Common Senior Living Terms


The senior living terms below can help you learn about commonly used terms in elder care, senior housing, and senior living topics.

24-hour Controlled Access: Care facility monitors and controls all entry/exit points at all times for the residents' security.

Accreditation: An official authorization provided by an independent governing entity to a service provider or community. These accreditation entities are non-government agencies and regulatory organizations. Specific requirements set by the accreditation body must be met by the provider or community to achieve accreditation. An evaluation team thoroughly reviews each provider or community to ensure that standards of quality are maintained. A few examples of these accreditation entities for senior housing and care are the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Communities (CARF), and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

American College of Health Care Administrators (ACHCA): Founded in 1962, the ACHCA is a non-profit membership organization that provides quality education in health care administration and has been the leader in the promotion of leadership excellence among long-term care administrators.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): Day-to-day activities that individuals perform on a regular, consistent routine. A few examples of ADLs are bathing, toileting, dressing, continence, transferring, grooming, and eating.

Acute Care: Care provided in a hospital or medical facility setting such as surgeries, physician's visits, ultrasounds and x-rays.

Adaptive/Assistive Equipment: A gadget or an appliance that assists an individual in the operation of self-care, work or social activities.

Administration on Aging (AOA): Advocates the concerns of seniors at the federal level. AOA is an agency of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

Administrator: A position usually undertaken by a licensed professional, an administrator is responsible for managing daily care community operations such as that of an assisted living or a skilled nursing community.

Adult Day Care: Provides health-related care and supervision as well as structured programs such as rehab services and socially interactive activities to emotionally or physically disabled individuals in a protective environment. These individuals usually come to participate in the adult day care in the morning and leave in the evening.

Adult Day Health Care: Provides outpatient health care services within an approved extension site or residential facility, under the medical supervision of a physician. Services are based on a comprehensive assessment of care requirements and individualized healthcare program.

Adult Education: Educational services intended for adults 16 years of age or older who are not currently enrolled and/or are mandated by the state law to be enrolled in secondary school. Level of instruction is not higher than post-secondary level.

Adult Family Home: Provision of a private, home-like environment usually within a residential community. An adult family home accommodates a limited number of residents. Live-in caregivers provide them group meals and assistance with activities of daily living. Housekeeping services as well as recreational and social activities are also usually provided. Nursing services and amenities offered vary so it is recommended to check your preferred home for specifics. Also referred to as Personal Care Home, Group Home, Residential Care Facility, Board and Care Home, and Adult Foster Care.

Adult Residential Care Homes (ARCH): Ideal for seniors who function semi-independently. ARCH provides non-medical, daily care needs and activities such as social and recreational programs, dietary services, housekeeping services, and medical monitoring services. ARCH designations are Type I and Type II. Type I ARCHs accommodate only up to five residents while Type II ARCHs can handle up to sixty residents in a family home.

Advanced Directives: See Living Will.

Advantage List: List of health service providers willing to provide a preset discount to certain insurance company policyholders.

Advocacy: Idea, policy, or cause supported by active group support or a favorable argument.

Aging in Place: A conceptual advocacy that allows an aging resident to continue to stay in his or her living environment regardless of mental or physical decline associated with the natural aging process.

Alzheimer's Care Center: A care and treatment center for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease; primary goal is to supervise each patient in a safe, controlled and protected environment.

Alzheimer's Disease: The most common cause of dementia among older people, Alzheimer's is a progressive, irreversible brain disease that gradually destroys mental functions such as thinking and memory skills, and in the course of time even the ability to carry out the simplest activities of daily living.

Ambulatory: Able to walk, not bedridden.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A civil rights law enacted by U.S. Congress in 1990 that clearly and comprehensively prohibits discrimination based on disability.

Area Agencies on Aging: A private or public non-profit agency appointed by the state to address concerns and needs of seniors at county, city, regional, or local levels. AAAs help seniors remain in their homes, should that be their preference, assisted by care services such as homemaker assistance, meals-on-wheels, and other programs that will make independent living possible. AAAs provide seniors the opportunity to choose the living arrangement and care services that suit them best.

Assessment: A physician's evaluation of an individual's emotional, social, and mental capabilities.

Assisted Living: A special living arrangement for individuals with special needs, particularly seniors with disabilities. The assisted living facility provides personalized health care and supportive services including assistance with activities of daily living. Services also usually include preparation/serving of scheduled meals, transportation, housekeeping and laundry, recreational and social activities, emergency call systems, and medication management.

