Senior Care Terms And Terminology - Glossary

Senior living and senior care facilities bring several opportunities to families. However, there are some acronyms and terms related to senior care that could be difficult to understand for a family member. That’s why Justin Villa Care has compiled a comprehensive list of elder care terminology, which includes all sorts of basic senior home health care terms to the most complex.

Glossary of Senior Care Terms

Our senior care glossary of terms and definition is here to describe and deliver in-depth explanations regarding the terms you may require in the journey of seniors’ aging process. After all, accumulating appropriate information is necessary for getting exceptional senior care. Our mentioned terminology is useful if you’re unsure of any term you have heard of when looking for senior care Services or Caregivers in Orange County, Los Angeles County California.

24/7 Home Care

24/7 home care means a caregiver provides assistance to seniors, from bathing assistance to Shopping & meal preparation, transportation, and companionship around the clock. In this, a professional caregiver will live with your loved ones day and night, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Two caregivers are employed daily, working in an 8 or 12-hour shift. plus 4 shifts per week. If your elders feel restless during the night, need help in managing daily activities, require companionship, or are prone to wandering, a 24/7 live-in home care plan will keep things manageable.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Most caregiving agencies provide ADL services broadly, which are considered as non-medical services required for seniors living in the home. Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) include various day-to-day activities that are necessary for fulfilling seniors’ physical needs, such as grooming/personal hygiene, dressing, toileting/continence, transferring/ambulating, and eating.

Assisted Living Facility (ALF)

An assisted living facility (ALF) is a licensed community facility, prepared to provide personal care services in a home-like environment. They offer senior care services, accommodation, 24-hour In-Home care assistance, meals, and others to a group of full-time residents. The major aim of assisted living facilities offers daily activities to seniors experiencing Alzheimer’s & dementia, or other health concerns with full privacy and personal safety.

Care Coordinator

A care coordinator is a well-trained health care professional who takes care of your seniors. They consult with patients to determine their needs, develop home-care plans, and establish communication between home care agencies, In-home caregivers, and family caregivers. They work in health care facilities, including a hospital, clinic, or primary care doctor’s office.

Family Caregiver

Family caregivers could be family members, relatives, friends, and neighbors who provide assistance to a physically or mentally disabled person at home. They help elders with activities of daily living (ADL) To improve their quality of life. Apart from this, they also assist older adults suffering from a chronic or disabling condition.

Home Health Care

Home health care is related to medical and non-medical care where skilled caregivers assist the seniors with a wide range of home health care services in the home. It includes high-quality care offered by experienced medical professionals, including proficient nursing care, speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. The professionals of home health care help injured or disabled older adults with medication reminders, control health conditions, and provide companionship.

Hospice Care

Hospice care is created to help people who want comfort and psychological well-being in the last months of life. It improves the quality of life and provides relief from pain and other symptoms. Hospice care provides compassionate care for those who have a life expectancy of a few months or less. So they can live happily and comfortably in their final moments of life. It also provides emotional and spiritual assistance when required.

In-Home Caregiver

The in-home caregiver is also known as a personal caregiver, or home-care worker who assists seniors with disabilities handle day-to-day tasks. They’re hired from reputable home health aides but they can’t be family members. Due to illness, age-related conditions, and other medical concerns, it’s difficult for seniors to manage a house and other activities, including bathing, meal preparation, transportation, and others. However, If you hire an In-home caregiver agency, they will provide personal care for the patient.

In-Home Personal Care

In-home personal care can also be defined as “companion care”, “home care”, or, “non-medical care”, which allows seniors to live a quality of life in their home under the supervision of a professional and trained caregiver. This personal care includes various services, such as bathing, dressing, eating, transportation, companionship, and others. These are the large part of home care aides and nursing homes.

Live-in Care

Live-in care means hiring a full-time skilled caregiver who lives with you or your loved one in your own home. Live-in is scheduled in shifts, where two or more caregivers are hired, each with an 8-hour long shift. This live-in caregiver will help your elders with all specific needs, which keeps them comfortable and independent at home.

Long-Term Care Insurance

In long-term care insurance, the elderly people receive a daily benefit (up to a preset limit) from services related to activities of daily living (ADLs), such as bathing, dressing, or eating. With a range of choices in care options and benefits, you can receive services where you need them. This insurance coverage is a part of assisted living facilities and in-home care for older people suffering from a chronic condition and requiring constant care. The primary goal of a long-term insurance policy is to cover the costs of care when your seniors have a chronic medical condition, a critical disorder such as Alzheimer’s & dementia.

Palliative Care

Palliative care is created to help people who want comfort and quality of life suffering from critical health conditions. This type of care provides relief from the symptoms and stress of the illness. However, it’s not necessarily related to the life-limiting illness. Specially-trained caregivers or nurses under the supervision of doctors provide curative treatments. The overall objective of palliative care is to improve a person’s current health condition by focusing on the quality of life.

Respite Care

Respite care is short-term or temporary care provided by any caregivers and enables the primary caregiver or family caregiver to take a much-needed break from caring. It provides relief to primary caregivers and can take place in your own home, at day-care centers, or at nursing facilities that offer overnight stays. Respite care can benefit a primary caregiver to ease the burden of family caregiving, relieve stress, restore their energy, and promote balance in their life.


Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage and medical assistance to people who have very low incomes. This program lowers your costs and provides full health insurance coverage. It can cover a variety of in-home care services in order to promote aging in place. Using Medicaid for in-home care, seniors can age in place and remain independent, and the state is able to save money.


