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Glossary

Unfamiliar with any of the clinical terms, expressions or acronyms used in the caregiving world? Explore our glossary to find out what they all mean. All of our glossary terms can be found here, but you will also see them highlighted by a light green underline throughout the text on the site, and their definitions will appear in a pop-up window when you hover over the highlighted term.

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Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Basic personal care tasks, including bathing, grooming, dressing and undressing, eating, toileting, transferring from a bed or chair, range-of-motion exercising, taking medications and getting around the home; these self-care tasks are used to measure the functional impairment level that determines eligibility for some governmental programs, including the Massachusetts Home Care Program.
Activities of Daily Living (ADL)Basic personal care tasks, including bathing, grooming, dressing and undressing, eating, toileting, transferring from a bed or chair, range-of-motion exercising, taking medications and getting around the home; these self-care tasks are used to measure the functional impairment level that determines eligibility for some governmental programs, including the Massachusetts Home Care Program.
Administration for Community Living (ACL)
Created in 2012, the ACL brought together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that works on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.
Administration for Community Living (ACL)Created in 2012, the ACL brought together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that works on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.
Adult Day Care
Adult day programs provide a safe, structured environment for seniors, adults with physical or mental disabilities and other adults who live in the community, providing socialization for the participant and respite for the caregiver. These programs offer different levels of care, ranging from medical models that provide a high level of care (see Adult Day Health Care), dementia programs with specialized care for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and supportive or social day care programs that offer social and recreational activities, some assistance with ADLs, support services, meals, and transportation.
Adult Day CareAdult day programs provide a safe, structured environment for seniors, adults with physical or mental disabilities and other adults who live in the community, providing socialization for the participant and respite for the caregiver. These programs offer different levels of care, ranging from medical models that provide a high level of care (see Adult Day Health Care), dementia programs with specialized care for people with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, and supportive or social day care programs that offer social and recreational activities, some assistance with ADLs, support services, meals, and transportation.
Adult Day Health Care
Community-based programs that provide a high level of care, including skilled nursing services, assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), case management, meals, activities and transportation.
Adult Day Health CareCommunity-based programs that provide a high level of care, including skilled nursing services, assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), case management, meals, activities and transportation.
Adult Foster Care (AFC)
A MassHealth program for frail elderly adults and adults with disabilities who cannot live alone safely. AFC adults live with trained paid caregivers who provide daily care. Caregivers may be family members (except legally responsible relatives), or non-family members.
Adult Foster Care (AFC)A MassHealth program for frail elderly adults and adults with disabilities who cannot live alone safely. AFC adults live with trained paid caregivers who provide daily care. Caregivers may be family members (except legally responsible relatives), or non-family members.
Affordable Care Act
This is the health care reform law, frequently referred to as "Obamacare," that was passed in 2010. Among its provisions, the law ends lifetime limits on insurance coverage, prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, allows young adults under 26 to remain on their parents' plans, provides preventative care at no cost, forces insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums on direct medical care and not administrative costs or profits, reduces the Medicare Part D "donut hole" prescription drug coverage gap, allows states to expand Medicaid, while mandating that individuals buy coverage or face tax penalties.
Affordable Care ActThis is the health care reform law, frequently referred to as "Obamacare," that was passed in 2010. Among its provisions, the law ends lifetime limits on insurance coverage, prevents insurance companies from denying coverage due to pre-existing conditions, allows young adults under 26 to remain on their parents' plans, provides preventative care at no cost, forces insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premiums on direct medical care and not administrative costs or profits, reduces the Medicare Part D "donut hole" prescription drug coverage gap, allows states to expand Medicaid, while mandating that individuals buy coverage or face tax penalties.
Aging Services Access Point (ASAP)
Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) are one-stop entry points for all of the services and benefits available to seniors in Massachusetts. ASAPs are private, non-profit, state-designated agencies under contract with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide seniors and caregivers with access a variety of programs and services.
Aging Services Access Point (ASAP)Aging Services Access Points (ASAPs) are one-stop entry points for all of the services and benefits available to seniors in Massachusetts. ASAPs are private, non-profit, state-designated agencies under contract with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs to provide seniors and caregivers with access a variety of programs and services.
Alzheimer's Disease
The most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive brain illness that causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die, leading to memory loss and other physical symptoms that gradually worsen over time.
Alzheimer's DiseaseThe most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's Disease is a progressive brain illness that causes large numbers of nerve cells in the brain to die, leading to memory loss and other physical symptoms that gradually worsen over time.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and eventually leads to their death.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)Often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord and eventually leads to their death.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)
Agencies established under the Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans aged 60 and over with the goal of keeping seniors living independently in their own homes. AAAs solicit and contract with private vendors for services, administer the disbursement of funding, monitor programs for regulatory compliance and maintenance of quality, and generally coordinate operation of services and resources.
Area Agency on Aging (AAA)Agencies established under the Older Americans Act to respond to the needs of Americans aged 60 and over with the goal of keeping seniors living independently in their own homes. AAAs solicit and contract with private vendors for services, administer the disbursement of funding, monitor programs for regulatory compliance and maintenance of quality, and generally coordinate operation of services and resources.

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