Cancer: Disease caused by the uncontrolled growth and formation of abnormal, malignant cells in the body. Cancerous cells develop because of damage to DNA. DNA is found in every cell and controls all its activities. In cancerous cells, DNA damage is not repairable. Cancer can be hereditary because individuals may inherit damaged DNA. Cancer can also be acquired when the DNA becomes damaged due to hazardous exposure such as smoking.

Caregiver: Primary person responsible for providing care services to an individual with special needs, particularly a senior with Alzheimer's disease. Usually the caregiver is also a family member of the patient or he/she can be a professional health care provider.

CARF International: The country's only accreditor of aging services networks and continuing care retirement communities (CCRCs). CARF is an independent, non-profit organization promoting quality care services through a consultative accreditation process focused on the enhancement of lives of care recipients.

Case Management: Refers to formally managed care services by professional providers.

Catheter: A flexible, hollow tube that can be inserted into a body cavity, vessel or duct to allow administration of gases or fluids, drainage, or access by surgical instruments for diagnostic purposes.

Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS): Finances and administers Medicare and Medicaid programs, and establishes operating standards of nursing facilities receiving funds under these programs.

Certificate of Medical Necessity: A physician-signed document certifying a patient's requirement for certain types of medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs.

Certified Home Health Care: Provides health guidance, therapeutic, preventative, and supportive services to seniors at home or within a housing facility. These may include home health aide services, nursing services, provision of medical equipment, appliances, and supplies suitable for use in the home, therapies such as respiratory, physical, speech/language pathology, and occupational therapy, and social work and nutritional services.

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.

Certified Relocation and Transition Specialists (CRTS): Professionals dedicated to provide seniors, their caregivers and families a wide range of moving and age-in-place services. CRTSs generally provide a home assessment to determine specific needs of client, create transition timetables, coordinate resources, oversee organization and resettlement services, and produce a final project evaluation.

Charge Nurse: A registered nurse or a license practical nurse responsible for the efficient supervision of a department in a health care facility. The charge nurse oversees the schedule and activities of the nursing staff on top of his or her regular nursing duties.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): Pertains to a group of chronic respiratory disorders characterized by difficulty in breathing. COPD is a progressive disease, which means it worsens over time. Emphysema is the most common example of COPD.

Cognitive Impairment: Unusually poor mental function that affects the ability to think, remember, reason, and formulate ideas.

Colostomy: A reversible or irreversible surgical procedure that provides an alternative channel for fecal matter and waste to leave the body.

Concierge Service: Provides assistance such as running errands, scheduling transportation, helping out with activities and similar services.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): A heart condition in which it can no longer pump enough blood to the rest of the body.

Congregate Housing: A shared living environment that at the same time provides independent living opportunities for increased self-sufficiency among elders and individuals with special needs. Supportive and convenience services such as housekeeping, meals, transportation, and rental housing services are usually provided.

Continence: Ability to voluntarily control bladder and bowel movement

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC): Also referred to as a life care community, CCRC provides various levels of senior housing and care needs such as assisted living, skilled nursing home care, and independent living, all in one residential facility or site. A long-term or a life-care contract is usually required between the CCRC and the resident. Housing arrangements, personal, health care, nursing care and other residential services are typically specified in the contract.

Continuum of Care: A concept that involves an integrated care system to guide and track patient throughout the course of an illness. This may include Home Care, Assisted Living, Home Health, Independent Living, Nursing Care, and Community-Based and Home-Based Services.

Convalescent Home: Also used to refer to a rest or nursing home, a convalescent home primarily provides a home-like environment along with a combination of support and medical services to patients recovering from medical procedures or long-term illnesses.

Custodial Care: Provision of personal assistance and care services, room, board including help with activities of daily living and medication management; skilled nursing care may not be included.

Dementia: Dementia is not a disease in and of itself, but rather a group of symptoms brought by certain illnesses or diseases that leads to loss of brain function, and affects thinking, memory, reasoning, language, and behavior. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, which is commonly associated with the natural aging process.

Depression (Depressive Disorder): An illness that affects a person's mood, thoughts, and body. Depressive disorder characterized by low mood along with low self-esteem and loss of interest in normal, pleasurable activities.

Developmental Disability (DD): Physical and mental conditions that manifest before the age of 18 and can cause sufferers lifelong difficulties in terms of independent living and other facets of life. Common developmental disabilities include cerebral palsy, thyroid problems, mental retardation, quadriplegia, and seizures.

