Senior Caring Senior Living Glossary

Senior Caring Senior Living Glossary

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Accreditation - A seal of approval given by a governing body to a housing and/or service provider. These organizations are not government agencies. To become accredited, a community or provider must meet specific requirements set by the accreditation organization.

Some examples of accreditation bodies include CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations).

Activities of Daily Living - Everyday activities such as bathing, grooming, getting dressed, eating, getting dressed, toileting, and more.

Acute - Sudden and severe condition

Adult Day Care -  Part- or full-time care provided during the daytime; aka “adult day service”

Advance Directive -  A written statement of an individual’s wishes regarding medical treatment; often includes a living will to ensure the wishes are carried out even if the person is mentally or physically unable to communicate them

Aging in Place - This is a concept that allows seniors to remain in their homes regardless of the physical or mental decline that may occur with the aging process.

Alzheimer’s Disease - The most common form of dementia; affects memory, thinking, and other cognitive abilities

Assisted Living Care - Long-term care option for seniors that cannot live alone and require assistance to complete ADLs; offer various levels of personal and medical care in a home-like setting

Caregiver - The primary person caring for another individual who is ill, disabled, or elderly

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) - Agency responsible for financing and administering Medicare and Medicaid

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) - A trained and certified health care professional who assists with health care needs, ADLs, and beside care under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN).

Chronic - Lasting, lingering or prolonged illness or symptom

Cognition - The process of knowing, being aware of thoughts; the ability to reason and understand

Conservator - A court-appointed person to act as the legal representative of a person who is mentally or physically incapable of managing their financial and legal responsibilities

Continuing Care Communities (CCRC) - A senior living option that provides independent living care, assisted living care and skilled nursing/rehabilitation services in a campus-style setting; allows seniors to stay in one community as they age, but still get the level of care needed

Convalescent Home - Short-term care where a patient can recover from an illness or injury and then return home

Dementia - A progressive neurological, cognitive, or medical condition that affects memory, judgment, and cognitive abilities

Durable Power of Attorney (DPA) - A legal document to give another person the authority to make financial and health care decisions

Hospice Care - End-of-life care focused on comforting an individual, rather than curing; addresses physical, spiritual, social and emotions needs of dying individuals

In-home Care - Care that takes place at home; levels of care can range from companionship all the way up to skilled nursing care including Alzheimer’s/dementia care and hospice or palliative care

Independent Living - Senior living option that allows older adults to maintain an active lifestyle without the burden of managing a home

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) - A licensed, certified, health care professional that provides basic care for sick and disabled patients in a medical or home environment

Living will - A legal document to specify medical of life-sustaining treatments in the event the patient is unable to make decisions or communicate

Long-term Care - A variety of services that include medical and non-medical care to people who have a chronic illness or disability

Occupational Therapy (OT) - A form of therapy for those recuperating from physical or mental illness that encourages rehabilitation through the performance of activities required in daily life

Ombudsman - An advocate for patient rights and improvements in the long-term care system

Personal Care -  Assistance with ADLs such as getting out of bed, bathing, toileting, dressing, walking or eating

Physical Therapy (PT) - The treatment of disease, injury, or deformity by physical methods such as massage, heat treatment, and exercise rather than by drugs or surgery

Quality of Life - The standard of health, comfort, and happiness experienced by an individual or group

Registered Nurse (RN) - A nurse who has graduated from a college’s nursing program or from a school of nursing and has passed a national licensing exam

Rehabilitative Care - Care services to assist those recovering from illness, injury, or disease

Resident - Person living in a long term care community

Respiratory Therapy - Treatment to assist patients who have breathing issues

Respite Care - Short-term care of a dependent elderly or disabled person for the purpose of giving a break to caregivers

Skilled Nursing Home - A facility licensed by the state to provide 24-hour skilled nursing care, room and board, and activities for residents with chronic or long-term illnesses

Speech Therapy - Treatment of a variety conditions affecting language, communication, eating or swallowing

Spousal Impoverishment Protection Law - Law that permits a healthy spouse to keep some of the couple’s income and assets, while the other spouse is in a nursing home on Medicaid


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