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Helpful Terminology

We are here to help decode the language of aging.

Click on the word below to learn more.

Acute Care2020-03-21T16:12:10+00:00

Acute care is provided to those patients who are expected to recover from their medical condition and continue to live their normal life without further medical assistance after the recovery process.



ADLs or activities of daily living are described as non-medical activities that are required at home. These include, but are not limited to: dressing, bathing, eating, and toileting. Most senior care company caregivers are the ones responsible for providing patients with assistance in this area.

Source: New LifeStyles

Adult Day Care2020-03-21T16:12:17+00:00

Adult Day Care Centers are designed to provide care and companionship for older adults who need assistance or supervision during the day. Programs offer relief to family members and caregivers, allowing them to go to work, handle personal business, or just relax while knowing their relative is well cared for and safe. There are two types of adult day care: 1) Adult social day care provides social activities, meals, recreation, and some health-related services. 2) Adult day health care offers intensive health, therapeutic, and social services for individuals with serious medical conditions and those at risk of requiring nursing home care.


Advanced Directive2020-03-21T16:12:20+00:00

Advance directives are legal papers that tell your doctor and loved ones about the kind of care you want if you become very ill, and you can’t make choices for yourself. Some important advance directives to have are a living will, power of attorney, and a Do Not Resuscitate Order.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors

Alzheimer’s Disease2020-03-21T16:12:23+00:00

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, and accounts for 60-80% of dementia cases.


Assisted Living2020-03-21T16:12:26+00:00

Assisted living facilities provide individualized health and personal care assistance in a homelike setting with an emphasis on personal dignity, autonomy, independence and privacy. Facilities can be large apartment-like settings or private residences. Services include meals, bathing, dressing, toileting, and administrating or supervising medication.

Source: New LifeStyles


A family caregiver is someone who is responsible for attending to the daily needs of another person. Family caregivers are responsible for the physical, emotional and often financial support of another person who is unable to care for him/herself due to illness, injury or disability. The care recipient may be a family member, life partner or friend. ( A hired caregiver can be found through a qualified home health agency or independently, through online or social sources.


Continuing Care Retirement Community is a combined independent living, assisted living, and nursing in a single setting. Normally requiring an entry free, offering a living unit, meals, and healthcare up to the nursing level.

Source: New LifeStyles

Chronic Illness or Condition2020-03-21T16:12:36+00:00

A chronic illness or condition holds one or more of the following characteristics: permanency, residual disability, rehabilitation, requires long-term care, supervision, or observation. It is any condition or disease that cannot be completely cured and lasts for a long period of time.



The percentage of the cost a person pays after he or she has paid their deductible.

Congestive Heart Failure2020-03-21T16:12:45+00:00

Congestive heart failure, or CHF, is a condition that occurs when the heart cannot efficiently pump blood. Through the progression of the condition, the heart muscle walls may eventually weaken. As a result, the kidney begins to retain fluids and other parts of the body become congested.



The fixed price a person pays for a medical visit or service after their deductible has been paid.


A cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, is an emergency method used to care for someone whose heart stopped beating or has stopped breathing. CPR can be provided in the form of mouth-to-mouth breathing, pressing on the chest, using breathing tubes, or using electric shock to restart the heart.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors

Day Care2020-03-21T16:12:52+00:00

For those with a need for more intensive care such as rehab, therapeutic activities, meals and counseling, research your local adult day programs, which are often affiliated with hospitals, nursing homes, religious organizations and nonprofits. It can be a less expensive option than hiring in-home care.

Source: AARP


The amount the you have to pay out of pocket before your insurance plan kicks in and helps pay for medical costs.


Dementia a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of cases. Dementia is not a specific disease. It’s an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.



