In the world of senior care, there are many acronyms and terms that can be confusing. The glossary of terms is here to clarify and provide in-depth explanations for the most common terms you may run across along the journey of aging.
Pro Tip: If you’re looking to break into the world of caregiving, be sure to read my guide: What Is a Caregiver. Here you’ll find all sorts of practical knowledge related to providing physical, mental, and financial care to a friend or loved one.
Senior Care Terms (and What They Mean)
ADLs (Activities of Daily Living): These are the abilities that are developed in early childhood. For example, being able to dress one’s self, tooth-brushing, bathing, feeding one’s self, being able to coordinate movements to get from one space to another. (See also IADLs)
Adult Day Care (aka Day Program): A facility that provides strictly day-time, supervised care for older adults with physical and/or mental limitations and who should not be left on their own. In addition to supplying the appropriate medical and/or psychological support, these adults are provided meals and the opportunity to socialize, while also allowing family members/caregivers a respite. To learn more about this helpful type of community, read my guide: What Is Adult Day Care?
AD (Advanced Directive): There are various forms of an advance directive, though the two most common forms are (1) a Living Will and (2) a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care. The Living Will is a legal document, witnessed (or notarized), and signed by a competent person. Should that person, who has become a patient, no longer be competent to make decisions about their healthcare, the document contains instructions for the patient’s attending physician stating what the patient wishes to be done regarding prolonging their life. The Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care gives the person selected by the patient permission to make healthcare decisions for that patient, if the patient is no longer able to do so. If such documents have not been created, it will be left to the attending physician or possibly others, who may not know what the patient would have preferred, to apply or withhold life-prolonging measures.
AFC (Adult Foster Care: aka Adult Care Home): AFCs are group homes or private homes for adults, with mental, emotional and/or physical disabilities. The residents need help with daily tasks (getting to and from appointments or work; taking meds; meal preparation, etc.), cannot live independently but, because they still maintain a level of self-reliance, are not eligible for a nursing home. Though some are placed in AFCs by family, most become residents chiefly through the involvement of government or private agencies.
Aging in Place: Aging in place refers to the senior continuing to age in the home of their choice versus taking up residence in a senior health care facility. This choice indicates that they can have all their needs met, through a blend of their own efforts and those of caregivers, both professional and/or nonprofessional. It is understood that the time may come when a move to a facility (whether assisted living, a nursing home or an Alzheimer’s or a dementia care unit) is required for the safety of the senior and their caregivers. To learn more, read my guide: What Is Aging in Place?
AHC (At Home Care): A level of care in which the patient has healthcare issues but, with the assistance of a family member or friend or some other trusted person (i.e., a person who does not need professional training) can manage daily activities such as ensuring medications are taken, meals eaten, etc. Such a level of treatment allows the patient to continue to reside safely in their own home.
ALF (Assisted Living Community): A supportive housing facility designed for those who need extra help in their day-to-day lives but who do not require the 24-hour skilled nursing care found in skilled nursing facilities or traditional nursing homes. There are many terms for the facilities that may also be used under this category but may have different licensing criteria depending on geography. They include, though are not limited to, the following: Adult Family Homes, Adult Foster Care, Adult Care Home, Adult Living Facilities, Board and Care Homes, Board and Lodging, Community Based Retirement Facilities, Community Residences, Domiciliary Care, Group Homes, Non-Medical Senior Housing, Personal Care Facilities, Personal Care Homes, Residential Care, Residential Care Facilities, Sheltered Housing.
Alzheimer’s: There is much confusion among those both inside as well as outside the scientific community concerning the precise distinction between Alzheimer’s and dementia. However, though the two terms are often used interchangeably, Alzheimer’s is a specific form of or cause of dementia but, unlike certain forms of dementia, is not curable. The chief symptoms of Alzheimer’s involve its effects on the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. [For more information, see Dementia below]
ALZ (Alzheimer’s Care Unit or Special Care, but more commonly termed Memory Care or a Memory Care Facility or Unit): A separate, secured area where those with Alzheimer’s (and those suffering from some form of dementia, vascular dementia, Lewy Body Dementia, Huntington’s, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease to name a few) are cared for by staff who are sufficiently trained and capable of providing the needed support and hands-on care to these patients.
