LA Elderly Resources

It is stressful enough caring for an elderly loved one. Take a peek into the world of acronyms, abbreviations, and definitions for eldercare.

Placements of Care

Setting with nurses capable of more involved care like administering medication, tending to wounds, tube feeding (enteral feeding) among other procedures.
A long-term care type of environment that provides services to meet the needs of its residents. They are regulated by the state and each state has their own definition as to what constitutes an assisted living facility.
An environment that offers varying levels of care for its residents depending on their needs. More independent residents may live in private apartments or houses while other residents who require more involved care are in assisted living quarters.
Helping people of any age or medical condition over an extended period of time.
Help and support for aging adults, also known as senior citizens (ages 65+).
Aka Geriatric Care Manager, a person who assesses a senior citizen’s plan of care and makes adjustments when necessary to ensure that senior’s needs are being met. An aging care moderator can work for a facility or a separate agency.

A non-residential facility that provides care to meet the medical, social,
dietary, and other various needs of adults. They usually offer activities in a group setting to encourage social connection among the adults in the facility. Adult Day Cares can be utilized by individuals who are transitioning out of a hospital environment.

A type of senior living facility that provides involved, intensive care for elderly persons with memory impairment. These can be entire facilities or there can be a memory care department within an assisted living facility specifically for patients with memory impairments.
Aka Residential Care Homes or Group Homes, these are facilities that offer care for seniors on a smaller scale compared to ALFs. Residential Care Facilities tend to have a home-like environment ranging from 10-15 seniors. The scale of care is more personal with one provider being responsible for 1-4 residents. Most residential care facilities offer services like laundry, meal preparation, bathing, medication administration, and transportation.

Home-based Services

A home health aide is a certified employee of a Home Health Agency. They perform household services like cleaning, grocery shopping, and laundry as well as personal services like meal prep, dressing, and transportation of patients. Home health aides are trained to take vital signs to monitor a patient’s condition and typically perform their services under the supervision of a registered nurse.
Services that cover the aforementioned Activities of Daily Living like cooking, bathing, dressing, and medication administration.

Medical Care & Terms

A physician who is the first point of contact for a patient with an undiagnosed medical issue. They take on the responsibility for a patient’s care even after the issue is diagnosed and will refer the patient to relevant specialist physicians if necessary.
A set of basic activities a person performs daily in order to live independently and/or within a community. The most agreed upon ADLs include:
  • Personal hygiene (bathing, showering, brushing teeth, etc)
  • Eating (ability to feed oneself, not necessarily the ability to prepare food)
  • Dressing (ability to dress and undress oneself appropriately)
  • Maintaining continence (both mentally and physically able to use the restroom)
  • Mobility (the ability to get out of bed and walk/move independently from one area to the other)
A progressive form of dementia characterized by the degeneration of the brain. The cognitive impairments result in confusion and/or memory loss and there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s Disease.
A chronic condition where the heart is weakened and cannot pump blood as well as it should, resulting in fluid buildup in the lungs. Symptoms include shortness of breath, swollen legs, and fatigue.

Refers to a group of lung diseases, most commonly emphysema (damaged air sacs in lungs) and bronchitis (inflammation of bronchial
tubes). Chronic refers to the long-lasting, irreversible damage to the lungs caused by COPD. Symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath, and/or a chronic cough.

Medical equipment that is utilized in a home setting that leads to a better quality of living. Examples of obility DME include walkers, wheelchairs, and patient lifts. Examples of respiratory DME include CPAP devices, nebulizers, and oxygen equipment.
A legal order that indicates an individual does not wish to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation in the event their heart stops beating.
The presence of a thrombus (blood clot) in veins deep below the skin’s surface, usually the veins in the legs. If left untreated, the blood clot can become dislodged and end up in another part of the body like the lungs. Symptoms are not always present but can include pain or swelling in the legs.
Refers to the phenomenon where a patient under the age of 65 is diagnosed with Alezhiemer’s disease. EOA patients are typically 40-50 years of age and can be in various levels of dementia. Diagnosis of EOA typically requires a medical exam and cognitive evaluations performed by a physician who specializes in Alzheimer’s disease.

Refers to the stage and level of care of a patient with a terminal condition and the disease has progressed to the point where it is incurable.

Refers to the stage when Chronic Kidney Disease has progressed and a patient’s kidneys can no longer sustain function without intervention. A patient with ESRD will need dialysis or a kidney transplant to continue living.

A type of dementia where neurons primarily in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are affected and degrade. These lobes of the brain are responsible for functions like planning, speech, and movement. Symptoms of FTD include changes in personality, difficulty with speech, poor decision making, and repetitive/compulsive behaviors.

