Senior Living Glossary of Terms – Part One

Definitions of Common Senior Living Terms

When you’re first beginning to research senior housing, learning about the various options and services provided by today’s senior living communities can feel like an overwhelming process. In part one of a two-part series, we break down some of the common senior healthcare services offered by today’s senior living communities, as well as some of the options for paying for senior care.

Senior Healthcare Services Defined

Adult Day Care: specialized day care for seniors who need companionship and/or are physically or emotionally disabled and, thus, need support in a safe and secure environment. The care is only provided during daytime hours with the recipient returning home in the evening. Also known as Adult Day Services.

Advanced Pulmonary Care: specialized pulmonary treatment plans including ventilator care, tracheotomy, COPD and chronic emphysema treatment and more.

Alzheimer’s Disease: a degenerative brain disease that affects memory and cognitive function, with symptoms including memory loss, confusion with time or place, changes in mood or behavior, language and speech problems, difficulty completing tasks, poor judgment, withdrawal from social activities and wandering.

CNA: Certified Nursing Assistant. The CNA works under the direction of a licensed nurse to provide attentive care.

Geriatrician: a medical doctor who specializes in the care of seniors and develops care plans that specifically address the health care needs of the elderly.

Gerontologist: a professional who studies the social, psychological, cognitive and biological aspects of aging.

Hospice: compassionate care and comfort provided to those with a terminal illness, as well as support to their family members. Hospice care can be provided in-home or within a care community.

LTC – long-term care. Includes a variety of healthcare services for an extended period of time, usually a month or longer, to those with chronic health conditions or illnesses.

Occupational Therapy: a form of therapy provided by an occupational therapist to those recovering from an illness or injury to improve the ability to complete daily tasks, such as eating, bathing, dressing and homemaking.

Palliative Care: specialized care for those with serious or terminal illnesses that focuses on providing relief from the symptoms, pain and stress associated with the condition.

Person-Centered Care: also known as the Culture Change Model, a form of long term care that focuses on nurturing and guiding the individual. Resident choice is honored, as caregivers follow an individualized care plan based on the likes and dislikes of the resident, ensuring the highest quality of life possible and improving life expectancy.

Physical Therapy: a form of therapy that utilizes specific exercises and physical activities under the direction of a therapist to condition muscles, restore strength and movement, and help regain functional abilities.

Rehabilitation: the method of restoring individuals who have been incapacitated by injury or disease and returning them to their highest possible level of function, independence and quality of life. Rehabilitation often includes a combination of physical, occupational and speech/language therapies.

Respite Care: temporary care that provides relief for a family caregiver who cannot care for someone over a period of a day or longer. Respite care is often provided at a retirement community or in one’s home and allows the caregiver to attend to their own needs or take a break from caregiving duties.

RN – Registered Nurse.

Skilled Nursing: the level of care that must be provided by or supervised by a registered nurse. Usually provided within a nursing home, skilled nursing services include 24-hour nursing care, room and board and activities for the resident.

Speech Therapy: the rehabilitation process for those who have difficulty communicating verbally due to physical or cognitive problems. It includes both speech and language rehabilitation.

Paying for Senior Care

Affordable Housing: low-cost housing opportunities for those of modest income. Eligible individuals traditionally must have finances that fall between 30 percent and 60 percent of the median income of the county in which the affordable housing is located.

CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services): a division of the federal government within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that oversees and manages the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI): separate from your current health insurance policy, LTCI will most often cover skilled nursing care, assisted living costs, memory care, hospice care and respite care.

Medicaid: a government program providing health care and health-related services to those with limited income. The program is federally funded and administered by the individual states. There are income eligibility criteria one must meet to receive funding.

Medicare: the federal, nationwide health insurance program which is administered by the social security administration for those over the age of 65. This program reimburses doctors, hospitals and skilled care facilities for care provided for qualified patients.

Part two of our senior living glossary series will be available very soon, and will feature more definitions and descriptions of today’s senior housing options and other miscellaneous terms.

Click here for more information about the senior care services available at American Senior Communities.