Senior Care Terminology That Caregivers Must Know

Understanding Senior Care Terminology is Half the Battle in Learning Your Health Care Options

senior care terminology and definitions

There are variety of care levels for senior citizens and each has its own terminology. By knowing these different levels of care and the correct terminology can help you properly plan your love ones  care appropriately.  Here is some helpful information below for caregivers and senior citizens alike to learn more about the various care levels and options.  Each different care level has different settings to meet the needs of every patient.

Get the Facts with Senior Care from Silver Census Care Navigators – Here are some care level terminology that caregivers must know:

•    Assisted Living. It is a long term-care option that provides housing, support services and health care according to the needed care of the residents. It is designed for seniors who needed assistance in everyday activities like bathing, grooming, meals and others. It is ideal for seniors who need assistance yet want to live independently in their own space. The place is designed to be senior friendly and offering safety and security. The residents are also provided transportation, scheduled shopping or doctors appointment. Recreation and health programs are also provided. Assisted living facilities are state regulated to maintain standards and goals. 

•    Assisted Living-Dementia Care. It is a place for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. It is often referred to “Special Care Units (SCU's). The setting is usually inside the assisted living facilities only located in a more secured wing of the building. Aside from additional security, there are devices to monitor the residents to prevent them from leaving and specific architectural features for more safety and protection. It is also state regulated and provides special programs to cater the needs of the residents. Also, the caregivers and staff are specially trained to work with the residents who have Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia.

•    Congregate Housing. It is often times residential housing option just for seniors.  This is similar to independent living. Congregate housing is just like living independently with the comfort of meal preparation, housekeeping and transportation. Often it is funded by the state for the elderly who have low income. To be able to reside in a congregate housing, you should be financially eligible. Eligibility requirements differ from state to state. Check with your local county office to learn more about this option.

•    Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC). It is a housing option for seniors who want to have several levels of assistance in one place.  Most Continued Care Retirement Communities require a huge down payment but provides consumers with the security they can “age in place” by living in a community that has extended care levels.    This particular community includes independent living, assisted living and nursing home care in one location. So, when a senior is still able to live independently, he/she can choose to live in assisted living until such time that his/her level of care changes. He/She will be moved to nursing home if he/she needed to. It is also state regulated community and usually classified as an insurance model governed by the state department of insurance or another similar entity.

•    Home Health Care. It is a health care services offered to seniors or sick/injured individual who are able to live at home.  Home Health Care services have to be ordered by a physician treating a patient.  Home Health Care can be ordered post sub acute rehab setting, post hospital stay or simply after a physician's office visit.  The goal of this health care services is to help the individual to regain independence. Doctors tend to order Home Health Care when they see a functional decline in health and as a safeguard.  The services varied from intermittent skilled nursing care, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and/or speech therapy.   Home Care is non medical personal care.  Home Care services are non-medical care at home providing assistance with daily living like bathing and dressing.  Services for home care commonly known as private duty services are not covered by Medicare.  Long term care insurance policy can help pay for home care through a licensed care provider.

•    Independent Living. It is a housing option for seniors who are able to live independently without or with less help. Services offered are assistance on daily living, housekeeping, laundry and meals. Residents usually pay a monthly rental rate or monthly fee.

•    Nursing Home. It is a medical care of option for seniors who have long term condition and  need medical and nursing care. There are two components to a nursing home.  Most facilities have one side of the facility set for patients which need post rehabilition care after a hospital stay. Patients are in the facility only temporarily with the goal of returning back to a home setting.   The other side of the facility is for residents which live at the facility.  This is considered long term care.    Nursing homes are licensed and certified by the federal law. It must also honor the federal Nursing Home Patient's Bill of Rights, the bill that is designed to promote and protect nursing home residents.


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