27 Essential Senior Living Terms


Vi at Bentley Village

For more information about the author, click to view their website: Vi at Bentley Village

Posted on

Jul 22, 2023


Florida - Southwest

Share This

From figuring out what type of care you need to finding a community that’s the right fit for you, wrapping your arms around the world of senior living can feel like an overwhelming task.

Senior living is also associated with a lot of acronyms and technical terms. Your research is going to be a lot easier if you understand some of the most common terms — and just think of all the fun facts you can share at your next cocktail party!

With that in mind, we’ve put together a glossary of some terms you’ll want to know related to senior living, assisted living, nursing homes, and more. We hope this helps you feel more prepared to make the best senior living decision and fully enjoy the next part of your retirement. 


Accreditation is one way for prospective residents and their families to weigh their senior living options using objective criteria.

This process measures how a senior living facility stacks up to an established standard. Senior living accreditation is especially prevalent in assisted living. Accreditation bodies in this space include The Joint Commission, CARF International, and Accreditation Commission for Health Care.

While not an official accreditation body, Medicare.gov’s Nursing Home Compare website also offers an objective five-star rating system for patients and their families to evaluate nursing homes, home health services, hospice care, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, long-term care hospitals and more.

Activities of daily living (ADLs)

ADLs include everyday tasks that seniors in assisted living may need help with, including:

  • Walking
  • Transferring, including from bed to a chair, or into a wheelchair or walker
  • Feeding
  • Dressing
  • Grooming
  • Bathing
  • Toileting
  • Aging in place

    Aging in place refers to remaining at home as you get older, rather than moving into a senior living community. More than three quarters of adults 50 and older want to age in place at home for as long as possible, according to an AARP survey.

    Is it right for you? Learn about the pros and cons of aging in place versus moving to a senior living community.

    Assisted living

    This level of care is designed for people who need assistance with activities of daily living, also known as ADLs. 
    Caregivers in assisted living offer support with those activities of daily living as well as medication management. However, most seniors in assisted living remain relatively independent and don’t require around-the-clock medical care (in contrast to skilled nursing care). 

    Assisted living facilities 

    In assisted living facilities, seniors receive assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs). Residents have private residences along with access to community spaces like dining rooms, game rooms, fitness centers, salons and more. They receive hands-on care from skilled professionals according to a personalized care plan.

    Certified nursing assistant (CNA)

    These healthcare workers provide personal care to patients, including assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and medication management. CNAs, also known as nursing assistants, nurse's aids or patient care assistants, work in a variety of settings, including skilled nursing facilities.

    Congregate housing

    This is an umbrella term for any residential community where residents have their own private living space but share some communal living spaces, such as dining rooms, recreational and wellness areas, outdoor spaces, and other social gathering places.

    Senior living communities are an example of congregate housing.

    Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)

    In these communities, residents enjoy an independent lifestyle along with access to a care center that offers a comprehensive continuum of care, including assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.

    CCRCs offer three different types of contracts, some of which build care access into monthly fees and offer it on site, while others provide care (or access to off-site care) at market rates.

    CCRCs are also sometimes known as Life Plan Communities.

    Continuum of care

    This term refers to the levels of healthcare services available to senior living residents. In a Continuing Care Retirement Community or Life Plan Community, Independent Living residents have access to all levels of care along the continuum, starting with independent living and including assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.

    Director of nursing (DON)

    DONs are ultimately responsible for all nursing care in their facility and will also communicate with residents and their families and physicians as needed. These registered nurses are responsible for supervising the operations and staffing of a nursing unit, including clinical, financial, HR, and quality assurance.

    Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

    This United States federal statute was signed into law in 1996. Most notably, HIPAA’s Privacy Rule (Article 2) protects patients’ protected health information, including medical records and any data that is considered “individually identifiable.” 

    This rule also gives individual patients the right to:

    • See or get a copy of their health records
    • Request copies of their health records be electronically sent to a third party
    • Ask for corrections to their health records

    Home health care

    For seniors who are aging in place at home, home health care providers can offer assistance.

    They have a range of skill levels and credentialing, from unlicensed personal care aides who provide non-medical care and companionship to licensed professional nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses who can provide higher-level medical care.

    Independent living

    In independent living, seniors live on their own with a lower-maintenance lifestyle that allows them to fully enjoy their retirement. 

    Independent living residents can take advantage of a variety of services and amenities included with their monthly expenses, including home maintenance, chef-prepared meals, and wellness activities.

    Licensed practical nurse (LPN)

    These healthcare professionals work under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse to monitor patients, administer medications, and ensure a resident’s care plan is carried out properly. Their responsibilities may also include taking vital signs, charting, inserting catheters, providing wound care and more.

    Life Plan Community

    Another term for Continuing Care Retirement Community.