Diabetes: A chronic disease characterized by high sugar levels in the blood.

Dialysis: A medical procedure that helps the body by performing the normal duties of the kidneys.

Director of Nursing (DON): Responsible for the overall supervision and management of skilled nursing staff and the formulation of nursing and monitoring policies regarding quality of care delivered and nursing care compliance with federal and state regulations.

Disability Services/Travel and Transportation: Provide accommodation, airline, and ground transportation services to seniors needing accessibility and mobility.

Disabled Persons Equipment and Supplies: Help seniors and individuals with disability perform daily activities. Examples are corrective lenses to help those with visual impairments and wheelchairs to those needing mobility.

Dual Eligibles: Both qualified for Medicaid and Medicare.

Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC): A legal document that may include guidelines in which an individual is given the power to make healthcare decisions by another in the event that the latter is unable to make those decisions.

Dysphagia: Discomfort or difficulty in swallowing, often caused by esophageal injury or blockage.

Emergency Call System: Provision of call buttons in vital locations in the unit for emergency situations.

Emphysema: An abnormal condition of the lungs in which the air sacs are enlarged and damaged, which causes breathlessness.

Enriched Housing: An adult care facility that is duly licensed to operate and provide long-term residential care to five or more seniors 65 years of age or older within a community-integrated setting similar to independent housing units. Board, room, personal care, and housekeeping services are provided or arranged.

Family-Style Food: Set meals served in a family-style dining setting at appropriate meal times.

Financial Counseling Programs: Assist seniors with managing their bills and finances as well as completing their Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance forms.

Foot Care: Provision of foot care services to residents such as nail clipping, application of ointments, and the likes.

Full-Service Kitchen: Self-sufficient seniors are provided with a fully equipped kitchen because they have the capacity to utilize kitchen equipment and tools on their own.

Fully-Fenced and Gated: Describes a facility that is fully gated and fenced for controlled entry/exit security purposes.

Geriatric Care Manager: A dedicated professional who assists seniors and their families with long-term care arrangements. Geriatric Care Managers have a vast knowledge about the availability, cost, and quality of care services in the community.

Health Care Directive: See Living Will.

Health Care Power of Attorney: Refers to the designated appointment of a healthcare agent to decide in behalf of the principal should he or she becomes incapable of making or communicating decisions.

Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA): Enacted in 1996, the HIPAA states that premiums paid for long-term care policy may be deducted as medical expenses, and unpaid benefits may be considered as taxable income.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO): An organized system that offers comprehensive health care coverage to voluntary members in a particular geographic location.

Heart Disease: Any heart disorder that disables it to normally function. The most common heart disease is Coronary Artery Disease (CAD).

Home Health Care: Also known as social care, domiciliary care or formal care, home health care, which includes medical, nursing and supportive care, is provided in the patient's home by a licensed healthcare provider.

Home Health Services: Provision of medical services and skilled nursing care services within a home or residential setting. Services may be provided by a home health aide, social worker, nurse, or an occupational, speech or physical therapist.

Hospice Care (Palliative Care): Usually provided in the last six months of life, hospice care focuses on giving social, physical and spiritual support and counseling to a dying patient and their family.

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Subsidy: A federal program that offers affordable independent housing for seniors and disabled individuals. Also referred to as HUD Senior Housing.

Incompetence: Characterized by an individual no longer able to handle assets and exercise certain legal rights as determined by a legal proceeding.

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

Independent Living: A residential living environment ideal for healthy, self-sufficient seniors that may or may not include the provision of supportive and hospitality services. Rental or subsidized housing is included.

Independent Living Communities: A residential or home-like setting for seniors who are healthy enough to be self-sufficient. They live in private cottages or apartments that are fully-equipped. These housing units may be subsidized by the government such as in elderly housing, rental-assisted, or market-rated. Residents have the option to choose the services they want such as social activities and meals. Also referred to as Elderly Housing, Senior Apartments, and Congregate Care and Senior Housing.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs): Compared to activities of daily living (ADLs), IADLs are more complex social activities. Some examples of IADLs are driving, shopping, managing finances, cooking, and writing.

Intermediate Care Facility/Mentally Retarded (ICF/MR): A facility duly licensed to provide rehabilitative or health services to individuals with developmental disabilities or mental retardation.

IV/Infusion Therapies: The manner in which an intravenous catheter is inserted in a vein in the body for liquid medication or solution to be administered directly into the blood stream. Infusion therapies include antibiotics, blood, total parenteral nutrition, chemotherapy, and other drugs.

