What is an ADL: Decoding Assisted Living Lingo for Northern Michigan Caregivers

Posted at Jun 20, 2014 | 1,053 Comments

Decode Senior Care Lingo

If you are the caregiver for a northern Michigan senior, you have probably heard a lot of acronyms being kicked around. Senior care and the health care fields are full of them. We thought it might help if we took some time today to review a few of the most common terms and explain what they mean for a senior’s care.

Commonly Used Senior Care Terms

ADL: This stands for “Activities of Daily Living.” These are the tasks your senior loved one needs to be able to complete on a daily basis. They include: bathing, dressing, grooming, toileting, walking and transferring to a chair or bed, and eating.

Ambulatory:  The term used to describe a person’s ability to walk without assistance.

Assisted Living Community:  These professionally managed communities are for people who require more care and/or supervision than they can get at home. Residents of assisted living communities can still experience independent living in their own apartment or suite while having access to prepared meals, social activities and around-the-clock assistance from trained caregivers and medical staff.

Clock Test: A simple neurological screening test used to determine the likelihood of someone having Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia. The person undergoing test is asked to draw a clock, put all of the numbers on the face of the clock and then set the time to ten past eleven.

Independent Living Community: A senior living option that focuses on lifestyle and worry-free living. Older adults that choose independent living are generally still fairly active.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living: These are the activities that are required to maintain independence. Examples include paying bills and managing finances, coordinating health care appointments, and arranging transportation.

Medication Management:  A set of rules and instructions for managing self-administered medication. These plans, often used in assisted living communities, describe when and how to administer medication, as well as when to alert patients’ primary care physicians.

Non-Ambulatory:  A term used to denote a person is unable to walk without help or is confined to a wheelchair or bed.

Outpatient Rehab: Outpatient therapy is conducted at a hospital or clinic. Patients travel to the clinic for therapy and return home afterwards. Services traditionally include physical, occupational and speech therapy. Some outpatient rehab centers also offer aquatic therapy.

Personal Care: This is the type of care that offers support to individuals who need assistance with bathing, dressing, and other personal hygiene tasks.

Respite Care:  These short-term stays can be utilized when a family caregiver needs assistance or a vacation. Respite care may be provided by an in-home care agency or in a senior living community.

Skilled Nursing & Rehab Center: These short-term rehab centers focus on helping patients who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery recover and return home.

We hope this helps you decide the often confusing senior care lingo! For more information on senior care in northern Michigan, be sure to check out our Resource Center.

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