Glossary of Senior Living Terms

Senior Living Terms

Your A – Z Guide to Senior Living Terminology

If you’re confused about all of the terms associated with senior living, this article is for you —  read on for definitions that will clarify some of the most commonly used terminology in exploring what senior living solutions are best for you or a loved one.

Active 55

These residential communities are designed for people ages 55 and older who are in generally good health. Certain amenities may be included, but continuing care (such as assisted living) is not available.

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)

Day-to-day activities like bathing, grooming, dressing, tidying, cooking, eating, toileting, administering medications, moving around, and other self-care/maintenance tasks.

Administration on Aging (AoA)

An agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The AoA educates seniors and their family members about benefits and services they may be eligible for, and you can learn more at

Aging in Place

When a senior chooses to remain in their home, even if their physical and/or mental health declines due to the aging process.

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s impacts parts of the brain that control thought, memory, and language. It’s a progressive disease and also the most common type of dementia.

Area Agencies on Aging

An agency representing the U.S.’s national network of Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs). AAAs are an excellent resource for aging services. Find your region’s organization at

Assisted Living

Assisted living is an ideal solution for older adults who no longer wish to live on their own. Personalized assistance with everything from dressing and personal grooming to laundry and housekeeping is provided, allowing residents to maintain as much dignity and independence as possible.

Learn more about The Argyle’s approach to assisted living here.


The primary person responsible for the care of an individual with special needs, including Alzheimer’s disease and other conditions. This person could be a family member or a healthcare professional.

Continuing Care

Care that exceeds the support of an independent living community. Assisted living, memory care, nursing care, respite care, and post-acute rehabilitation are all types of continuing care.


Unlike Alzheimer’s, dementia is not a specific disease, but a group of symptoms. Dementia is characterized by a severe loss of intellectual functions, including thinking, remembering and reasoning. Symptoms can include changes in personality, mood and behavior.

Home Health Care

In-home medical and nursing services from licensed providers and professionals, such as a private duty nurse.

Hospice Care

This philosophy and approach offers comfort at the end of life, as opposed to lifesaving measures. Most hospice care is provided at home, though specialized hospices and hospitals also offer these services. Medical, counseling, and social services are often included in hospice care.

Independent Living

Unlike assisted living, independent living is fully autonomous, and it allows seniors to exercise control over how they live each day. Residents enjoy the privacy of their own apartments, with convenient access to laundry services, home-cooked meals, and other services if they choose to utilize them.

Every independent living community is different. For example, at The Argyle, human connection is a treasured value. We plan regular community activities, events, and outings. Learn more about independent living in Denver here.

Long-Term Care

A type of care for individuals who need 24-hour attention and assistance due to a disability or illness. Physicians and qualified caregivers assist with daily tasks, including dressing and medication management.


A public assistance program funded by individual U.S. states for people who cannot afford healthcare. Colorado’s Medicaid program is called Health First — learn more and apply here.  


A national insurance program that provides health insurance to Americans who are 65 and older. Younger people with disabilities may also be eligible. Learn more about medicare here.

Medication Management/Administration

A formalized procedure for assisted living residents, including written rules for the management of self-administered medicine. The senior’s physician often helps create and/or coordinate the plan.

Memory Care

A specific type of 24-hour, supervised long-term care for patients with memory problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Some assisted living communities offer onsite memory care services, but the two terms are not synonymous.

Monthly Service Package

A monthly senior living fee at certain senior residences that includes various services, amenities, and utilities, such as heating, cooling, cable TV, and phone service.


These communities are operated by a volunteer-staffed board of trustees who have a sincere desire to give back to the seniors in their area. Any surplus income is invested back into improving and/or expanding services and facilities.

The Argyle is an example of a non-profit senior living community. We serve the community by providing affordable, high-quality living accommodations and services to seniors in Denver — learn more about our community involvement here.

Nursing Home

State-licensed facilities providing 24-hour nursing care, residential accommodations, activities, and other amenities. These communities are most commonly utilized by seniors with chronic conditions that require long-term care.

Medical supervision and rehabilitation therapy are mandated requirements. Nursing homes are also eligible to participate in the national Medicaid program.

Occupational Therapy

A type of outpatient therapy for individuals recovering from an illness (physical or mental). Patients focus on rehabilitating how they perform daily tasks and activities.  

Physical Therapy

Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation from injuries and illnesses. Manual techniques, like massage and strengthening exercises, are used during therapy.

Post-Acute Rehabilitation

Long-term or short-term care for individuals recovering from illness, injury, or hospitalization. A combination of care types can be utilized during post-acute rehabilitation, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy.


Restoring, maintaining, and/or improving physical and mental strength. Occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech therapy could be included in a rehabilitation plan.

Respite Care

Temporary care and housing for someone who needs daily support. Respite care can be helpful during a variety of scenarios, such as when a full-time caregiver goes on vacation or needs to take care of personal business.

Skilled Nursing Care

24-hour care for people suffering from chronic health conditions that are too complicated to be treated at home or in an assisted living community.

Speech Therapy

This type of outpatient rehabilitation focuses on treating speech and swallowing disorders. Techniques used include cognitive rehabilitation, swallowing therapy, and voice retraining.

As a local nonprofit, The Argyle has brought high quality and affordable care to Denver’s seniors since 1874. To this day, our caring team remains committed to encouraging independence and preserving the dignity of every resident who calls our community home.

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