Senior Living Terms

Independent Living (IL): When home maintenance becomes a burden, many seniors move to an independent living community. Cooking, maintenance, grounds keeping, transportation and housekeeping services are offered as either part of a monthly fee or optionally for an additional fee. Housing options may vary from freestanding homes to townhouses or apartments. This senior living option focuses on enjoying retirement.

Assisted Living (ALF): Seniors in assisted living enjoy some of the same amenities as independent residents but typically need varying levels of assistance with daily living activities such as bathing and administering medication. Assisted living is a home-like housing option that provides meals, housekeeping, laundry, health care services and social activities in a supportive setting.

Specialty Care Assisted Living (SCALF): This type of care provides assistance with activities of daily living and is typically provided in a separate, secure dementia area where the entire program is devoted to supporting those with memory challenges from Alzheimer’s Disease or another form of dementia.

Skilled Nursing/Nursing Homes (SNF): A skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, also known as a nursing home, provides 24-hour nursing care, rehabilitative services and assistance with daily tasks to individuals unable to safely reside in any other living alternative. They provide medically supervised care to the elderly, disabled and chronically ill.  Some residents require only a short stay for rehabilitation and strengthening after hospitalization and then return to their prior home. Others require long-term medical, social and personal care along with support services that cannot be adequately provided in any other setting.

Short Term Rehabilitation:  Short term skilled care usually includes one or more services such as occupational, physical, and/or speech therapy; specialized nutritional services; social services; nursing; and/or other health needs.  Qualifying stays are often covered by insurers, including Medicare.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC): offer one community with multiple levels of care so an individual can stay at the same place with the same friends and support system as their needs change over time. This type of community gives active seniors the ability to enjoy a carefree, independent lifestyle with the knowledge that all of their needs will be met should their health needs change. CCRCs usually offer independent living, assisted living and nursing and rehabilitative care on one campus.

In a CCRC, houses or apartments are typically available for residents who are active and independent. Separate assisted living residences are available for individuals needing help with daily activities, and a nursing home is on campus for those who require rehabilitation or 24-hour care. Residents of a CCRC who meet criteria for another level of care, are able to move from one level to another based on their individual needs.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): The tasks that an individual does to care for their personal needs, such as bathing, grooming, dressing, etc.

Adult Day Care: A program that provides activities of daily living support/care and activities for adults during a portion of the day, generally 8-10 hours, with the individual returning to their home at night.

Respite Care: Temporary care for an adult, who generally is otherwise, cared for by a loved one. Respite care can be provided in a number of care settings such as assisted living, memory care facilities, nursing homes, or by a private care giver in the individual’s permanent place of residence.

Medicare; The federal medical insurance program for seniors 65 and older and disabled individuals who qualify. Medicare Part A provides hospital and skilled nursing /rehab care while Part B covers physician care, therapy and home health. Qualifying conditions for certain benefits may apply.

Medicaid: A joint federal and state program that helps low-income individuals pay for the costs associated with medical and custodial care provided they qualify. Although largely funded by the federal government, Medicaid is run by the state where coverage may vary.

Managed Care: Managed care plans generally provide comprehensive health services to their members, and offer financial incentives for patients to use the providers who belong to the plan. Examples of managed care plans include: Health maintenance organizations (HMOs), and Preferred provider organizations (PPOs). Certain benefits such as hospital and skilled nursing stays require prior authorization for benefits.