Medicare is health insurance for people 65 or older, and younger people suffering from disabilities or end-age rental disease, which is funded strictly by the federal government. This program is divided into several plans that cover various healthcare situations.


Ambulation is postoperative care, where a patient gets out of bed and engages in light activity, like standing and walking after the surgery or operation. In-home senior caregivers assist the seniors with specific needs and also help them to stand on their feet and start walking with or without someone’s help.

Personal Assistance Services (PAS)

Personal Assistance Services (PAS) are a kind of program, which is provided to individuals who require help in performing activities of daily living, including bathing, grooming, eating, meal preparation, companionship, etc. These are in-home services to assist persons with severe physical disabilities and who want to remain in their homes. However, this program doesn’t include performing medical procedures or medical monitoring.


Dementia is a critical mental problem that affects the ability to think, remember, and behave normally. In addition to injury or any abnormal brain changes, it’s also occurred due to certain brain diseases or conditions, including memory loss and impaired cognition. Dementia is a general term of memory loss, which declines the thinking abilities and changes behavior, feelings, and personality.

Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs)

An Area Agency on Aging (AAAs) are state-designed public/private non-profit agencies that connect seniors with a wide range of services and programs to help them age in place. These agencies contract with local providers or partner with local charities to help elderly and disabled individuals remain in their own homes and retain their independence for as long as possible. AAAs are primarily responsible for specific geographic locations, which could be cities, counties, or multi-county regions.

Private Pay Home Care

Private pay home care is also a type of traditional in-home care, where an individual or their family member pays for their services, support, and care. It’s a service typically offered to older adults who require assistance with their day-to-day activities. Private pay home care is also known as “private duty” or “out-of-pocket care.” Individuals may also use financial assistance programs or a private third party, like an insurance company to cover the cost.

Elder Care Services

Elder care services are also known as senior care, which is technically designed for senior citizens to meet the specific needs and requirements at various stages. It assists seniors who need assistance with activities of daily living, including such as bathing, transferring, meal preparation, transportation, companionship, and more. Elderly care includes services related to health, rehabilitative therapies, palliative care, home care, and even hospice care.

Parkinson’s Disease (PD)

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects the ability to control movement. And this further leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty walking and maintaining balance. Due to low dopamine levels in the brain, senior individuals start suffering from PD and lose control over muscle activity. Some people develop dementia, and, eventually, Alzheimer’s disease, as the disease progresses. Elders may also start suffering from mental and behavioral changes, sleep problems, depression, memory difficulties, and fatigue. There are various medications used to improve PD patients’ diminished motor symptoms. In contrast, it doesn’t correct the mental changes that are caused by it.

Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN)

A Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) is a nurse who takes care of sick, injured, and disabled individuals. They are professionals and passed abbreviated education and vocational training to handle responsibilities like giving medication and administering tests and treatments. These licensed nurses work in long-term care facilities, hospitals, or nursing homes to help the patients eat and get dressed.

Meals on Wheels

Meals on Wheels is a community-based, non-profit program for seniors who can’t cook or purchase meals for themselves. It’s a kind of service provided by the local authority that delivers daily hot meals to older seniors who remain living in their own homes. Despite providing nutritious meals regularly, this program also supports a friendly visit and a quick safety check.

Power of Attorney (POA)

Power of Attorney (POA) is a legally valid document that permits you to authorize someone to handle your property, medical, or financial affairs on your behalf when you’re sick or injured. It’s a different level of control where a selected person will make decisions regarding your affairs.

Registered Nurse (RN)

A Registered Nurse (RN) is a licensed healthcare professional who works with patients, doctors, and other medical workers. Having obtained specialized training and passed a comprehensive national exam, these nurses supervise their patients’ care. Registered nurses play a significant role in providing hands-on care, different kinds of therapy, educating patients and the public about various health conditions, as well as providing emotional support to patients and their families.


Guardianship is a legal process sanctioned by the court, where a person receives the authority over another to take care of their older adults, parents, and other loved ones. The guardian provides proper care, protection, and takes all legal decisions on behalf of the person and his/her property. He/she also manages food, housing, education, medical, and other basic needs of the person.


Comorbidity is a medical condition – where a person has two or more health problems or diseases simultaneously present with another or others in a patient. Comorbidities are usually long-term, or chronic. Other names of comorbidity are coexisting or co-occurring conditions, multimorbidity, or multiple chronic conditions. The availability of two or more diseases can worsen the health.

Home Health Aide (HHA)

The primary objective of home health aides is to provide health-related services. These aides are designed to deliver training to students for providing assistance with nursing care and personal care services, including activities of daily living (ADLs) (such as dressing, grooming, and bathing) to the elderly or people with disabilities by visiting their homes. These qualified students monitor the health status of patients and fulfill their medical and physical needs.

Other Common Abbreviations

AAA – Area Agency on Aging AARP – American Association of Retired Persons ACHE – American College of Healthcare Executives ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act ADL – Activities of Daily Living AHCA – American Healthcare Association AL – Assisted Living CAADS – California Association of Adult Day Services CASP – Certified Aging Services Professional CBO – Community Based Organization CCCC – California Coalition for Compassionate Care CDA – California Department of Aging CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CAHF – California Association of Health Facilities CAHSAH – California Association of Health Services at Home, a state association of home health agencies CALA – California Assisted Living Association

Caregiving Articles