A do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR order, is a medical order written by a doctor. It instructs health care providers not to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) if a patient’s breathing stops or if the patient’s heart stops beating. A DNR order allows you to choose whether or not you want CPR before an emergency occurs. It is specific about CPR. It does not provide instructions for other treatments, such as pain medicine, other medicines, or nutrition. The doctor writes the order only after talking about it with the patient (if possible), the proxy, or the patient’s family.


Geriatric Assessment2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

A geriatric assessment is a multidimensional evaluation of an elderly patient’s health to determine their physical, functional, emotional, and cognitive needs in order to improve their quality of life.



A program of palliative care consisting of medical, social, and support services provided to persons with a terminal illness and a physician’s prognosis of six months or less to live.

Source: New LifeStyles

In-Home Care2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00
  1. Home care: Includes providers of licensed healthcare services in the home and companies that provide non-medical assistance with such tasks as bathing, dressing, meal preparation, and transportation. (New LifeStyles)
  2. Home healthcare: Agencies offered skilled nursing services, wound care, distribution of medication, physical and rehabilitation therapies (Senior Living Choices)

Sources: New LifeStyles, Senior Living Choices

Independent Living2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Ideal for seniors who are able to live independently, and desire to live in a community with others of a similar age. Some consist of apartments or houses, whiles others consist of interior apartments within one central building. Some provide meals in a central dining room, transportation, and most provide social and recreational activities.

Source: San Antonio Seniors’ Guide

Living Will2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

A living will, also called a directive to physicians or advance directive, is a document that lets people state their wishes for end-of-life medical care, in case they become unable to communicate their decisions. It has no power after death.


Long Term Care2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Long term care focuses on patients who require medical attention for an extended period of time. Care is provided for those who need help carrying out normal daily activities due to cognitive issues or loss of muscular control and strength. Rehabilitation, skilled nursing, palliative care, supervision, and many other social and personal care are examples of services offered under long term care. Long term care may be provided at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and at home.


Memory Care2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Communities offering specialized programs for residents suffering from Alzheimer’s or other forms of memory loss. These programs can be offered by residential, assisted living, nursing centers and more.

Source: New LifeStyles


Licensed facilities providing 24-hour skilled nursing care and rehabilitation for those who have more extensive medical needs and health requirements. Residents may stay for a short-term period of time for rehab, or may need to stay for long-term care.

Source: San Antonio Seniors’ Guide

Palliative Care2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Palliative care is specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.


Power of Attorney2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Power of attorney is an advance directive that lets you pick someone to make medical choices for you if become very ill and you can’t make choices for yourself. This person might be a husband, wife or child. It could also be a friend or relative.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors


The monthly cost of a person’s health insurance.

Primary Care Doctor2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Your primary care doctor is the main doctor you visit first to provide you with basic care for your health concerns. They may refer you to a specialist or other healthcare providers as they see fit to assure you receive adequate care.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors


A referral is a request submitted by your doctor to transfer your care to a specialist. This may come in the form of a note or may be completed by the doctor’s office.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors

Respite Care2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

Respite means a period of rest or relief. Respite care provides a caregiver temporary relief from the responsibilities of caring for individuals with chronic physical or mental disabilities. Respite care is often referred to as a gift of time.


Senior Center2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

If your parent is fairly independent, with no major physical or mental problem, a senior center might be a good place to connect with others, exercise or to take some classes. Most communities have a center, and facilities often provide transportation.

Source: AARP


A specialist is a doctor who primarily concentrates on a specific field of medicine. Eye doctors (ophthalmologists), heart doctors (cardiologists), and ear, nose, and throat doctors (otolaryngologists) are a few examples.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors

Urgent Care Clinic2020-07-05T22:08:47+00:00

An urgent care clinic is also called a walk-in clinic and is for common medical problems that are NOT life-threatening emergencies, but should be taken care of quickly. You might go to a walk-in clinic is you can’t get an appointment with your primary care doctor right away or if you need to see a doctor at night or over the weekend.

Source: Taking Control of Your Healthcare: A Guide for Seniors

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