Helping you understand the language of senior living.
Helping someone you love explore retirement community options often requires a little translation. This brief glossary will help you differentiate plans, services, and senior living options.
Assisted living communities typically provide services which allow the resident to maintain a degree of independence, while offering a helping hand with given tasks such as bathing, grooming, dressing, and taking medications.
In an independent living (or residential living) community, residents are capable of living in a residence with or without assistance.
Long-term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care, and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.
The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover specific services and care.
A specialized type of elder care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders.
Nursing Home (or Health Center)
Skilled nursing care facilities, commonly referred to as nursing homes or health centers, are licensed health care communities that are inspected and regulated by a state’s Department of Health Services. They offer long- and short-term care for individuals who need rehabilitation services or who suffer from serious or persistent health issues that are often too complicated to be tended to at home.
Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke, or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. In most cases, services are planned to help the patient return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient), or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient.
The term “retirement community” encompasses a wide scope of variations—several of which are covered here. Rental communities, continuing care, Life Care, assisted living, and skilled nursing care communities all fall within the spectrum, as do age-restricted communities of individually owned homes with common services and amenities.
Skilled Nursing Care
Skilled nursing care communities offer daily nursing care, provided or supervised by licensed medical personnel.
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Many organizations dedicated to seniors and senior care offer useful information and details on their websites. We’ve assembled a collection of links to helpful resources.
AARP is a membership organization leading positive social change and delivering value to people age 50 and over through information, advocacy and service.
Administration on Aging provides home and community-based services to millions of older persons through the programs funded under the Older Americans Act.
Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research.
Arthritis Foundation provides members with specialist referrals, Arthritis Today magazine, and updates on the newest research.
Caregiver.com offers support and guidance for family and professional caregivers through newsletters, online discussion, Today’s Caregiver magazine, chat rooms and more.
Caring Connections is a national consumer and community engagement initiative to improve care at the end of life, supported by a grant from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
LeadingAge is focused on advocacy of effective services for seniors including home health, hospice, assisted living, continuing care and more.
Elder Law Answers supports seniors, their families, and their attorneys in legal issues surrounding aging.
Family Caregiver Alliance addresses the needs of families and friends providing long-term care at home.
GovBenefits.gov is the official benefits site of the US Government with information on over 1,000 benefit and assistance programs.
Hospice Foundation of America exists to help those who cope personally or professionally with terminal illness, death, and the process of grief and bereavement.
International Council on Aging unifies organizations focused on older adults and provides education, information, resources, and tools.
National Council on Aging is a nonprofit organization with a national network of more than 14,000 organizations and leaders.
VA.gov explains U.S. Government Veterans’ Affairs benefits to assist eligible veterans and dependents with the expense of intermediate or skilled nursing care.
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When you have worries about senior family members living alone or getting the care they need, we have quick answers to questions you might have.
Activities of daily living include tasks such as bathing, dressing, grooming, walking, self-administration of medications, or the administration of medications, and more. The staff may also assist with housekeeping, shopping, laundry—whatever the resident needs to keep feeling independent as long as possible.