Caregiving Glossary

Learn about government programs, local organizations, providers, and other resources that help caregivers.

Acute Care

Acute care is when someone needs immediate medical attention to stabilize an illness or injury.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care is a type of respite care that gives caregivers a break and offers health services and activities for older adults and adults with disabilities.

Advance Directives

An advance directive is a written legal document that lets others know your loved one's medical preferences for when they are unable to do so.

Area Agency on Aging

Area Agencies on Aging are organizations that share information and local resources for people who are aging and their caregivers.

Assisted Living

Assisted living is for people with disabilities or older adults who need assistance with their daily activities but don't need around the clock nursing care.

Caregiver Support Groups

Support groups invite caregivers to share their experiences, learn coping strategies, and offer advice in a safe environment.

Caregiver Therapy

Caregiver therapy lets caregivers have a safe place to speak with a trained specialist to relieve emotional burdens, anxiety, and loneliness.

Custodial Care

Custodial care is caregiving provided alongside skilled services, such as those ordered by a doctor.

Death Doula

A death doula is someone who provides companionship and support during life’s final days and hours.

Do Not Intubate (DNI)

DNI means not having a tube inserted into one’s airway to assist with breathing in case of an emergency or other health issues.

Do Not Resuscitate (DNR)

A DNR order lets emergency and medical personnel know your loved one's wishes in the event their heart or breathing stops.

Evidence-Based Programs (EBPs)

Evidence-based programs are those that have been researched and found to have positive results on certain populations like aging individuals.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

FMLA allows qualified employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave per year to handle family and medical circumstances while keeping their health benefits and job.

Geriatric Care Manager

Geriatric care managers are specialists in helping families manage their aging loved one’s care needs.


A geriatrician is a medical doctor who is devoted to serving the needs of older adults.

Home Care

Home care allows people who are aging, chronically ill or disabled to receive personalized non-medical care in the comfort of their home.

Home Health Care

Home health care allows people who require medical care or are recovering from a hospitalization to remain at home.


Hospice care allows people with terminal illnesses and their families to live as comfortably as possible during the last stages of life.

Hospice House

A hospice house is a peaceful, home-like setting for people who are terminally ill and their loved ones.

Hospice Nurse

Hospice nurses are the people who regularly visit with patients and families. They are available and around the clock.

Hospice Volunteer

Hospice volunteers provide useful services for patients, families, as well as hospice office and outreach tasks.

Independent Living

Independent living allows aging adults to live independently while having easy access to dining, medical care, entertainment and social gatherings.

Living Will

A living will is a written legal document that details your loved one's choices for medical care when they become unable to tell others what they want.


Medicaid is a federal and state jointly funded healthcare program that covers health services for certain people with low-incomes.

Medical Social Worker

A medical social worker is someone who serves people from all walks of life as they experience the many facets of healthcare.


Medicare is a government-funded health insurance program for Americans 65 years or older and for some people with long-term disabilities.

Memory Care

Memory care facilities are similar to assisted living communities but specialize in providing a safe, comfortable, and supportive environment for people living with dementia.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes are community style residences for people who are aging or very ill and in need of round-the-clock care by nurses and aides.

Nutrition Services

The Administration for Community Living, with funding provided by the Older Americans Act, provides states with grant funding for food services. Some of these are to provide special nutrition services for aging adults.

Palliative Care

Palliative care focuses on providing comfort, relief from pain and the best quality of life possible for seriously ill people.

Patient Care Coordinator (PCC)

A Patient Care Coordinator (PCC) manages a person's care from assessment of personal needs to education for caregivers, including family members.

Personal Care Assistant (PCA)

A personal care assistant (PCA) is a caregiver who is trained to care for people with various needs in a variety of settings.

Power of Attorney (POA)

A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document issued to one person who may need to make financial, legal or health decisions for the issuer.

Primary Caregiver

A primary caregiver is the person who assumes care for another who is no longer able to care for themselves or their home.

Respite Care

Respite care offers primary caregivers a temporary break from the demanding day to day of caring for a family member who is disabled, ill, or aging.

Social Security Administration (SSA)

Social Security Administration (SSA) offers 3 types of social security benefits including: Retirement Benefits, Disability Insurance (SSDI), Survivors Benefits.

Social Security Retirement Benefits

Social Security Retirement Benefits provide retirement income. They are for qualified adults after they reach a certain age, helping them to care for themselves and their family.

The Older Americans Act (OAA)

The Older Americans Act (OAA) addresses the need for social service programs to assist aging individuals and their families.