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‘Care conversations’: Common phrases caregivers need to know

If you’ve just begun caring for an older adult, it’s easy to be confused by the jargon of senior-focused health care.

And if you’re searching for a senior living community, the various terms and phrases to describe different levels of care require building a new set of vocabulary just to navigate literature you receive.

In addition to the terms about your loved one’s health conditions, there are a handful of phrases all caregivers should know while they are providing care and when choosing a senior living community.

Finding Order in the Acronyms

Many senior living communities refer to their levels of care services with acronyms. When you are familiar with these common terms, you’ll find it easier to determine which services different communities provide.

● IL – Independent Living
Independent living refers to residency at a senior living or retirement community. Little to no support services are provided, but lifestyles are generally maintenance-free.

● PC/AL – Personal Care or Assisted Living
Personal care living provides support for people who need help with daily living tasks, such as routine hygiene, getting dressed or taking medication. Diakon provides personal care at many of its senior living communities in Pennsylvania; in Maryland, the service is known as assisted living.

● MC or MCAL – Memory Care or Memory Care Assisted Living
Memory care, sometimes referred to as memory care personal care, memory support or dementia care, provides specialized support for those with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of cognitive impairments.

●    SNF – Skilled Nursing Facility
Skilled nursing facilities offer extensive long-term care for seniors with chronic conditions or medically advanced needs.

●    LTC – Long-Term Care
Long-term care is often received in a skilled nursing facility. These residents have advanced care needs and require daily attention from medical professionals.

●    STR – Short-Term Rehab
Short-term rehabilitation can provide either inpatient or outpatient services for those recovering from an illness or injury. Often, STR patients require some form of occupational or physical therapy.

●    CCRC – Continuing Care Retirement Community
This type of community offers independent living for active seniors, as well as a continuum of care for those in need of support. CCRCs often provide assisted living or personal care, memory care and skilled nursing care.

Other Terms and Phrases to Know

In addition to the common terms for care services, caregivers also should be familiar with these phrases:

●    Respite Care – Respite care can be provided by a trusted family member, friend or senior living community. Whenever caregivers need a break or have other duties to attend to, having someone else care for their loved one temporarily offers much-needed relief from caregiving tasks.

●    Adult Day Services – Adult day centers or other programs that offer care and programming during daily business hours are another solution for caregivers to find help caring for a loved one.

●    Clinical Trials – If your loved one has a chronic disease such as Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s, clinical trials could help them find successful treatments. Researchers are always seeking volunteers to participate in the final stages of their research when working on new treatment options.

As you continuing providing care, you’ll quickly become familiar with these phrases and many more used in the senior care industry. If you ever have questions about caregiving or how to find the best services for your loved one, don’t hesitate to contact Diakon Senior Living Services for helpful guidance and support.

Jennifer Sharp

Vice President, Diakon Senior Living Services Operations