Aging Care Terms


Activities of Daily Living (ADL): basic activities a person performs each day, such as eating, bathing, dressing, grooming, bathing, toileting and transferring (walking).

Adult Protective Services (ADPS): An agency that protects vulnerable adults from abuse, neglect, exploitation, or self-neglect.

Aging: The act of growing older.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF): Long term housing that provides personal care and services such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, transportation, and recreational activities.

Beneficiary: A persona designated as the recipient of funds, a will or trust, or life insurance.

Care Manager/Case Manager: One who assists, identifies, and coordinated healthcare services.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA): A state licensed individual who assists and report to Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN) in basic patient care including the activities of daily living.

Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA): See Stroke

Co-Insurance (Co-Pay): A patient’s share of the costs of a covered healthcare service after the insurance payment portion.

Companionship Care: See Home Care

Deductible: An annual amount of money that is owed prior to an Insurance company paying for a healthcare claim.

Depression: A mood disorder that causes a feeling of sadness and loss of interest in life.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR): A form that alerts emergency health personnel that the patient does not wish to receive extreme measures to be taken to resuscitate, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a loss of consciousness.  A form that alerts emergency health personnel that the patient does not wish to receive extreme measures to be taken to resuscitate, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in a loss of consciousness.

Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA): A legal document that names a persona as your healthcare agent to oversee financial, legal and health issues in the event that a patient is unable to make such decisions themselves.

Elder Law/ Attorney: Area of legal practice focusing on issues involving the aging population.

End of Life Care: Care of those with a terminal illness, disease or condition that results in a special end of life care plan.

Enteral Nutrition: Use of tubes to administer fluids, nutrients, and medications into the digestive tract.

Estate Planning: Preparing per-death directives related to a person’s assets, finances, insurance, and debt.

Extended Congregate Care License (ECC): An additional license that an assisted living facility has to provide additional nursing services, including total assistance with activities of daily living, oxygen, diabetic management, colostomy care, feeding tubes, and two person transfers.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA): A United States federal law that allows employees job protection and unpaid leave for qualified medical and family reasons.

Guardian (ship): One who cares for and maintains legal responsibility for a person (ward) deemed by the judicial court system unable to care for him or herself. Court Appointed.

Healthcare Directives: Legal Documents that outline instructions for specific care preferences. They include Health Care Surrogate, Do Not Resuscitate, and Living Will forms.

Healthcare Surrogate: A person selected to make healthcare decisions for a patient that is executed when a patient can no longer make healthcare decisions for themselves.

Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act (HIPPA): Federal laws that protect a patient’s personal identification and medical information for those that are not entitled to their private information.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): Insurance plans that regulate which healthcare providers may be utilized when needed. Authorizations are required for some health providers within their approved network. They are more restrictive than a Preferred Provider Organization (PPO).

Home Care/ Health/Custodial: Services provided to a patient in their homes that need help with their activities of daily living (ADL’s), including supervision, companionship, transportation, and skilled nursing services private pay.

Home Health Skilled Care: Skilled services provided to a patient in their home that may include physical, occupational or speech therapies, nursing services, injections, IV’s, wound care, medical tests, and monitoring of health status.

Home Health Aide (HHA): A nurse’s aide. See CAN.

Hospice: An organization that specializes in the care of terminally ill patients. Their focus is providing compassionate emotional, spiritual, and physical care both the patient and family.

Hyper/Hypo: Hyper means more than normal; Hypo means less than normal.

Hypertension/Hypotension: High or Low blood pressure levels.

Incontinence: Inability to control bladder or bowel functions.

Independent Living Facility (ILF): Communities for those over 55 years old that provide room, board, meals, transportation, housekeeping, and recreational programs.

Informed Consent: A written agreement a patient signs for permission for a medical procedure (such as surgery) after having been informed of potential risks, benefits, and side effects.

Limited Nursing Services License (LNS): An additional license that an assisted living facility  has to provide additional nursing services to their residents in addition to assistance with activities of daily living, ADLs.

Limited Mental Health License (LMH): An additional license that an assisted living facility must when providing mental health assistance to three or more residents (state specific).

Living Will: Part of a health care directive which outlines instructions of personal healthcare preferences in the event they cannot communicate their wishes. It includes any preferred life prolonging measures.

Long Term Care Facility (LTC): Facility for people who require physical or emotional assistance over an extended period of time.

Long Term Care Insurance: Insurance coverage for healthcare at home assisted living facility, or a nursing home that pays part or all of the cost of care when needed.

Managed Care: A Healthcare system provided by an insurance company that has a primary goal of reducing costs of care for its members.

Medicaid: This federally funded, state run program low income people to assist in paying for medical care.

Medicare: Federal Health Insurance program for individuals 65 years or older and older adults with disabilities.

Medicare Supplement Insurance/ Medigap: An Insurance program that pays what is not covered by Medicare, such as annual deductibles, and co-payments.

Memory Care Assisted Living: An assisted living facility that specializes in offering memory care assistance to those that may have dementia, Alzheimer’s and/or other diseases.

Nursing Home: Facilities that provide long and short term care for patients. They are also referred to as Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF), and provide both long and short term care for patients.

Occupational Therapist (OT): A licensed therapist that offer patients safety training for executing the activities of daily living ADL’s safely.

Physical Therapist (PT): A licensed therapist that provide strengthening of muscles, gait training, and endurance building in walking, transferring and bed mobility.

Preferred Provider Organization (PPO): An Insurance plan that is more flexible for healthcare providers than an HMO and is usually more costly.

Primary Care Physician (PCP): A licensed doctor that provides oversight to the patient’s entire care plan. A primary care physician is responsible for making referrals to specialists when needed.

Rehabilitation: Treatment that aids in the process of recovery from an injury, illness, or disease.

Respite Care: Temporary care of a dependent person giving relief to the primary caregiver. This care can be paid or unpaid, in a facility or in a private home.

Sandwich Generation: People that are typically between 30 to 60 years of age who are simultaneously responsible for their own children and caring for aging parents.

Senior Center: Type of community center for older adults to engage in a variety of social, physical, emotional and intellectual activities.

Skilled Care: Nursing and/or rehabilitation care, management, observation and evaluation in either a facility or a private home given by nurses and therapists.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF): A facility that provides short rehabilitation nursing and therapy care for patients. 

Social Security: Federal program that provides monthly financial assistance for retired, low income and disabled citizens.

Speech Therapist: A licensed therapist that assist patients with swallowing difficulties. They provide muscle training in the throat to help advance a patient’s food diet to regular foods.

Stroke: When blood flow fails to reach the brain due to blockage or rupture of an artery, causing brain cells to die quickly due to a lack of oxygen. Symptoms may be slurred speech, paralysis of one side of the body and weakness. Also known as a Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA).

Sub-Acute Care: Inpatient care for patients who are medically stable and no longer require an acute care hospital stay. Step down from an Inpatient hospital stay.

Veterans Benefits: Health and other benefits provided due to a person’s military service. All benefits are administered by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs.