If you are an adult child helping a parent explore their options for senior care, some of the language and acronyms you encounter can be a little confusing. We thought it would be helpful, especially for the family caregivers in Illinois and Missouri who read our blog, if we decode some of the most commonly used senior care terms.

Glossary of Senior Care Terminology

-Activities of Daily Living (ADL): This term is used to describe the tasks each of us need to complete every day. They include bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, and walking.

-Adult Day Program:  These are centers that offer structured support and activities for seniors. They typically include lunch and/or dinner and snacks, life enrichment activities, medication assistance and close supervision. Many also include transportation.

-Aging in Place:  This popular buzz phrase is used to describe a senior living community’s ability to adapt the resident’s individual environment to allow them to safely spend the rest of their life in a single location.

-Aid & Attendance Benefit: This often overlooked benefit provides financial support to veterans and/or their surviving spouse when they need regular attendance from another person, have a vision impairment or are considered to be home-bound. There are financial and other conditions that must be met to receive this assistance.

-Ambulatory:  Health care professionals use this term to describe a person’s ability to walk without assistance.

-Assessment:  This is an evaluation of a person’s social abilities, emotional state and mental status. It helps senior living communities understand the level of care a new or current resident requires. A medical director or clinical team member typically administers the assessment.

-HIPAA (The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act):  This federal law was enacted in 1997. It restricts and protects an individual’s right to privacy with regard to health information and makes providers liable for enforcing those restrictions.

-Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL): Similar to ADLs mentioned above, these activities are the tasks we are each required to be able to complete to maintain independence. They include managing finances, driving or arranging for transportation, coordinating medical appointments and managing meal preparation or arranging for help.

-Medication Management:  These are the systems and rules in-home care providers and senior living communities adhere to when administering client and resident medications.

-Non-Ambulatory:  This term is used to indicate that a person is confined to a wheelchair or bed or is otherwise unable to walk without assistance.

-Person-Centered Care: This is a philosophy of caring for a senior living resident that gives them more power to make their own decisions. It allows them to have breakfast when they chose to, get up in the morning when they want and to have more control over the events and activities that make up their day.

-Resident Care Plan:  Each resident of a senior living community or long-term care center has a plan of care developed for them. It is made up of the care and services that are believed to be the best approach to helping them live their optimum life. Most communities routinely update these plans to meet residents changing needs.

-Respite Care:  This type of short-term care is designed to give weary caregivers a break. Respite can be provided by an in-home care provider or at a nursing home or senior living community.

We hope this glossary helps you decipher the terms you might encounter when exploring senior care for an aging loved one!

Do you live in Missouri or Illinois and need help managing the care of a senior loved one? Please call us at ACM Care at 877.323.5916 to arrange a time to talk. We would love to help you navigate these often confusing resources!