Kitchenette: A small functional kitchen that generally includes a sink, mini-refrigerator, cabinet space, and possibly a microwave oven.

Licensed Nursing Care: Provision of care services by a registered nurse (RN), licensed practical nurse (LPN), nurse's aide, or a delegation nurse. Some nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities provide 24-hour nursing care and on-site medical teams. Independent Living, Adult Family Home, Assisted Living facilities may also utilize part-time licensed nursing care services.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): Educated and trained to perform technical nursing procedures such as administering medication, changing dressings and providing health care services under the direction of registered nurses (RNs) and physicians.

Life Care Community : A type of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) that provides various levels of care under a long-term contract. It usually includes fees for physician's visits and acute care. Monthly fees rarely change regardless of the level of the required medical care required.

Living Will: A legal document or a written statement that states an individual's wishes concerning life prolonging devices and medical procedures in the event that the individual is not able to speak for himself/herself because of a terminal illness or injury. Also known as an advance directive, physician's directive, or a healthcare directive.

Long-Term Care: Medical and supportive care provided to an ill or disabled individual who lost his or her capacity to perform all or some activities of daily living.

Long-Term Care Facilities: Refer to institutions or entities that offer healthcare to individuals no longer capable of living independently within the community. Some facilities provide chronic care management and short-term rehabilitative services.

Long-Term Care Insurance: Insurance that covers the payment for a succession of care services for seniors or chronically ill individuals. Long-term care may be provided in the individual's home with a nurse/aide or in a community such as a skilled nursing home or a mental hospital.

Managed Care: Describes various techniques utilized by insurance and health care delivery systems to reduce costs, maximize health benefits, and improve quality of care. These include evaluation of social services and nursing requirements prior to approval, and using a network of their own healthcare providers.

Massage Therapy: A form of physical therapy in which the muscles and connective tissues are manipulated for function enhancement, relaxation, and improvement of well-being. Massage therapy can be effective in reducing symptoms of back pain, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other muscle and nervous system disorders.

Medicaid: Public assistance provided by the state to individuals unable to afford healthcare. It can only be used when all funds and assets are depleted. Certain income eligibility criteria must be met for Medicaid qualification. Medicaid can reimburse nursing communities for qualified seniors' long-term care services, and in some states, can pay for assisted living care through waivers.

Medical Director: Responsible for the overall coordination, formulation, and implementation of medical care policies. The medical director may be the resident's primary physician, and he or she sees to it that the community delivers the prescribed care to the resident at all times.

Medicare: The federal program that provides medical care and insurance coverage for individuals 65 years and older, some people with disabilities and those with end-stage renal disease.

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.

Medication Administration/Medications Management: Formalized, written set of procedures and rules for self-administered medication management, such that of a senior in an assisted living setting. This may include dosage and timing management and physician coordination. Usually, the nursing staff cannot administer the medication and the resident must take it by himself/herself. Licensed nurses, however, can administer injections on a prior arrangement with the physician and resident.

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

Memory Loss: Characterized by an unusual forgetfulness due to aging, disease, severe injury of the brain or emotional trauma. Memory loss may be a temporary or permanent condition depending on the severity of illness. Sometimes referred to as impaired memory or amnesia.

Mental Health Counseling: A trained professional (mental health counselor) counsels individuals, couples, families, and groups to help achieve optimal mental health and well-being.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS): An unpredictable, chronic nerve disorder that affects the optic nerves, spinal cord, and the brain. MS occurs when the myelin sheath, the protective covering of our nerve cells, is damaged. Damaged myelin sheath cause nerve impulses to slow down or stop.

Music Therapy: Use of music for therapeutic purposes. Music therapy aids in the restoration, maintenance, and improvement of an individual's physical, emotional, physiological, and spiritual well-being.

National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC): Comprised of state officials that promote standard and responsible insurance policy regulations.

Non-Ambulatory: Incapable of walking independently; bedridden or hospitalized.

Not-for-Profit: Refers to status of operation and/or ownership that is comprised of volunteers who give their time and caregiving skills for seniors needing assistance for free. Many of these not-for-profit organizations are associated with fraternal organizations and religious denominations. Not-for-profit groups may also further their causes for the elderly to Congress and federal agencies.

Nurse Assistant: Trained and certified to provide personal care (toileting, dressing, bathing, etc.) to residents in nursing communities under the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Nurse assistants work under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).

