Retirement Community & Senior Living Glossary

Our comprehensive senior living and retirement community glossary features dozens of common retirement terms to help you in your independent living journey. Start browsing the glossary below. 

Retirement Community & Senior Living Terminology

55 Plus Community - A retirement community that requires all residents be at least 55 years of age.

Active Adult Lifestyle - Referring to the type of lifestyle provided by active adult retirement communities. This usually includes amenities, activities, and opportunities that reflect a desire to remain active, along with a low-maintenance lifestyle. Read more about an active adult lifestyle here.

Advance Directive - A legal document that explains what actions should be taken in regards to one's health should they no longer be able to make decisions themselves.

Aging in Place - The choice of a senior to remain in his or her current residence as he or she ages.

Assisted Living Facility - Long-term care facility that provides personal care assistance to older adults. Learn more about assisted living facilities here.

Assisted Living - A type of care that provides assistance for the patient's personal needs, including clothing, bathing, and feeding.

CARF Retirement Communities - "Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation" accredited retirement communities meet the internationally recognized standards of health service providers. Learn more about CARF retirement communities here.

Carriage Homes - Sometimes referred to as a "coach house," carriage homes are similar to townhome-style residences, but can also be single-family homes.

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) - Independent living retirement communities that also offer assisted living and healthcare services. Learn more about CCRCs here.

Cottages - Cozy single-family home options in retirement communities.

Downsizing - The act of moving to a smaller home and/or reducing the number of possessions. This is usually done to save money or because the amount of space of the original home is no longer necessary or safe. Learn more about downsizing here.

Elderly Health Services - Resources and services that can assist with a number of senior health concerns, including medical assistance, advice, and more. Learn more about elderly health services here.

HOA - A homeowner's association that creates and enforces rules within a community.

Home Healthcare - Healthcare services and assistance provided within the patient's home. Learn more about home healthcare here.

Homeowner's Association - See "HOA."

Hospice - Health services that provide medical, spiritual, and emotional care to the terminally ill. Learn more about hospice here.

Independent Living - Older adults who are able to live on their own, but prefer having the options and conveniences of a retirement community. Learn more about independent living communities here.

Independent Retirement Living - See "Independent Living."

Life Care Retirement - A retirement community that provides the standard amenities one expects from such a community, as well as medical care options for residents as they age. Learn more about Life Care Retirement here.

Long-Term Care Insurance - Insurance that pays for long-term healthcare such as assisted living, home health care, and other care services.

Medicaid - Federal health coverage program that provides insurances coverage to groups such as the elderly and low income individuals.

Medical Rehabilitation Services - Physical rehabilitation program that helps patients improve function and mobility following surgery, injury, or other issues. Learn more about medical rehabilitation services here.

Medicare - Federal health insurance program that covers Americans 65 years of age or older.

Nurse Practitioner - A nurse that is qualified to diagnosis certain conditions and provide treatment without supervision from a doctor. Learn more about nurse practitioners at Acts Retirement.

Nursing Home - A residential community for older adults that provides basic accommodations and healthcare.

Palliative Care - Healthcare services for patients with a serious illness that focuses on quality of life. Palliative care frequently treats the side effects and symptoms of the ongoing treatment for the illness.

Respite Care - Short-term care for an elderly person that provides some relief to the primary family caregiver(s). Learn more about respite care here.

Retirement Community - A residential community for older adults who want to socialize with their peers and enjoy the leisure of retirement. Learn more about retirement communities here.

Retirement Facility - See "Retirement Community."

Senior Care Plan - A healthcare plan, usually designed by a doctor, nurse, or caregiver, that satisfies all the needs of a senior patient.

Senior Housing - A general term for a community or complex designed for housing senior citizens.

Senior Living Consultant - See "Life Care Consultant."

Life Care Consultant - A professional advisor who helps seniors and family caregivers of seniors by providing advice, information, and resources.

Skilled Care - Sometimes referred to as "skilled nursing care." Skilled Care is care received by a patient that can only be provided by a licensed nurse. Learn more about skilled care here.

Skilled Care Facility - Sometimes referred to as a "skilled care center." A medical facility that specializes in skilled nursing care. Learn more about skilled nursing facilities here.

Skilled Nursing - See "Skilled Care."

Type A Contract - Life Care contract that ensures that retirement community residents will receive unlimited use of healthcare services at a cost that doesn’t increase just because their medical needs do. Learn more about retirement community contracts here.

Fee-for-Service Contracts - Sometimes referred to as rental contracts, "Fee-for-Service" provides a lower monthly service fee but charges retirement community residents a daily rate for services such as assisted living. Learn more about fee-for-service here.

Extensive Contracts - See "Type A Contract." Learn more about retirement contracts.

Modified Contracts - Offers retirement community residents a discounted rate and a limited period of assisted living or skilled nursing care. Learn more about modified contracts here.