Glossary of Senior Terms
Helping someone you love explore retirement community options often requires a little translation. This brief glossary will help you differentiate plans, services and senior living options.
Active Adult Communities
For-sale single-family homes, townhomes, cluster homes, mobile homes and condominiums with no specialized services, restricted to adults at least 55 years of age or older. Rental housing is not included in this category. Residents generally lead an independent lifestyle; projects are not equipped to provide increased care as the individual ages. May include amenities such as clubhouse, golf course and recreational spaces. Outdoor maintenance is normally included in the monthly homeowner’s association or condominium fee.
Most retirement communities require that residents have reached a given age before moving in. You’ll find 65+ is a common benchmark.
Assisted Living Residents
State regulated rental properties that provide the same services as independent living communities listed above, but also provide, in a majority of the units, supportive care from trained employees to residents who are unable to live independently and require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) including management of medications, bathing, dressing, toileting, ambulating and eating. These properties may have some nursing beds, but the majority of units are licensed for assisted living. Many of these properties include wings or floors dedicated to residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. A property that specializes in the care of residents with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia that is not a licensed nursing facility should be considered an assisted living property.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) oversees credentialing of senior living communities under its Health Quality Assurance Division. AHCA licensing is pending for all services offered at Generations Senior Living Memory Care.
Age-restricted properties that include a combination of independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing services (or independent living and skilled nursing) available to residents all on one campus. Resident payment plans vary and include entrance fee, condo/coop and rental programs. The majority of the units are not licensed skilled nursing beds.
Independent Living Communities
Age-restricted multifamily rental properties with central dining facilities that provide residents, as part of their monthly fee, access to meals and other services such as housekeeping, linen service, transportation, and social and recreational activities. Such properties do not provide, in a majority of the units, assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) such as supervision of medication, bathing, dressing, toileting, etc. There are no licensed skilled nursing beds in the property.
Long-term Care Insurance
Long-term care insurance is a type of insurance developed specifically to cover the cost of skilled nursing, assisted living, home health care and other long-term care services. These services are usually not covered by traditional health insurance or Medicare.
The federal health insurance program called Medicare is designed for people who are 65 and older, certain younger people with disabilities, and people with End-Stage Renal Disease. Medicare Parts A, B, C and D cover specific services and care.
Financed by state and federal governments, Medicaid is the program of medical assistance designed for those unable to afford regular medical service. It is available to fund care in a skilled nursing setting.
A specialized type of elder care, memory care is tailored specifically for the needs of individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, or other cognitive disorders. Generations Senior Living Memory Care Homes specialize in providing personalized memory care to residents in an upscale residential home setting.
Licensed daily rate or rental properties that are technically referred to as skilled nursing facilities (SNF) or nursing facilities (NF) where the majority of individuals require 24-hour nursing and/or medical care. In most cases, these properties are licensed for Medicaid and/or Medicare reimbursement. These properties may include a minority of assisted living and/or Alzheimer’s/dementia units.
Services designed to help an individual recover from an injury, operation, stroke or illness. These may include physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy and memory care. In most cases, services are planned to help the patient return as closely as possible to pre-challenge levels. The services may be residential (inpatient), or outpatient, and may be short- or long-term, depending on the needs of the patient.
The term “retirement community” encompasses a wide scope of variations—several of which are covered here. Rental communities, continuing care, life care, assisted living and skilled nursing care communities all fall within the spectrum, as do age-restricted communities of individually owned homes with common services and amenities.
Multifamily residential rental properties restricted to adults at least 55 years of age or older. These properties do not have central kitchen facilities and generally do not provide meals to residents, but may offer community rooms, social activities, and other amenities.
Skilled Nursing Care
Skilled nursing care communities offer daily nursing care, provided or supervised by licensed medical personnel.