Nursing Facility (NF): A facility duly licensed to provide rehabilitative care, custodial care, or specialized care to patients with Alzheimer's disease. NFs also offer recreational, social, and spiritual programs and activities.

Occupational Therapist: Helps individuals with impaired function due to injury or illness to cope with activities of daily living by evaluating, treating, and consulting with them. Occupational therapists work in long-term care facilities, rehabilitation agencies, hospitals and other healthcare facilities.

Occupational Therapy: Generally performed and administered by a licensed occupational therapist, it comprises of creative activities to help promote rehabilitation or recovery of individuals aiming to relearn activities of daily living.

Ombudsman: A program supported by the government, community, or public that advocates the rights of seniors in housing facilities. Volunteers conduct weekly visits to local facilities to monitor care conditions, and help resolve issues and concerns related to medication, meals, therapy, finances, communication, and placements.

Osteoporosis: A disease characterized by thinning of bone tissue and loss of bone density. Elderly women are prone to osteoporosis because their levels of estrogen, the female hormone important in bone production, decrease.

Parkinson's Disease: A central nervous system (CNS) disorder that causes tremors or shaking, difficulty in movement and coordination. It is a chronic, progressive disease of the brain.

Patient Assessment: A standardized tool utilized by senior housing facilities to evaluate capabilities and needs of a patient/resident. Patient assessment forms are filled up based on information gathered from medical records, conversations with patient and family members as well as direct observation. Also referred to as resident assessment.

Personal Care: Include activities of daily living such as toileting, bathing, eating, dressing as well as assistance in walking and meal preparation. Personal care services are provided by a dietician, nurse's aide, or other healthcare professional.

Pet Therapy: Also called animal-assisted therapy (AAT). Therapy includes pet ownership or visiting trained therapeutic animals for health and well-being restoration. Several studies have shown that pet therapy can lower high blood pressure and cause endorphins, chemicals the suppress pain response, to be released in the body. Pet therapy offers physical, cognitive, social, and emotional benefits.

Physical Therapy: Administered by a trained and licensed physical therapist, it includes massages, exercises, water treatment, and heat treatment for pain relief, restoration of function, and prevention of injury or disability.

Power of Attorney: A legal document or written authorization that allows one person to represent or act on another's behalf in real estate or financial transactions, or other legal matter.

Pre-Admission Screening: An evaluation of an individual's social, functional, nursing, and medical needs for determining whether he or she should be admitted to a Medicaid-eligible care community or a nursing facility. Screenings are conducted by trained pre-admission screening teams.

Private Funds (Private Pay Patients): Unlike patients whose care services are paid for by the government (i.e., Medicare, Medicaid, Veterans Administration), private pay patients shoulder the expenses for their own care either out of their private funds, or from family or a third party entity such as an insurance company.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE): Provide access to seniors to the overall continuum of healthcare services such as long-term care, primary, acute, and preventive care. PACE lives up to the philosophy that the healthcare system should focus on keeping seniors with long-term care needs as independently living for as long as possible.

Prospective Payment System (PPS): System by which Medicare pays skilled nursing facilities.

Provider: Provides medical services or medical supplies. Examples are physicians, hospitals, x-ray companies, home health agencies, and pharmacies.

Psychotropic Drugs: Also referred to as behavior or mind altering drugs. Psychotropic drugs include anti-anxiety drugs, anti-psychotic drugs, and antidepressants for hallucinations, extreme agitation, delusions, and paranoia.

Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB): Required program by the Federal system in which the states should pay the Medicare deductibles, co-payments, and Part B premiums for those qualified Medicare beneficiaries.

Quality Assurance Director: A licensed nurse responsible for proper coordination of quality assurance policies and programs for a particular facility.

Quality Care: Refers to care and services that help recipients reach their highest level of physical capability, mental and psychological function in the most dignified and respectable manner.

Real Estate: Home ownership or rental opportunities offered to individuals 55 years and older. Among the types of residences available are condominiums and townhouses, single family homes, patio and cottage homes, gated communities, and manufactured homes.

Reasonable and Necessary Care: Refers to the standard type and amount of healthcare services accepted by the health community based on the required treatment for a certain illness or disease.

Registered Nurse (RN): Educated, trained and licensed by a state agency after passing a state board examination, a registered nurse is responsible for planning resident care, assessing his or her needs, developing, and monitoring care programs in coordination with the resident's physician. The RN is expected to execute technical and skilled nursing treatments as well.