Americans with Disability Act (aka American Disability Act): Devised in 1990, this act serves to protect the civil rights of the disabled. Among the forms of discrimination now rendered illegal is the failure of all who own public buildings to provide suitable ramps, etc., where needed to ensure access.
AoA (Administration on Aging): The AoA, is a division of the Department of Health and Human Services. This Federal agency is dedicated to promoting matters of interest for older people and their caregivers. The AoA works under the auspices of the Aging Services Network to develop the most effective system of home and community-based long-term care, drawing on locally-based service providers. Additionally, the AoA administers funds to support those services. Each AoA (there are several in each state, each serving a specific region) is also intended to provide quality assurance of the services provided. It is understood that this system must be built on the preferences and requirements of seniors and those who take care of them. (See also Older Americans Act of 1965
BID (meaning two times per day): As seen on a prescription bottle, BID (alternatively b.i.d. or bid) is an abbreviation of the Latin “bis in die” meaning “two times a day,” referring to the number of doses the patient should be given of that medication per day.
CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community, may be termed a Life Care Retirement Community (LCRC)): A community, or campus, divided into separate sections, each of which accommodates residents at a specific stage of life and may include (a) Independent Care, to (b) Assisted Living to (c) Memory Care to (d) Skilled Nursing and Rehabilitation (long- or short-term). Living in such a community allows a resident access to various levels of care, as needed.
CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant): A CNA, working under the direction of a registered or a practical nurse, fulfills many basic needs regarding direct patient care, including, among other things, feeding, dressing, assisting with matters of hygiene, taking vital signs, collecting specimens, accompanying to and from appointments or while taking exercise and often providing emotional support.
Companion Living: Companion Living, within an Assisted Living Facility, involves two unrelated people of the same sex sharing a suite, whether in independent living, assisted living, or memory care. This option is meant to encourage socialization, increase the sense of personal security, and to contribute to happier and healthier residents, while also allowing these residents to save money by sharing expenses.
Conservator: A conservator is the legally-appointed representative of an individual (a conservatee) who has been deemed incapable of managing their own financial affairs and, in some cases, their own personal affairs as well. By personal affairs is meant the issues of day-to-day living including healthcare and living arrangements. The process of appointment begins with a petition, produced by a friend or relative of the individual in question, to the local superior court.
Dementia: While frequently confused with Alzheimer’s (even by doctors), dementia is a general term for a range of mental impairments that can be caused by numerous ailments including Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s Disease, Parkinson’s Disease, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Once the origin of the dementia has been ascertained, it may be that it can be cured. Among the common causes of such forms of treatable dementia are depression, drug or alcohol abuse, hypothyroidism, adverse effects of drugs, and nutritional conditions like vitamin B-12 deficiency. The chief symptoms of dementia are an impaired ability to communicate and difficulty in accomplishing routine daily activities. [For more information, see Alzheimer’s above.]
DME (Durable Medical Equipment): DME refers to equipment or devices that would be used by seniors (as well as others) who are still able to reside in their homes but require medical aids to do so. Medicare, or one’s insurance policy, will cover, all or in part, many such items. Among the dozens of items that may be covered are: Air cleaners, air conditioners, bathtub lifts and/or seats, Blood Glucose Monitors, Continuous Passive Motion devices, disposable sheets and bags, electric hospital beds, grab bars, nebulizers, portable room heaters, rolling chairs, respirators. Check with your insurance provider to see what they would cover.
DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order): A legal directive stating that no attempt to revive the patient should be attempted. Ideally, the patient created this document at the same time as their will. If the patient enters the hospital before creating such a directive, s/he can ask the attending physician to write such a document and attach it to that patient’s chart. If the patient fails to do this and then becomes incapable of providing direction, then a spokesperson that the patient appointed or, failing that, a family friend or a relative may be allowed to agree to a DNR for that patient.