A type of dementia characterized by the buildup of protein deposits,
called Lewy Bodies, in the brain which result in cognitive impairment. Symptoms vary between patients but most commonly include general confusion about time and place, fluctuating ability to concentrate, changes in behavior, and irregular sleeping patterns.

Mild cognitive impairment refers to a level of cognitive decline that is greater than what is typical for an aging person but is not as serious as dementia. People with MCI could have issues with memory, language, and/or decision making.

An infection of the urinary system, including the bladder, kidneys, or
urethra. These infections are more common in women than men. Symptoms can include painful urination, blood in urine, nausea, pelvic pain, and even infection-induced delirium. UTIs can be treated with antibiotics.

Latin for “il per nos”, it is an acronym used by medical personnel to mean “nothing by mouth” for a patient for a designated period of time. This means the patient should refrain from eating, drinking, or taking any oral medication during this period.
Portable medical orders for severely ill patients to determine their treatment at the end-of-life stage. POLST forms are drafted and signed by a physician, ideally after consultation with the patient/patient’s family, and they let other medical providers know an individual’s goals of care.


Located throughout the U.S., these are agencies who strive to keep seniors and disabled citizens living sufficiently in their homes for as long as possible. They fundraise for both new and existing programs that offer things like meal preparation and transportation services to make home living easier for its recipients.
Medicaid can provide its recipients with services out of the convenience of their own home or community rather than a traditional facility setting.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is an agency that is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.The agency is responsible for operating the Medicare program and, along with state governments, the administration of Medicaid services.
The Department of Health & Human Services’s goal is to improve the health of American citizens and their overall well being. The department provides services based on the advancing research in regards to medicine, social sciences, and public health.
A Home Health Agency provides nursing and other medical services by a group of professionals, usually consisting of one or more physicians and nurses, and they adhere to their organization’s own policies.

Care Community Staff

An APN is a nurse who received postgraduate education in nursing and has clinical experience that reflects an advanced scope of practice. APNs can work as specialists or generalists and their qualifications allow them greater autonomy in regards to decision making compared to other nurses.
Aka Caregivers, Direct Care Workers provide support to their clients and assist them with typical daily activities. Their duties include helping clients with transportation, general housekeeping, bathing, food preparation, and administration of medication to name a few.
Aka Nursing Assistants, a certified nursing assistant helps care for patients under the supervision of either a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) or Registered Nurse (RN). Their duties can include helping a patient with grooming, dressing, feeding, and locomotion if they have limited mobility.
A Nurse Practitioner (NP) is a type of Advanced Practice Nurse that has a postgraduate education in nursing. NPs are considered mid-level providers, meaning they have more training and responsibilities than CNAs but less autonomy than physicians in regards to medical decisions for a patient. Duties of nurse practitioners include assessing and diagnosing patients, ordering relevant diagnostic tests, and working with physicians to create treatment plans for patients.
A registered nurse (RN) is a graduate of a certified school of nursing who has passed the NCLEX-RN exam and is licensed by their respective state’s board of nursing. The responsibilities of an RN vary depending on their environment, experience, and education but generally include nursing duties like diagnosing a patient, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, operating medical equipment, administering medication, and teaching patients about their treatment plans.
Also known as a Licensed Vocational Nurse (LVN) in California and Texas, an LPN is a nurse who works under the supervision of mid-level practitioners like NPs. An LPN typically performs basic bed-side procedures like assessing a patient’s vitals,tending to wounds, recording food and fluid intake, and assisting patients with limited mobility. It is possible for an experienced LPN to supervise CNAs and other LPNs.


Elder Law Attorneys take a more holistic approach to the legal matters regarding elder care. They are knowledgeable on topics like tax, medical insurance, and estate planning and how those integrate into an elderly person’s long term care. To be considered for CELA certification, an attorney must meet the proper qualifications and pass a written exam. According to the National Elder Law Foundation, there are just over 500 CELA’s in the United States.
An insurance plan designed to cover long term support and services for an individual. Services can include personal care for an individual whether it be in their own home or in a facility. The price of a long-term policy depends on how old a person is when they buy the policy and whether or not they opt for additional benefits.
Medicare Part A is in-patient/hospital insurance. The policy holder generally has copayments that covers stays in the hospital, hospice care, and nursing care.
Medicare Part B is outpatient/medical insurance that covers medical services outside of a hospital setting. This includes procedures like flu shots and health screenings as well as services like chemotherapy, physical therapy, and trips to the doctors office.
A written authorization that gives an individual the ability to represent or act on another person’s behalf in regards to legal matters.
An agency of the U.S. federal government that is responsible for the administration of Social Security, the social service insurance program that provides benefits for disabled and retirement-age citizens.
This is an insurance program administered by the SSA that provides benefits to individuals with disabilities. Recipients must meet both medical and non-medical criteria in order to be insured under the program.