Glossary of Terms

You never stop learning.

Making the move to a retirement community often involves a significant learning curve. When approaching the idea of retirement living for the first time, you may encounter a myriad of terms that they you are unfamiliar with. To help you better understand your potential transition, we have compiled a glossary of terms that highlight some of the frequently used phrases, medical terms, and abbreviations that are used in our industry.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)

Functional activities that individuals typically engage in on a daily basis, which include but are not limited to; walking, dressing, eating, using the bathroom, showering, and grooming.

Independent Living (IL)

A retirement option for individuals generally 55 years of age and older who are in need to no hands on care services, and who function independently.

Assisted Living (AL)

Living arrangements, typically catering to the elderly population, that combine housing and care services. Assisted Living services can range from all- inclusive to a la carte, and can be any combination of hands on care services, companion services, or supervised care based on the need for assistance with one or more activities of daily living (ADL’s).

Memory Care (MC)

A form of Assisted Living that specializes in the care of individuals who suffer from cognitive impairment related to memory loss such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.

Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF)

An inpatient stay for individuals who are in need of nursing care services, but who do not meet qualifications for hospitalization. Skilled nursing facilities generally treat individuals on a temporary basis using aggressive therapy services to return patients as close as possible to their prior level of functioning before they are discharged.


Rehab involves a series of treatments focusing on physical, occupational, speech or other related entities, designed to help improve the functioning of our seniors. Usually Rehab involves an inpatient or outpatient stay, and is designed to be a temporary attempt to help individuals regain their strength or independence. Usually rehab is initiated following a significant decline, procedure, or diagnosis of an individual.


A temporary stay or accommodation away from the home in a setting such as a retirement community. From a retirement community standpoint, respite is usually referencing a short term stay for an individual(s) that needs general oversight or care services. The primary caregiver of the individual could need a break, have an emergency, or a predetermined obligation leaving the cared for individual unfit and unsafe to stay alone.

Home Health Care

Home health care includes a variety of health services that may be available to an individual who suffers from a potential illness or injury, in their own home. Home health care services are determined based on the condition of the patient, and are meant to be temporary services that are not spread over long periods of time. Ultimately, home health care attempts to assist individuals in getting better over a temporary period of time.


Medicare is a federally developed health insurance option, managed through the Social Security Administration. Medicare is focused on assisting with health care for the senior population.


Medicaid is a combined program coming from the state and federal levels that aims to assist families and low income individuals with costs incurred regarding medical or supervisory care services. Individuals are required to go through a qualification process to receive Medicaid benefits, and even though Medicaid is a federally developed program, it is run by each state individually, and qualification requirements vary per state.


Organizations across the United States that concentrate on coordinating care for people who are not well, especially those who are terminally ill. Hospice generally provides care coordination for these individuals and their families.