Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Tasks necessary for daily life, including bathing, dressing, grooming, eating, toileting, walking, taking medications, and other personal care activities.
Adult Daycare: A daycare center that offers health-related and rehabilitative services, social involvement, and activities to meet the needs of the physically and/or mentally impaired elderly on a daily, weekly, or part-time basis.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA or Triple A): Also known as County Office on aging, usually a nonprofit agency or unit of local government with the responsibility for planning and coordinating services for people over the age 60 in a designated geographical area. AAAs also provide services for family caregivers for anyone over age 60
Caregiver support group: Group led by a professional and/or volunteer that allows family caregivers to meet in a supportive atmosphere to express their feelings, share coping skills, and learn about aging issues and resources for help
Care (case) management: Assessing, arranging and overseeing an individual’s health care routine by a trained professional.
Dementia: A clinical term used to describe a group of brain disorders that disrupt and impair cognitive functions (thinking, memory, judgment, personality, mood and social functioning).
Durable medical power of attorney: A legal document which names a person who will make health care decisions for the principal if that individual becomes incompetent or unable to express wishes for himself or herself.
Elder law attorney: An attorney who specializes in the laws that deal with the rights and issues of the health, finances and well-being of the elderly and the power of other individuals and the government to control them.
Geriatric assessment: An evaluation of an older person’s physical, psychological and social condition by a professional team of specialists. This team makes recommendations to the older person, family and primary care doctor. Geriatric assessments are offered in geriatric evaluation centers and are generally associated with hospitals.
Home- health agency: A public or private organization with a staff o skilled nurses, homemakers, home health aides, and therapists that provide nursing, rehabilitative, and homemaking services to homebound patients with chronic or temporarily debilitating conditions or to individuals recovering from major medical treatment.
Hospice: Usually a combination of at-home and hospital care of the terminally ill that combines medical and social services. It is designed to help both the patient and the family. Hospice care emphasizes pain control, symptom management, and emotional support rather than life sustaining equipment.
Incontinence: The loss of voluntary control over bladder or bowel functions.
Living will: A legal expression of an individual’s wishes about future medical treatment, at a time when they have become incompetent or cannot communicate due to illness.
Long-term care: A general term that describes a range of medical, nursing, custodial, social and community services designed to help people with chronic health impairments or forms of dementia.
Long-term care insurance: Insurance policies issued by private companies to defray the costs of long-term care in nursing facilities as well as home care services.
Meals-on-wheels: Meals delivered on a regular schedule to housebound elderly or elderly people unable to cope with meal preparation, for little or no cost.
Medicaid: The health insurance program financed by the federal and state governments for eligible low-income people 65 and older. Needy older people can have their Medicare deductibles and co-payments paid by Medicaid. Medicaid may also pay for nursing home care if the individual’s income and assets are within certain limits.
Medicare: The national health insurance program for eligible people 65 and older and some disabled individuals. Part A covers hospital costs. Part B covers doctor bills and other medical cost. Patients must pay deductibles and co-payments, and make up any expenses not covered by Medicare.
Nursing home: A licensed nursing facility that provides a full range of care and medical services to those recovering from hospitalization or suffering from chronic illness, dementia, or other factors that make it impossible for them to live at home.
Primary care physician (PCP): The doctor who is consulted first when a health problem occurs and on whom the patient relies for advice, referrals and ongoing care.
Respite Care: A service that provides temporary care for an older person. The purpose of the care is to allow the family caregiver some short-term relief from their day-to-day responsibilities. Respite care may be provided in or out of the home.
Will: A legal document that sets forth a person’s wishes for disposing of assets after death.