    Living will

    If you can’t make decisions for yourself, these written instructions can dictate your medical wishes. They’re also known as advance healthcare directives, personal directives, advance directives, medical directives or advance decisions.

    Doctors, caregivers and loved ones will need these documents if you’re terminally ill, in a coma, living with advanced dementia, seriously injured or nearing the end of your life.

    Long-term care facility

    For those who are no longer able to live on their own, these facilities provide medical and personal care and support. Despite the name, patients don’t always remain in long-term care permanently and can often move back home or into independent living after they recover from an illness, surgery, fall or other malady.

    Nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, and assisted living facilities are examples of long-term care facilities.

    According to the Administration for Community Living, an adult turning 65 has a nearly 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care.

    Long-term care insurance

    These insurance policies defray the costs of care for chronic medical conditions or disabilities.

    Long-term care insurance policies may reimburse you for costs associated with home health care and treatment in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and adult day care centers. A policy may also dovetail with the services offered in a Continuing Care Retirement Community.

    Memory care

    Memory care, also known as memory support, provides comprehensive care for patients diagnosed with more advanced dementia conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease.

    Caregivers in these facilities design custom treatment plans, in partnership with doctors and family members, to manage residents’ cognitive decline and keep them engaged with their lives.

    Nursing home

    In nursing care facilities, residents receive specialized, highly supervised medical care, either long-term or as they recover from a surgery or illness.

    The term is sometimes incorrectly used as a catch-all for senior living communities or standalone assisted living facilities. But in fact, it refers only to communities where residents receive around-the-clock skilled nursing care.

    Registered nurse (RN)

    A registered nurse (RN) is a licensed medical professional who can work in a variety of medical and community settings.

    RNs work hands-on with patients and alongside doctors and other healthcare professionals.

    Residential care homes

    Most residential care homes offer care like what assisted living residents receive — but on a smaller scale. These intimate senior living communities are home-like settings that offer personalized care for a small number of residents (think 10 residents as opposed to hundreds).

    Sandwich generation

    This population is made up of middle-aged adults who are caregivers and/or providers for both their own children and their aging parents.

    Senior move manager

    Senior move managers help seniors prepare (both physically and emotionally) for a relocation to a senior living community or other facility.

    Senior move managers can assist with downsizing, estate sales and auctions, donations, packing and unpacking, the move itself and even creating floor plans for a new residence.

    Skilled nursing

    Skilled nursing is around-the-clock, hands-on care that could include physical, occupational and/or speech therapy. In skilled nursing, licensed professionals create and manage care plans that are tailored to each resident’s individual needs.

    Seniors might require short-term skilled nursing services for post-surgery recovery or rehabilitation, or they might need longer-term nursing care.

    A man practices exercises in therapy.
    Universal design

    This design approach is focused on creating spaces that are accessible to all people regardless of age, disability, and other factors that traditional design might limit.

    Universal design in a residential environment could include no-step entryways, wider doors and hallways, adjustable-height counters, non-slip surfaces and grab bars in bathrooms, lever-style door handles, and more.

    University-based retirement community (UBRC)

    Senior living communities that are directly affiliated with a nearby higher-education institution are known as UBRCs. University-based retirement communities are formally tied to the university and encourage lifelong learning as well as interaction between community residents and the general student population. They are an especially powerful draw to university alumni, retired faculty and former employees.

    Many are Continuing Care Retirement Communities that offer residents access to the full continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing and memory care.

    Veterans Aid & Attendance

    This Veterans Administration (VA) pension benefit provides tax-free funds for long-term care services to veterans and their surviving spouses.

    In general, the VA does not pay for room and board or basic services in assisted living, but funds from this program can be used to pay any expenses associated with long-term care, including residential expenses in assisted living.

    To find out if you qualify, contact the VA.