ECC (Extended Congregate Care; see also IND below): ECC is a relatively recent development in the realm of Assisted Living Facilities. When Independent Living is no longer an option, but full-fledged Assisted Living would be excessive, residents can select this transitional level, which allows them to continue to reside in their own homes/separate living quarters, while also sharing one or more meals a day in a communal setting, and to benefit from services and activities similar to those found in Assisted Living.
EMS (Emergency Medical Services): Aka Paramedic Services or Ambulance Services. All these terms refer to the emergency medical treatment (by paramedics) and, when necessary, the transport (by ambulance service professionals) applied to those who have experienced a possibly life-threatening health situation following events like a car accident or an explosion. The EMS system serves and is integral to public health, health care, and public safety.
FC (FULL CODE): The term “Full code” refers to the permission given to the attending physician to do whatever is required to prolong the life of a given patient, a patient who is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. If this is what one would wish to occur, it is best to create a will or advanced directive stating so. To be clear: Until it is determined, if possible, what the patient’s wishes are in this matter, the attending physician will behave as though s/he had been informed to apply all methods possible to extend the patient’s life.
FWW (Front Wheeled Walker): A four-legged walker with the two rear legs having rubber-capped feet while the two front legs each have a wheel. The wheels result in improved stability, allowing the person using it to move more smoothly and easily, over even or rough terrain. Like other four-legged walkers, this can include a seat, permitting the user to either stand and push the walker or propel it forward while seated.
GCM (Geriatric Care Manager): A professional, paid a fee by the client, to help place a senior in the appropriate and best quality facility. (The fee is usually equivalent to one’s month’s rent at the facility chosen.) The GMC will also assist in the subsequent move. The GCM would replace a Placement and Referral Agency, the latter of which is paid by the facility that eventually acquires the applicant as a resident.
Green House Project [Not to be confused with the Greenhouse Project]: Among the new models for long-term, in-depth senior care that results in a stimulating rather than institutionalized atmosphere. The Green House Project works with companies or individuals to adapt preexisting buildings or to construct new residences that will serve as either assisted living facilities or nursing homes. GHP is an offshoot of the 1990’s Eden Alternative.
Hospice Care: Hospice Care refers to the support given to terminally ill patients who wish to, and can (with adequate support) remain in their homes versus entering a hospital, though a hospital- or clinic-stay may be required to treat a specific condition (pneumonia, e.g.). Those receiving hospice are tended largely by family, friends, possibly by clergy, all of whose efforts are supplemented by a limited amount of trained medical help, perhaps further reinforced with volunteer aid, to give both the patient and those supporting them a break. The point of Hospice Care (v. hospital-based Palliative Care: see definition below) is to allow the loved one the opportunity to approach end of life in familiar and comfortable surroundings, preserving that person’s sense of identity and dignity and with a minimum of anxiety.
HMO (Health Maintenance Organization): While there are several types of health care plans, one of the most popular is the prepaid HMO. Basically, HMO coverage applies only when you agree to use the specified doctors and facilities the HMO includes. These doctors agree to charge a reduced fee to the subscribers of the HMO in exchange for their best medical care. While the HMO aims to meet all the subscriber’s health needs, there are some potential negatives: e.g., one forfeits the ability to consult a physician or specialist outside the network (and have that visit be covered), as well as limiting the number of annual tests, treatments, and doctor visits. [See PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) for another popular health care option.]
Income Cap Trust: A legal document required by some state governments when a Medicaid applicant has more than the maximum amount of qualifying income (as of 2017 $2,205 per month). Some state governments supply the applicant with an income cap trust form; when this occurs, it is highly recommended that the applicant request that a Medicaid caseworker help them fill it out. Failing this, one should hire an eldercare lawyer to assist, if only to be certain of discovering all possible deductions as well as in devising a payment schedule for your chosen trustee to manage each month. Even if a caseworker assists you, you may want an eldercare lawyer to go over it before submitting it.
In-Home Care: A level of care in which the patient has health care issues but, with the assistance of a family member or friend or some other trusted person (i.e., a person who does not need professional training) to assist with daily activities and ensure medications are taken, meals eaten, etc., the patient can continue to reside safely in their own home. Ready our in-home care guide to learn more.