Rehabilitation: Therapeutic care provided to an individual needing intensive occupational, physical, or speech therapy for restoration of health and function.

Resident Assistant (RA): Provides direct personal care services in assisted living facilities. RA positions are likewise available in some nursing facilities, depending on the state. An RA is not a certified CNA.

Resident Care Plan: A written care plan for residents in a nursing facility that specifies timetables and objectives for care services to meet their medical, mental, nursing, and psychosocial needs. A resident care plan is developed by an interdisciplinary team of professionals and trained individuals.

Residential Care: See Assisted Living.

Residential Care Facility: Also referred to as Board and Care Home, residential care facilities are group living arrangements designed to provide care services including help with activities of daily living to seniors who can no longer live independently. In some cases, medical assistance programs and private insurance cover this type of service.

Respiratory Therapy: Helps patients alleviate breathing difficulties for fatigue reduction and increased tolerance towards performing everyday activities.

Respite Care: Provision of temporary, short-term relief from caregiving tasks. Respite care include adult day care, in-home assistance, and short skilled nursing stays.

Restaurant-Style Food: Dining provision in which a restaurant-style system is utilized. A resident can choose food items from a menu.

Restorative Therapy: Therapy provided with a rational expectation that the patient will improve in a reasonable time period, based on an evaluation conducted by a physician in conjunction with the licensed therapist.

Seek Exits: Term used to describe the tendency of seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's disease to wander and look for ways to leave a building. Facilities that care for seniors with this tendency need to have locked doors and alarms for protection and security.

Senior Apartment: Multi-unit housing for healthy, self-sufficient seniors. See also Independent Living.

Senior Citizen Policies: Insurance policies for individuals over 65 years old. Usually, these policies are combined with coverage provided by Medicare.

Senior Housing: Independent living housing units such as apartments for seniors. Any needed supportive services are entered into a contract agreement between the senior and the provider.

Skilled Nursing Care: Patients under skilled nursing care generally need assistance for most or all of their activities of daily living. Skilled nursing care communities are licensed by the state. Also called Convalescent Home or Nursing Community.

Skilled Nursing Facility: On-site facility staffed with licensed professionals that provide 24-hour medical care, personal care, and psychosocial services to seniors. Residents usually share a room, eat together in a common dining area, and participate in activities unless they feel too sick to join in. Some skilled nursing facilities have special departments for seniors with Alzheimer's and for short-term rehabilitative stays. Also referred to as Long-Term Care Facility, Nursing Center and Convalescent Care.

Speech Therapy: Therapy that helps those with communication conditions such as voice disorders, aphasia, and swallowing difficulties. Medicare may pay for a portion of speech therapy costs.

Stroke (Apoplexy, Cerebrovascular Accident): Happens when there is an impaired delivery of oxygen to the brain cells through the bloodstream. Strokes may cause paralysis, altered brain function and/or slurred speech.

Sub-Acute Care: Designed for a patient in need of skilled nursing care or rehabilitative care but does not require invasive hospital procedures or intensive diagnostics.

Sub-Acute Care Facilities: Specialized units that provide post-surgical recovery services, intensive rehabilitative care, and complex wound care to patients who no longer require hospital care. Sub-acute care facilities are usually located in a distinct area of a nursing facility.

Subsidized Senior Housing: Federal and state subsidized housing program for seniors having low to moderate incomes.

Sundown Syndrome: Also referred to as Sundowner's or Sundowning. This syndrome, typically seen in seniors suffering from Alzheimer's or dementia, is characterized by symptoms of confusion after the sun goes down. Not all dementia or Alzheimer's patients exhibit symptoms of sundown syndrome.

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): Supplemental monthly income provided to disabled seniors aged 65 years or older. SSI is a federal program and eligibility is based on assets and income.

Support Group: A place for caregivers, friends, and family to gather, discuss issues concerning a disease or condition, and give and receive practical and emotional support.

Tax Qualified: Deductibility of tax from long-term care insurance premiums as per meeting the threshold imposed by the federal government on personal adjusted gross income.

Total Parental Nutrition (TPN): Usually administered via a large vein in the body. Patients who are not able to eat or receive enough nutrients from eating can receive TPN based on physician's orders.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Result of a severe and sudden blow to the head.

Urostomy Pouch: Worn by a patient for urine collection after a urostomy procedure.

VA Benefits: Housing and care benefits provided for veterans.

Ventilator: Also called respirator. A ventilator is a machine used to help individuals with breathing difficulties.