glossary of assisted living terms
Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Activities of Daily Living, also known as “ADLs” are the day-to-day activities we
do sustain ourselves, such as eating, drinking, bathing, toileting, dressing, and
grooming. The appropriate care type for senior seeking senior living is largely
based on the amount and degree of assistance with ADLs required.
Adult Day Center
Also called Adult Day Services, Adult Day Care, or Adult Day Health Centers,
these facilities and programs provide regular daytime care to senior adults for
socialization, recreation, help with personal care, safety, and in some cases,
health and rehabilitation-related services.
Area Agency on Aging
The local or regional agency established under the Federal Older Americans
Act to coordinate and provide a wide variety of services to the elderly.
Assessment/ Care Plan
Shortly before you move into a senior living community (assisted living or
memory care), the staff will conduct an assessment. The assessment is a
process to gather information about a person’s life, functional abilities and
needs, and is used to develop an individualized care plan. The care plan
describes the activities that the staff will perform to enhance, restore or
maintain one’s optimal physical, mental and social well-being.
Assisted living residences offer private, homelike living space (for example,
an apartment, private room, or cottage) with services to support activities of
daily living. Some assisted living residences also offer health care services.
Most residences include housekeeping, meals and activity programs.
Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC’s)
Retirement communities that include various levels of care – from residential
independent living to assisted living to skilled nursing care. Most CCRC’s offer
residency agreements, which include future health services and access to the
levels of care.
Disorders of the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses that
result in a decline in the memory and other intellectual functions.
A service provided through hospitals and other health care providers to help
place a convalescing patient in an appropriate care setting, or to arrange
appropriate services at home.
Durable Power of Attorney
A legal document executed as part of a person’s estate planning. In it, the
person names an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” to act on his or her behalf in
business and/or health care matters.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Also called a “Health Care Appointment” or a “Health Care Proxy.” This is a
legal document that lets you give someone else the power to make health care
decisions for you if a time comes that you can’t speak for yourself.
Executive Director/ Activities Director
The Executive Director runs a senior living community. The Activities Director
runs events, parties, social and recreational activities at a senior living community.
Health Care Directive
Also called a “Living Will.” This is a document that lets you say what kinds of
care you would want and not want if you were nearing the end of your life.
Usually deals with life-sustaining measures.
Home Health Care
Health care services provided in the home. Includes care and support provided
by home health aides, certified nursing assistants, registered and licensed
nurses, rehabilitation therapists, and social workers. Personal care assistants
may also provide assistance with certain activities.
Care for the terminally ill and their families, emphasizing pain management
and controlling symptoms, rather than seeking a cure. Offered by hospitals,
long-term care facilities and hospice organizations, on an inpatient basis or
Also called “residential independent living” or “congregate care.” Retirement
communities offer independent senior living in a variety of settings such as
apartments, cottages, duplex homes and patio homes. Residents must be
able to live safely in the independent environment. Typical services offered by
the retirement community include housekeeping, transportation, activities and
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
Instrumental Activities of Daily Living IADLs are the secondary level of daily
activities we do to sustain ourselves such as cooking, writing and driving.
See “Health Care Directive.”
Meals On Wheels
Community-based meal service that delivers meals to the homes of senior
adults at a modest charge.
A joint state/federal program which helps pay the medical expenses of
low-income individuals who meet the program’s qualifying standards.
Long-term care and assisted living, the ombudsman program provides
advocacy and trouble-shooting support for residents. Open access to the
ombudsman is a protected resident right.
Power of Attorney
A legal document that gives another person legal authority to act on one’s
Temporary care for a person, provided by a home health care agency or other
provider, in order to give the person’s regular caregiver rest and personal time.
Respite care can be in the home, at an adult day center, assisted living or
memory care community, or in a long-term care facility or hospital.
Skilled Nursing Facility
Also called “nursing homes,” these facilities play two important roles: they
provide rehabilitation or “sub-acute care” for people who have been discharged
from the hospital but are not medically or physically able to return home; and
they provide extended long-term care to frail or chronically ill persons who
require a higher level of skilled nursing and medical supervision than is
available in other settings.
VA Benefits/ Aid and Attendance
The Veterans Benefits Administration provides financial assistance to those who
require the aid and attendance of another person. If you are a veteran or were
married to a veteran who has passed away, and you need help with ADLs, you
may be eligible for an additional amount in addition to your VA pension.
Wills and Trusts
Wills and living trusts are the legal methods used to designate what happens
to your possessions and money after you die. A will simply specifies, in writing,
who gets what, and how much. A living trust is an alternative to a will. A senior
who prefers a trust puts their assets in the trust and names a person to take
charge in case of death or incapacitation.