IADLs (Instrumental Activities of Daily Living): ADLs relate to basic abilities like dressing one’s self and performing basic hygiene. IADLs refers to more advanced and complicated tasks like balancing a checkbook, grocery shopping, meal preparation, driving, or taking public transportation.
ICF (Intermediate Care Facility): A health care facility catering to those with mental or physical issues that require constant care. Not considered a medical facility by the government, the payment source falls under Medicaid and private pay rather than Medicare. While state regulations do vary, federal regulations do require that each ICF have a registered nurse as the director of nursing, with a licensed nurse on duty at least eight hours of each day.
IND (Independent Care, Congregate Housing, or Retirement Living): Suitable for seniors who are active, mentally and physically, able to care for themselves, and who want to have their own home but as part of a community. Such a community, unlike an assisted care facility, is composed of separate residences with common, shared areas where the residents socialize. Certain amenities may be included, such as assistance with household or grounds maintenance tasks that, over time, have become arduous, freeing the residents to travel, engage in sports and other activities, in short to enjoy this time of life.
LMH (Limited Mental Health): LMH refers to the certification required for all staff, including administrators and managers, who work in a facility that houses at least three mental health patients, and that applies to those staff members who will have contact with any or all of those patients. The certification process varies from state to state, but generally involves a minimum of three hours of training, with continuing education required every two years.
LCRC (Life Care Retirement Community): See CCRC (Continuing Care Retirement Community).
Long-term Care Insurance: LTC Insurance may be helpful in defraying the costs of long-term health care, but may not be a worthwhile purchase unless the applicant has assets with a net worth greater than $150,000. Those with assets valued at less than $150,000 will generally be able to rely on Medicaid once funds are depleted to pay the balance due on their long-term care thus avoid paying the high premiums required for LTC. If you have any doubts or questions about this issue, contact Medicaid or an eldercare attorney.
Managed Care: “Managed” is the key term here, as in being thoroughly organized. This approach to health care is predicated on the coordination of the actions of all caregivers (whether professional or nonprofessional) involved in the care of a given senior. Sharing information among themselves regarding the patient’s status, the network of caregivers seeks to avoid the mistakes that can arise when any one of them is out of the loop. They will, most likely, rely on one of the downloadable apps (such as Caringbridge.com) to communicate with each other about the senior’s needs.
Medicaid: Created in 1965, Medicaid is a US-based social health care program providing low to no-cost health care, as well as long-term care, to families and individuals, regardless of age, with limited income and resources. It is funded by both the federal government and the states, but it is left up to each state to create their own regulations as to eligibility and appropriate benefits. If you are a current Medicaid recipient and preparing to move to another state, you are advised to check into that state’s Medicaid requirements.
Pro Tip: What is the difference between Medicare and Medicaid? Read our guide, Medicaid vs. Medicare to learn more.
Medical Director: A physician who operates as, in effect, chief of the medical staff in a hospital. This person’s responsibilities include overseeing all matters both medical and administrative, and possibly acting as a liaison for the medical staff with top management.
Medicare: Created in 1965 by Pres. Lyndon Johnson, Medicare is a health insurance program funded strictly by the federal government (not, like Medicaid, also by the states). Medicare covers people who are 65 or older, some younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or a transplant, sometimes called ESRD).
Medication Management: Medication management refers to the method employed (whether by a professional nurse, a nonprofessional caregiver, or the patient himself, in either senior housing or the patient’s home) to ensure that everyone involved knows which medications (whether prescription, over-the-counter, or herbal supplements) are to be taken by the patient and that each is taken at the prescribed time and in the correct amount. All caregivers must share information regarding any changes in the patient’s drug or supplement regimen as well as data regarding the patient’s reactions to that regimen.
Medigap Insurance (Medicare Supplemental Insurance): Because Medicare only covers so much of the costs of hospital care and prescription drugs, one who qualifies might choose to supplement Medicare Parts A and B with a Medigap Insurance policy or a Medicare Advantage Health Plan (Part C). Either of these choices would defray a percentage of the “gap” in coverage that Medicare Parts A and B alone produce. To learn more about what is Medigap, check out our list of this year’s best Medigap providers.
