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Glossary: the ABCs of eldercare

You will be able to understand this world if you understand the terminology, much of which is specific to the world of senior living.

Accessory Apartment   (Also ECHO) A mother-in-law cottage, a separate living unit aside a single family home.

Accreditation   A government seal of approval to a senior housing or service provided.

ADA   The American with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination based on disability. This law requires equal access to public buildings & places of employment. 

ADL  Activities of Daily Living, such as bathing, eating, etc.

Adult Day Care   Geriatric day services of varying level, providing meals, social activities, nursing and rehabilitation

Assisted Living   Same as Independent living with assistance with meals, and transportation. Social activities are often included.

CNA   Certified Nursing assistant is supervised by a nurse, and provides basic care services like bathing, grooming and feeding. CNAs can check vital signs and assist with medical equipment under a nurse’s care.

Convalescent Home   Same as Nursing Home. Facilities offer licensed health care and medical services facilities for medical problems requiring ongoing medical care.

CCRC    Continuing Care Retirement Community is overall senior housing that includes assisted living, nursing care, etc.

ECHO   Elder Cottage Housing Opportunities. A mother-in-law cottage, a separate living unit aside a singe family home.

Gerontologists   A person who specializes in the social, psychological and biological aspects of aging.

Geriatrics   A branch of medicine that studies the disease of the elderly.

HHA   A home health agency provides skilled nursing and therapeutic services to people in their homes.

Home Care   Medical and non-medical assistance in a home. Services may include bathing, cooking, transportation.

Hospice Care   Home or senior facility care that provides non-medical services like emotional and spiritual support to those who are terminally ill and their families.

IADLs   Instrumental Acivities of Daily Living day-to-day.

Independent Living   Senior housing facilities that provide meals, and social programs.

LVN   Licensed Vocational Nurse provides routine patient care.

Medicare   A federal program that pays for health care for people 65 and older.

Nursing Home   Same as a rehabilitation center & Convalescent Home. Facilities offer licensed health care and medical services facilities for medical problems requiring ongoing medical care.

RCFE   Residential Care Facility for the Elderly

Rehabilitation   Same as a nursing & convalescent home. Facilities offer licensed health care and medical services facilities for medical problems requiring ongoing medical care.

Residential Care or RCFE   Single family homes offering facilities that provide meals, and will assist with medication and other daily chores.

Respite Care   Short term residence in a nursing home or assisted living facility.

Retirement Community   Independent living with assistance with meals, supporting services and minor health care. Social activities and transportation services are often included.

Social Worker   A degreed person who’s job it is to counsel & help people overcome problems to better their their lives. Major fields are in family, medical, public health, mental health and substance abuse.