Other Articles You May Like

Facing Change with Hope and Excitement

As we grow older, many of us become set in our ways. This is not necessarily bad, as we have learned what we like and dont. However, it can be unsettling when the time comes to make a major life change that disturbs our status quo. Fear of change is one of the most prevalent phobias in society and can be incredibly overwhelming for those who are faced with growing older and finding a new place to live.If you have a parent or elderly loved one who needs to be moved into a new residence to keep them safe whether it be your personal home or an assisted living facility you can expect some level of stress. We have recommendations to help your loved one face inevitable change with confidence, not fear.What Causes Fear of Change?The older we get, the more susceptible we are to being uncomfortable with change. Experts believe that the longer something exists, the more likely it is that people have positive feelings about it. The lifestyle that someone has lived for decades is often seen as the best possible option. Another reason may be that senior adults have experienced scenarios when a change turned out badly.Many circumstances may be behind an overwhelming or crippling fear of change. According to psychologists, these may include:Life changes and circumstances that result in emotional distressInsecurity or fear of not having enoughGuilt over anything in their lifeApprehension about meeting new peopleAnxiety about changes in ones circumstancesFear of failureFear of the past repeating itself, especially if there is a traumatic experienceA tendency to be oversensitiveFear surrounding change can cause behavioral changes and new thoughts that can adversely affect the quality of life. These may include:Preventing persons from making changes that are neededAvoiding any new situation, even if it sounds interestingTendency to self-isolateIndecisiveness or hesitancy to make choicesReluctance to consider potential options, no matter how viableTendency to define self-worth by outside opinionsDependence on acquiring material possessions7 Recommendations to Embrace Hope and ExcitementWhen your family member needs to make lifestyle changes in order to safeguard their health, happiness and security, they need encouragement and support so that they feel hope not fear.Help them to create a system of organization in their everyday tasks, so that their lives feel more feel stable. Once they feel safe, you can begin to incorporate small changes.Familiarize yourself with their anxiety symptoms so that you can recognize and address them.Remain positive in your communication and dont be discouraged by your parents negative attitude. Anticipate likely objections and be prepared to respond positively.Allow them to participate in researching the solution you are suggesting. People tend to fear and avoid what they do not understand or cannot control.Offer opportunities for them to get out and do fun things they enjoy.Take a break whenever it is needed. If they begin to get overwhelmed, back off and let them digest any information you presented.Change Can Be Positive and Exciting!When you are discussing a new living situation with your parents, there are many ways you can help them to accept the needed change- but if you think the solution is memory care or assisted living, you may need to conquer your own fears first.My Care Finders was founded with the goal of assisting families through this significant life change. Our knowledgeable and compassionate advisors are here to help you find the right community for your loved one and remember, our services are always free of charge.

How a Senior Residence Helps You Grow Stronger

How a Senior Residence Helps You Grow StrongerAssisted living and senior residences have come a long way, becoming places for seniors to thrive and grow. Lets take a look at some of the innovative ways that senior living communities help older adults to grow stronger, and become healthier and more vibrant.Wellness and Comprehensive Care ProgramsThe most beneficial communities for seniors offer wellness programs that address their specific needs and mobility capabilities. From tailored fitness plans and physical therapy sessions to community activities that encourage cognitive function, each program should be geared towards increasing vitality and strength. As a result, residents may experience a significant reverse in frailty as well as mental and physical decline.Grow Stronger Through Fitness and NutritionNutritious meals are key to successfully fighting off frailty as we age. Senior living communities provide residents with a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet that is modified around specific dietary needs. This information will be outlined in their comprehensive care plan, which should be reviewed periodically for any new developments. Without proper nutrition, a senior cannot feel their best and grow stronger and assisted living communities can help.Engagement and Participation to Feel YoungerIsolation is one of the primary root causes of frailty in older adults. Trained caregivers in senior living communities are tasked with ensuring that each resident can participate in organizing a diverse calendar of activities that cultivate social bonds. Remaining engaged with others in the residence via events, games, entertainment and educational opportunities will significantly reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation. Not only that but interacting with others can boost cognitive function and develop a strong sense of community.Ready Access to HealthcareOne of the most common dangers of remaining at home is the potential of wandering or falling. As we grow older, however, having prompt access to healthcare is essential. By moving into a senior living community, residents can enjoy the convenience of onsite care services and experienced health care professionals. Being in close proximity allows better monitoring of a seniors health, allowing doctors to answer questions and offer preventative care, thus working to avoid frailty-related issues.Stimulation of Cognitive Processes Helps Us Grow StrongerKeeping the mind sharp and active is vital when combatting frailty. The advancement of knowledge in the area of cognitive and mental health has allowed care professionals to understand the human mind better than ever before. Assisted living and memory care centers can therefore structure games, educational programs and memory exercises that address each individuals unique needs. This level of personalization plays a vital role in supporting mental resilience and comprehensive mind-body wellness.Modified and Safe Living SpacesWhere we spend our days as we age greatly influences our level of declining frailty. Senior living facilities thoughtfully design living spaces that guarantee optimum safety, incorporating wide hallways, large print signs and water stations throughout the community. These adaptations all work to minimize the risk of accidents that may lead to weakness. Required modifications to apartments are then easily made as care needs develop and evolve, further supporting a healthy lifestyle.In other words, senior living residences are not just another random place to call home; they are vibrant, stimulating and engaging spaces where seniors can enjoy their golden years. By remaining active, interactive and healthy, they can actually grow stronger as time goes on.My Care Finders Can HelpAt My Care Finders, our professional team of senior care advisors works with families to determine the best residence for their loved one. If you need advice, knowledge or assistance, call us today. We are dedicated to the overall health and happiness of your senior family member.

What Is the Difference Between Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Care?

