Senior Living Terms

Activities of Daily Living

Tasks people perform every day, including bathing, toileting, dressing, grooming, and eating.


A licensed professional who manages the overall operations of a senior community.

Aging in Place

A concept that advocates allowing a resident to choose to remain in his/her living environment regardless of the physical and or mental decline that may occur with the aging process.


Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and is a progressive neurodegenerative disease characterized by loss of function and death of nerve cells in several areas of the brain.  It involves the parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language.


Describes those who are able to move freely and who are not bedridden or hospitalized.


Friends and family members – spouses, children, grandchildren and other relatives – providing care to elders

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

Trained and given certification to provide personal care services to residents under the supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. Care services include dressing, bathing, transporting, changing linens, and other related activities

Continuing Care

A senior housing community where a full range of living options are offered, accommodating residents as their needs evolve without requiring the inconvenience of moving.

Continuum of Care

Used to describe the degrees of service offered by a particular senior community. A continuum of care can range from independent living to full-time nursing care and include any and all stages in between.


Progressive neurological, cognitive, or medical disorder that affects memory, judgment, and cognitive powers.

Home Health Care

Medical care and living assistance provided in the home by a licensed professional.

Hospice Care

Designed to provide comfort and support to patients and their families when an illness no longer responds to cure-oriented treatments, hospice addresses all symptoms of a disease, with a special emphasis on controlling pain and discomfort. Hospice also offers a variety of bereavement and counseling services to families. Hospice care can be provided at the community in the residents apartment, at the hospital or where ever the patient and/or family wishes.


Partially or completely unable to control bowel and/or bladder functions.


A smaller version of a kitchen that may include only a sink, cabinets, and a small refrigerator and sometimes a microwave.

Long-Term Care

Long Term Care includes a wide range of medical and support services for people with a prolonged illness, degenerative condition, or cognitive disorder. Long Term Care is not necessarily medical in nature, and includes individual assistance with activities of daily living or supervision of someone who is cognitively impaired.

Long-term Care Insurance

A privately issued insurance policy covering the cost of nursing home care, assisted living, and home health care.

Medical Director

A doctor who coordinates medical care with a resident’s personal physician and oversees all medical care administered at an assisted living community or nursing facility.


A federal government program providing basic health care coverage for seniors over age 65.

Medicare Part A: Hospital insurance for hospice care, limited skilled nursing care, in-patient hospital care, and home healthcare. Most seniors aged 65 automatically get Medicare Part A coverage.

Medicare Part B: Medical insurance for outpatient hospital care, physicians’ services, and other medical services not covered by Medicare Part A. Part B requires payment of monthly premiums.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance

Usually referred to as Medigap, Medicare supplemental insurance is a private insurance that covers services not handled by Medicare such as skilled nursing care.


Public assistance funded through the state to individuals unable to pay for health care. Medicaid can be accessed only when all prior assets and funds are depleted. There are income eligibility criteria that must be met to qualify for Medicaid. Medicaid accounts for about 52 percent of the nation’s care costs, and is the source of payment for almost 70 percent of residents in Skilled Nursing. Medicaid can reimburse Nursing Communities for the long-term care of qualifying seniors as well as in home care as well.

Medigap Insurance

A private health insurance that covers costs not handled by Medicare such as co-insurance and deductibles

Medication Management

A procedure developed by each individual senior community to help manage administered medicine for each resident, specifically the timing and delivery of medication.

Needs Assessment

A Needs Assessment is the assessment performed by a staff member of the senior living community (normally a licensed nurse) to evaluate a prospective resident’s ability to live in the community safely.  This assessment is then combined with information provided by the resident and their family as well as a physician to help develop the customized service plan.


Describes those with the inability to move independently due to being bedridden or hospitalized.

Quality Care

A general term covering all care and services that help residents maintain a high standard of living throughout their senior community experience.

Rehabilitation (Rehab)

Therapeutic care for people needing intensive occupational, physical, or speech therapy.

Service Plan

A Service Plan is a customized menu of services assembled to meet the individual preferences and needs of an individual resident. In most communities, a service plan is outlined and incorporated into the residency agreement before moving into a community. A service plan can change whenever a resident’s needs change.

Find Senior Living Near You

Silver Assist
Family Assets - Find Assisted Living
Oasis Senior Advisors
ElderLife Financial Services
AidAndAttendance Veterans Benefit