Definitions and explanation of Senior Care Terms

A public or private residential facility providing a high level of long-term personal or nursing care for persons (such as the aged or the chronically ill) who are unable to care for themselves properly. A nursing home is a place for people who do not need to be in a hospital but cannot be cared for at home. The nursing home facility nurses have the responsibility of caring for the patient’s medical needs, and the responsibility of overseeing other employees, depending on ranks. Most nursing homes have nursing aides and skilled nurses on hand 24 hours a day.


A term that refers to a patient’s need for care or treatment that can only be done by licensed nurses. Examples of skilled nursing needs include complex wound dressings, rehabilitation, tube feedings or rapidly changing health status.


Skilled nursing care is typically provided for rehabilitation patients that do not require long-term care services. Nursing home care provides permanent custodial assistance, whereas a skilled nursing facility is more often temporary, to solve a specific medical need or to allow recovery outside a hospital


Respite care provides short-term relief for primary caregivers. It can be arranged for just an afternoon or for several days or weeks. Care can be provided at home, in a healthcare facility, assisted living facility or at an adult day center.


Palliative care may be provided at any point during a person’s illness, even right from the time of diagnosis. Palliative care is appropriate at any age, at any stage of disease, and along with other types of treatment a patient may be receiving. Palliative care is given at any stage of the disease, but hospice is given to terminally ill patients with life expectancy six months or less. Palliative care may be given while the patient is on curative treatment, but hospice is given when no more medicine can do.


There are many reasons why patients with a terminal illness choose hospice care. Two common reasons are: Patients decide they no longer want to go through curative treatments that are difficult and painful, or that require them to go into a hospital.

Normally, adult day care is used to relieve the caregiver or his or her duties for the day while ensuring that the care recipient will still receive the proper care in a safe, friendly environment. These centers usually operate during normal business hours five days a week, and some centers also offer additional services during evenings and weekends.

Home health care helps you recover safely and more independently in comfortable surroundings. Caregivers work with your physician and provide care designed specifically for your needs and abilities, whether you need skilled nursing and rehabilitation or non-medical personal assistance.   In most cases this is covered by Medicare or Medicare Advantage.

Non-Medical Home Care this is a company that is either private pay, though a long-term insurance company or state Medicaid benefits.  This company will help with activities of daily living like bathing, dressing, or meals.  They may also provide transportation services, activities, and home maker services.


Independent Living Communities – is a community designed for seniors who wish to downsize from a house but still live in community setting.  These communities have restaurant dining available and other amenities without having to travel. However, you still have the option of cooking and maintaining your own household.  Medical care is not available.

Assisted Living Community – is a community for adults who need help with activities of daily living but do not need full time nursing care.  This is typically apartment style living with small kitchenette and the community provides 3 meals a day, housekeeping and laundry services for a flat rate.  If additional level of medical care is needed the cost would vary.


Memory Care Community – is a community that is focused on those living with dementia symptoms or Alzheimer’s disease.  These apartments can be private or shared depending on the resident’s needs. Secured Memory Care is specially designed spaces or communities where the residents are secured to keep the resident safe and activities will be geared towards the abilities of the residents so they will vary.

Residential Care Homes – Residential care homes are intended for seniors who would benefit from full-time assistance. Safety and health care needs of residents are met at these homes in a family-like environment. No two residential care homes are styled or managed the same way. Some offer vibrant activities, while others are more low-key. All residential care homes for seniors should provide high-quality housing, care services, meals, and companionship

Residential Care Homes are also referred to as Residential Homes for the aged or elderly and Group Homes.