cord injury).
When caregivers are in need of temporary assistance with their caregiving duties, respite care services take over. Respite care may be accessed in a number of venues, ranging from a short-term stay in a nursing/assisted living facility, use of adult day services, or in-home care.
A popular choice for active lifestyle seniors, retirement living offers a broad range of on-site amenities and social activities. Retirement communities usually have a 55+ or 62+ minimum age requirement.
A senior center is a community facility (typically supported by the Area Agency on Aging) that provides a range of social activities, meals, and some basic health care services (such as flu shots or blood pressure screenings) for local seniors.
Assisted living, nursing homes, and retirement communities comprise the most popular senior housing options for those who seek the social aspect of living among other seniors, or require specialized care in their later years.
Sometimes called respite care, short-term care services temporarily take over for regular caregivers to provide relief.