NOC (Nocturnal, at night or needing night care): Meaning nocturnal, the term NOC is used in a variety of ways. A NOC nurse would be the nurse who is on shift at night. You will see this term most often in charting and physician orders. This term is also used to describe a level of care if a patient is needing care at night.
Older Americans Act of 1965: Enacted by Lyndon B. Johnson on July 14, 1965, this was the first-ever U.S. federal-level initiative geared to protect the interests of seniors by creating the National Aging Network. The NAN is comprised of a three-tier network of agencies: (1) the federal Administration on Aging, (2) State Units on Aging, and (3) local level Agencies on Aging. This network is responsible for providing funds for nutrition, supportive home and community-based services, disease prevention/health promotion services, elder rights programs (devised because elders are not already a constitutionally protected class), the National Family Caregiver Support Program, and the Native American Caregiver Support Program. This act was fully renewed and refunded by Congress in 2016, extending it through September of 2019.
Ombudsman: An ombudsman (from a Scandinavian term meaning “representative”) is an impartial individual who investigates complaints and then resolves disputes between two parties. For the purposes of this glossary, we will consider, specifically, Eldercare, or Long-term Care, Ombudsmen. The Older Americans Act requires each state to support an ombudsmen program. If a resident of a board-and-care home, a nursing home, or an Assisted Living Facility raises a complaint with the management of their home but fails to achieve resolution, they, or whoever advocates for them, can go online, typing in the term “eldercare ombudsman” followed by the name of the state in which the facility is located. The issues that can be considered range from complaints about the food or excessive noise up to issues relating to the quality of the resident’s care and safety.
OT (Occupational Therapy): Occupational Therapy involves the assessment of an individual’s physical state and capabilities. The goal is to maintain the patient’s maximum degree of independence, given that person’s current limitations. Following a thorough assessment of the patient and that patient’s surroundings in the home (whether their own or a facility of some kind), the Occupational Therapist will recommend, if need be, specialized equipment (e.g., a wheelchair, cane, walker) or training (such as driver rehabilitation) that will benefit patient.
Palliative Care: This level of care is provided to those suffering from a serious, or possibly terminal, condition, requiring a team of specially trained nurses, doctors, and other specialists. Generally, such care is provided within the confines of a hospital or clinic. The goal, to manage the symptoms and maximize the patient’s comfort, may also involve curative efforts, if deemed reasonable. To learn more, read our guide: What Is Palliative Care at Home?
PCA (Person-centered Approach): Also termed Person-centered Care (PCC) or Resident-centered Care (RCC). This approach to caregiving is geared for those suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. This approach, encouraged by organizations like the Eden Project, is based on the interaction between the caregiver and the loved one. Traditionally, in cases of irreversible dementia, the assumption has been that all a caregiver can do is make the sufferer as comfortable as possible. Studies have shown that it is beneficial to the patient for the caregiver to actively engage the attention of the patient, encouraging him or her to continue the activities and interests that they had enjoyed before dementia or Alzheimer’s set in. The kernel of this approach is the understanding that the resident, patient, or loved one: choose your term: is still a human being with an emotional life, who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, ultimately improving quality of life for both the caregiver and the one cared for. The Eden Alternative is one of the organizations promoting this approach. [See also Reminiscence Therapy.]
PCP (Primary Care Provider): This term refers to the doctor who oversees a patient’s everyday healthcare needs. If required by the patient’s Medicare insurance plan, the PCP must be consulted by the patient for a referral before that patient can make an appointment with another doctor or specialist. If the PCP denies the validity of the request, should the patient make an appointment with that other doctor or specialist, Medicare disavows all responsibility for the resulting charges meaning the patient is solely responsible for the resulting charges.
