Glossary of Senior Housing

Glossary of Senior Housing

Glossary of Senior Living Terms

Accessory Apartment: A completely separate living unit inside a single-family home. Imagine a finished lower level with a bedroom, bath and kitchenette. These have also been called mother-in-law apartments.  This is a popular housing option for seniors who want to stay in their homes. This housing option provides an opportunity for convenient caregiving, but still allows for some privacy for both the caregiver and the senior.  In addition, the rent from the mother-in-law apartment can be an additional source of income to landlord and low rent for the tenant.

Accreditation: Accreditation signifies a senior housing community or service provider has met certain requirements by the governing body offering the accreditation. As a consumer, it’s important for you to understand what is required to receive the accreditation, and how often the senior housing community or service provider is audited to be sure they continue to meet the requirements of the governing body.  Examples of some accreditations available for senior housing communities are: Continuing Care Accreditation Commission (CCAC), Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Faciities (CARF) and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO).

Activities of Daily Living: Often referred to as ADLs. A term used in the medical and social work communities to denote the level of independence of an individual.  If a senior needs help with ADLs, this might include; bathing, dressing, feeding, transferring into or out of a chair or bed, and toileting.

American with Disabilities Act (ADA): A law passed by Congress in 1990 which established prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability. The law requires equal access to public building and places of employment for people with disabilities.

Administration on Aging: Office of Human Development Services: The principal federal agency responsible for administering most provisions of Older Americans Act. Works with state and local agencies, concentrates on interests of elderly.

Adult Day Care Center: A place that provides activities and meals for seniors, plus interaction with peers and resources.

Adult Foster Homes: Licensed family-oriented homes that take in older people who pay for room and board. Usually fewer than four seniors live in one home.

Attorney-in-Fact: An individual empowered to act on behalf of another according to terms of a power of attorney or durable power of attorney.

Assisted Living Facility: A residential facility not licensed as a nursing home that provides personal care and support services to elderly who need help with daily activities.  These communities go by a variety of names and are often affiliated with independent living communities or nursing care facilities.

Board and Care Home: A living arrangement, usually a house in a residential neighborhood, or private or shared sleeping rooms and bathrooms, with meals and housekeeping included.  Some homes provide supervision, personal care services, transportation, and outings and others offer nothing more than a bed.  Board and care homes cater to people with varying disabilities, including Alzheimer’s and related dementia, the physically disabled, and the elderly who have nowhere else to go.

Caregiver: Someone who provides care for another individual.

Certified Senior Advisor: Offered by the Society of Senior Advisors, this is a professional who has a specialty working with seniors in the respective field.

Cognitive Impairment: The inability to think systemically and make the decisions most functioning adults make on a day to day basis.  Someone suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s or a brain injury likely also suffer from cognitive impairment.

Community Spouse: A term used by Medicare to refer to the spouse not in the nursing home, but living in the community.

Condominium: A legal real estate term to refer to the type of ownership.  When you own a condominium, you own the air between the walls of your particular unit.

Contact Information

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Donna McCampbell
RE/MAX Northwest Realtors
300 NE 97th St
Seattle WA 98115
(206)949-9147 - Direct
(206)522-5500 - Office