Clearing the Confusion: Assisted Living Terminology

Finding senior living care can be stressful and difficult. It’s an experience that few people know much about before having to deal with it first hand, making it a confusing and unfruitful search. A problem that many people run into while searching for long term care, is the new terminology. Acronyms like ADL and POA, while simple to explain, can be baffling during this already hectic time. To help clear the air, we’ve provided a list of words and phrases that have puzzled previous inquirers;

  • Nursing Home vs. Assisted Living
    • A skilled nursing facility is an institution that provides 24 hour medical and rehabilitative care whereas an assisted living facility provides mostly custodial care(dining services, activities, and most activities of daily living), and community services. 
  • ADL
    • ADL stands for activities of daily living such as eating, showering, incontinence, medication management, and transferring. ADL’s are often used as a method of measuring what type of care facility the resident needs.
  • Two Person Transfer
    • This means that the resident requires two people to move the resident from position to position(from wheelchair to bed, couch to wheelchair, etc.).
  • Resident Type
    • Resident type (type I, II, III…etc.) refers to the level of care that the resident in the facility will be requiring, and the level of care that facility offers. For example, Bel Aire Senior Living in American Fork offers type I and type II care(including memory care), which signifies that we can care for all ADL’s up to, but not including a two person transfer. 
  • POA
    • This is a legal acronym that is short for Power of Attorney. It is the person acting legally on behalf of the resident (whether that is themselves, a relative, or spouse). 
  • Respite Care vs. Adult Day Care
    • Respite care refers to short-term services offered by senior living and nursing facilities to house aging or impaired loved ones while their regular care takers are away for more than 24 hours. Adult day care, on the other hand, refers to day care services that some facilities and private institutions offer to take care of the elderly or impaired while their regular caregivers are at work, generally for less than 24 hours. 
  • HHA
    • HHA stands for Home Health Aide. Home health aides are people trained to assist residents with basic health care tasks. They are often employed by home health agencies that supervise them via a registered nurse. 

More information on common long term care key words and phrases can be found at 


Leave a Reply