PERS (Personal Emergency Response System): A PERS is an alarm system a private person can purchase and install in their home. More commonly marketed as a Medical Alert System (as seen in the “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” TV commercials), these systems can be adapted to both landline (preferred, for overall reliability and clarity of information transmission) and cell phone. This sort of system has separate features that make it usable both within the home as well as away from home. The basic in-home features generally include a necklace/pendant and/or wristband with a built-in “help” button, and possibly a separate “fall detection” pendent. For trips away from home, a small rechargeable handheld device (ideally loaded with GPS or A-GPS) acts as a two-way communicator which, at the push of a button, contacts the provider’s call center who will then send help.
Pro Tip: At The Senior List, we’re always looking for the latest and greatest in aging technology. Read our list of the best medical alert systems to learn more.
Personal Care Services: refers to the services performed by health care workers in assisting their patients in basic, everyday activities which the patient can no longer accomplish alone. Such services would include but are not limited to, meal preparation, bathing, dressing, getting to and from appointments, and shopping.
PPC (Person-centered Care): See PCA (Person-centered Approach).
PPO (Preferred Provider Organization): A popular form of membership-based health insurance, this type of healthcare (aka Participating Provider Organization or Preferred Provider Option) employs financial incentives to encourage the insured to use a specific network of doctors, laboratories, and hospitals medical staff. Though the premiums for PPO coverage are often higher than those of an HMO (Heath Maintenance Organization) and the insured is somewhat restricted in his medical choices, it may result in more flexibility for the insured. [For more information, see HMO above.]
PT (Physical Therapy): While anyone of any age could theoretically benefit from the attentions of a PT, seniors specifically require the skills of a PT to recover from injuries, surgeries or following a stroke. The PT, likely advised by an Occupational Therapist (see OT), will assist their patient in the prescribed exercises, coach them in proper use of equipment and provide other advice so that the patient may improve, possibly even regaining their former physical abilities.
QID (meaning four times per day): As seen on a prescription bottle, QID (alternatively q.i.d. or qid) is an abbreviation of the Latin “quater in die” meaning “four times a day,” referring to the number of doses the patient should be given of that medication per day.
RCF (Residential Care Facility): A facility that provides custodial, but not medical, care to persons who, because of physical, mental, or emotional disorders, are not able to live independently. RCFs can be known by other names. For instance, if there are 16 or more beds onsite, the facility may be termed an Assisted Care Facility. If there are only four to six beds onsite, it could be termed Board and Care.
Reminiscence Therapy: This therapy has proven effective in engendering a sense of comforting security, belonging, and empowerment to those suffering Alzheimer’s or dementia. Stimulating memories of positive episodes and happier times from times past can be achieved through various mediums including those of sight, sound, smell, and taste.
Respite Care: Respite care is designed to provide temporary relief for those who have the responsibility of caring for a senior family member. It is known that providing such care may result in increasing the caregiver’s fatigue and anxiety, impairing the caregiver’s ability to function effectively. Respite care, whether in-home or in a social Day Group, Adult Day Care facility, or in the form of emergency respite care, can improve the quality of life for all involved. To learn more, read my guide: What Is Respite Care?
RT (Respiratory Therapy): The first step in RT is the identification of the causes and effects of a patient’s breathing issues so as to arrive at the most effective treatments for that patient. The recommendations could include, among other things, smoking cessation, prescribed exercises, advice as to inhalers, nebulizers, oxygen, or CPAP and BIPAP (both non-invasive forms of advanced ventilation therapy). Accompanying these recommendations is advice on day-to-day coping methods as well as ways to avoid circumstances that may trigger an episode.
Sandwich Generation: This term, originating in 1981 and created by sociologist Dorothy Miller, at that time referred to women in their 30s and 40s who were caring simultaneously for their own children as well as for their own parents or in-laws. Currently, the term connotes men and women in their 40s or 50s facing these same responsibilities.
Senior Apartment: A form of senior housing for those still able to live independently and (at least generally) do not require food or transportation services. It involves a multi-unit housing situation with individual apartments for the residents.
Short-term Stay: A Short-term Stay in an Assisted Living Facility or nursing home may be advisable when a loved one is recovering from an accident or surgery, or as a form of Respite Care. An increasing number of Assisted Living Facilities are offering Short-term Stay care (may also be termed Respite Care), which, if following surgery, an accident, or illness, supplies the patient with professional care, ensuring as speedy a recovery as possible. In any case, any senior contemplating moving into such a facility permanently should use their time there to evaluate staff, services, and overall facility.
