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Adult daycare : A daycare center that offers health-related and rehabilitative service, social involvement, and activities to meet the needs of the physically and/or mentally impaired elderly on a daily, weekly, or part-time basis.

 

Area Agency on Aging (AAA or Triple A): Also known as County office on Aging, usually a nonprofit agency or unit of local government with the responsibility for planning and coordinating services for people over age 60 in a designated geographical area. AAAs also provide services for family caregivers caring for anyone over age 60.

 

Assisted Living Facility : See personal care home.

 

Caregiver support group : Group led by a professional and/or volunteer that allows family caregivers to meet in a supportive atmosphere to express their feelings, share coping skills, and learn about a aging issue and resources for help.

 

Care (case) management : Assessing, arranging, and overseeing an individual’s healthcare routine by a trained professional.

 

Continuing care retirement community (CCRC): Also known as a CCC, continuing care community or life-care community. Residences that offer care to individuals and couples for the remainder of their lives. Most require an entrance fee plus a monthly maintenance charge.

 

Dementia: A clinical term used to describe a group of brain disorders that disrupt and impair cognitive functions (thinking, memory, judgment, personality, mood, and social functioning).

 

Durable medical power of attorney : A legal document that names a person who will make health care decisions for the principal if that individual becomes incompetent or unable to express wishes for himself or herself.

 

Geriatric assessment : An evaluation of an older person’s physical, psychological, and social conditions by a professional team of specialists. This team makes recommendations to the older person, family, and primary care doctor. Geriatric assessments are offered in geriatric evaluation centers and are generally associated with hospitals.

 

Geriatric social worker : A licensed professional who assists the elderly and their families in understanding and coping with the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of aging. The social worker coordinates, directs, and instructs in the assessing of service.

 

Geriatrician : A medical doctor with special education and training in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disabilities in older people.

 

Gerontologist: A professional with special expertise and training in the study of human aging. This terms is used by a variety of professionals, including those in social work, human services, mental health, and psychology.

 

Home-health agency : A public or private organization with a staff of skilled nurses, homemakers, home health aids, and therapists that provide nursing, rehabilitative, and homemaking services to homebound patients with chronic or temporarily debilitating conditions or to individuals recovering from major medical treatment.

 

Home health care service: Service performed in the home for an elderly person by someone who has special medical training.

 

Homemaker service: Service providing trained person for household cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping, laundry, transportation, and personal care for an elderly person. Does not include nursing care.

 

Hospice : Usually a combination of at-home and hospital care of the terminally ill that combines medical and social services. It is designed to help both the patient and the family. Hospice care emphasizes pain control, symptom management, and emotional support rather than life sustaining equipment.

 

Living will: A legal expression of an individual’s wishes about future medical treatment, at a time when they have become incompetent or cannot communicate due to illness.

 

Medicaid : The health insurance program financed by the federal and state governments for eligible low-income people 65 and older. Needy older people can have their Medicare deductions and co-payment paid by Medicaid. Medicaid may also pay for nursing home care if the individual’s income and assets are within certain limit.

 

Medical directive : Also called a living will, advance medical directive, and health care proxy. This legal document enables an individual to give instructions about future medical care, in the event they have become incompetent or are unable to speak for themselves due to illness.

 

Medicare: The national health insurance program for eligible 65 and older and some disabled individuals. Part A covers hospital cost. Part B covers doctor bills and other medical costs. Patients must pay deductions and co-payments, and make up any expenses not covered by Medicare.

 

Medigap insurance : Private health insurance policies intended to cover medical cost not fully covered by Medicare. Also known as supplemental insurance.

 

Nursing home: A licensed nursing facility that provides a full range of care and medical services to those recovering from hospitalization o suffering from chronic illness, dementia, or other factors that make it impossible for them to live at home

 

Personal care facilities : Residential facilities for those who need help with activities of daily living within an environment that helps the person remain as independent as possible. Usually does not include any level of nursing care.

 

Respite care : A service that provides temporary care for an older person. The purpose of the care is to allow the family caregiver some short-time relief from their day-to-day responsibilities. Respite care may be provided in or out of the home.

 

Senior centers : Neighborhood or community centers that offer a range of services and social, health, nutritional, educational, and recreational activities. Senior centers for the healthy elderly.

 

Skilled nursing facility (SNF): A licensed facility that provides 24-hour medical services by registered nurse, licensed practical nurses, and nurses aids for seriously ill or severely disturbed people who do not require hospitalization.

 

Visiting nurse : A trained professional nurse who visits patients in their homes to monitor vital signs and physical condition and carry out a physician’s treatment orders.

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Quick Facts
Nearly one-quarter (22.9%) of all people aged 65 and over in the U. S. are functionally disabled or currently in need of some form of long-term care. The best scenario projects that by the year 2040 the population of severely disabled elderly people will increase by 90%.