The main difference between independent living, assisted living, and skilled care is the level of support and assistance each type of facility provides. Independent living facilities are designed for seniors who are still relatively independent and do not need much help with activities of daily living. Assisted living facilities provide a higher level of support and assistance, and skilled care facilities provide the highest level of care, including 24-hour nursing care.Determining what level of care you or your family member needs can be difficult however, our team is here to help you navigate this transition and we have resources like the Continuum of Care Quiz to help you decide which level is care is right for you or your loved one.We recommend exploring our care service pages, taking our care quiz, and scheduling a free consult before choosing which is right for you. In the meantime, here are some key differences between our care services all in one place.Independent LivingIndependent living residents dont need help with their activities of daily living but have chosen to simplify their lives so they can focus on whats most important to them and leave burdensome everyday tasks to the trusted staff.Residents are provided laundry and housekeeping services, creative and chef-prepared meals and snacks, cozy libraries with fireplaces, books, and puzzles, and beautifully landscaped grounds and patios.Independent living at Grace Pointe allows residents to maintain independence with private apartments, assuring them a strong sense of peace of mind through security features, nearby medical experts, and 24-hour emergency response systems.Grace Pointe offers a social atmosphere where residents can participate in group and individual activities and wellness classes, host their own gatherings in the common room and kitchen, meet with friends or family at the coffee bar & bistro or pamper themselves at the full-service salon and barbershop!Learn more about Independent Living at Grace Pointe in Greeley, Colorado.Assisted LivingAssisted living residents are still fairly independent, but may find it challenging to accomplish daily tasks, and may have mobility issues, special dietary needs, medication management concerns, or require help with bathing and dressing.As a full-service assisted living facility, Grace Pointe can provide medical transportation, assistance with medications, exercise and wellness programs, basic health status monitoring, assistance with toilet use and bathing, and nursing supervision or monitoring.Residents in assisted living may require some help with their daily tasks but dont require extensive medical care.Seniors moving into assisted living at Grace Pointe do so for the security of knowing that we have 24-hour staffing, for the socialization that a community provides, and for oversight and assistance when and if it becomes necessary.Learn more about Assisted Living at Grace Pointe in Greeley, Colorado.Skilled NursingSkilled Nursing at Grace Pointe includes 24-hour monitoring for residents with extensive medical needs and assistance by nurses and CNAs trained to address the everyday needs of residents in an elegant, home-like setting.Grace Pointes Skilled Nursing neighborhood has private units, each with comfortable adjustable beds, European showers, elegant dining and living room, chef-prepared meals, and a nurse call system.Learn more about Skilled Nursing at Grace Pointe in Greeley, Colorado.We have neighborhoods for Independent Living, Assisted Living and Long Term Care providing a comfortable home for you or your family member no matter the life stage. 

Local Services By This Author

Vi at Bentley Village

Independent Living 850 Retreat Dr., Naples, Florida, 34110

Vi at Bentley Village offers a luxurious senior living experience in Naples, Florida, encompassing 156 acres of private par-3 golf, modern cuisine, exceptional amenities, and lush surroundings. With over 30 floor plans to choose from, residents can personalize their living spaces. Beyond elegant apartments, residents enjoy stylish common areas and resort-style amenities.Our dedicated service staff ensures residents have more time to enjoy life, handling everyday routines. Culinary delights are a highlight, with our team crafting imaginative fare from grab-and-go breakfast smoothies to gourmet meals. Should care be needed, our on-site care center provides peace of mind, with Type A CCRC offerings ensuring predictable financial planning for future care needs.Connect with us to stay updated on community news and events. Visit us at 850 Retreat Dr. in Naples, FL

Vi at Bentley Village

Housing - Other Types 850 Retreat Drive, Naples, Florida, 34110

Vi at Bentley Village offers a luxurious senior living experience in Naples, Florida, encompassing 156 acres of private par-3 golf, modern cuisine, exceptional amenities, and lush surroundings. With over 30 floor plans to choose from, residents can personalize their living spaces. Beyond elegant apartments, residents enjoy stylish common areas and resort-style amenities.Our dedicated service staff ensures residents have more time to enjoy life, handling everyday routines. Culinary delights are a highlight, with our team crafting imaginative fare from grab-and-go breakfast smoothies to gourmet meals. Should care be needed, our on-site care center provides peace of mind, with Type A CCRC offerings ensuring predictable financial planning for future care needs.Connect with us to stay updated on community news and events. Visit us at 850 Retreat Dr. in Naples, FL

Bentley Care Center

Skilled Nursing 850 Retreat Dr., Naples, Florida, 34110

Vi at Bentley Village is a Type A luxury Life-Plan Community that provides residents with independent living, as well as a continuum of care, including Assisted Living, Skilled Nursing, and Memory Support on-site. Plus, with a host of services and amenities offered especially for your convenience, you will have the freedom and the free time to make the most of your vibrant lifestyle.