Senior Move Manager: Should one eventually decide it is better to leave one’s home and move into senior housing (whether assisted living, a nursing home or one of the many alternatives), one should consider hiring an objective but sympathetic and trained Senior Move Manager to plan and execute the move. A senior move manager would be responsible for everything from coordinating with the senior (or someone acting for the senior), assisting in downsizing decisions, fully choreographing the move, and helping to set up and decorate the new home. In short, when family or friends either are unavailable or are concerned that the process of moving will put too great a strain on their relationship with the senior, a Senior Move Manager can facilitate.
ST (Speech Therapy): Speech therapy is applied to those suffering from speech or communication impediments, the specific mode of treatment depends on that patient’s needs. In the case of a senior, this could refer to their need for assistance to regain or refine their power of speech following a stroke, a head injury following a fall, or while dealing with dementia.
SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility): A level of care with the goal of rehabilitation for patients who do not require a hospital and who are expected to meet specific rehabilitation goals established by licensed healthcare professionals. This level of care is generally paid for by Medicare or other Medicare-directed health plans. Often, skilled nursing and intermediate care are found in the same facility.
Telehealth: This generic term represents an innovative approach to healthcare intended to streamline the healthcare process, making it more efficient, cost-effective, and more effective overall while reducing stress for the patient, caregivers, family, and friends. Telehealth refers to the remote delivery of healthcare, transmitted using the latest in technology via several options including landline, mobile phones, and the internet. Remote monitoring of a patient’s situation combined with teleconferencing (when appropriate) allows the patient to remain in the comfort of their own home, saving them the stress of unnecessary travel. For the record, this technique has long been used, and beneficially, in the care of dermatology, cardiology, and neurology patients.
Telemedicine: A remote (vs. in the doctor’s office or in a hospital setting) method of delivering medical care using the latest technology including landlines, cell phones, and the internet. (See also Telehealth.)
The Eden Alternative: This international, non-profit 501(c)3 organization was founded by Dr. William Thomas in the early 1990s. The goal was to take existing assisted living facilities and nursing homes and make them over into a positive new type of senior housing that generates, encourages, and then maintains the highest quality of life for elders, and in which elders are treated as still-valuable people. An example of an Eden Alternative nursing home is St. John’s Embrace Living in Rochester, NY. The Green House Project, with its own distinct emphasis, is an offshoot of the EA movement.
TID (meaning three times per day): As seen on a prescription bottle, TID (alternatively t.i.d. or tid) is an abbreviation of the Latin “ter in die” meaning “three times a day,” referring to the number of doses the patient should be given of that medication per day.
TMC (Transitional Memory Care): TMC is a relatively new level of care within Assisted Living Facilities and is meant to ease a senior’s journey from Assisted Living into a Memory Care unit, a move that many seniors have found painful, causing them, as well as their loved ones, enormous stress. TMC is recommended, then, for those seniors who have begun to exhibit indications of possible early-stage dementia or Alzheimer’s. TMC not only makes the shift easier but delays it as long as possible. The TMC staff offers appropriate support, activities, and opportunities to socialize. Along those lines, it is common for management to match this resident up with a carefully chosen roommate, the two of them offering support and friendship to each other.
UBRC: University-based Retirement Community, A relatively new form of senior housing that is rapidly expanding in popularity, this alternative to traditional independent or assisted living facilities provides the retiree with easy access to educational and cultural opportunities as well as to a generally stimulating living situation. It has been shown that both retirees and college students benefit from sharing apartment buildings and campus life while the college and local community also benefit financially and in increased diversity.
Amie has been writing about senior care products and services for the last decade. She is particularly passionate about new technologies that help improve the quality of life for seniors and their families. Seeing her parents and grandparents age made Amie ask herself, “Would this be good enough for my loved ones?” In her spare time, Amie enjoys outdoor adventures and spontaneous road trips. Learn more about Amie here
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