Senior Housing Terms & Acronyms The following glossary is intended to acquaint you with some commonly used senior housing terms, and to help you understand some of the available senior housing and senior care choices.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL)
Everyday activities such as bathing, grooming, eating, using the toilet, and getting dressed.

Assisted Living
A state-licensed programs offered at senior residential communities with services that include meals, laundry, housekeeping, medication management, and assistance with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) and Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs).

Enhanced Assisted Living
An enhanced assisted living certificate means a certificate issued by the Department of Health which authorizes an assisted living residence (ALR) to provide aging in place by admitting and retaining residents who desire to continue to age in place and who:

  1. Are chronically chairfast and unable to transfer, or chronically require the physical assistance of another person to transfer
  2. Chronically require the physical assistance of another person in order to walk
  3. Chronically require the physical assistance of another person to climb or descend stairs
  4. Are dependent on medical equipment and require more than intermittent or occasional assistance from medical personnel
  5. Have chronic unmanaged urinary or bowel incontinence.


Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC)
Senior housing planned and operated to provide a continuum of accommodations and services for seniors, including but not limited to independent living, Enhanced Assisted Living, and skilled nursing care. A CCRC resident contract often involves either an entry fee or a buy-in fee in addition to the monthly service charges. Entry fees may be partially or fully refundable. The fee is used primarily as a method of privately financing the development and ongoing maintenance of the not-for-profit project and as payment for future health care. CCRCs are typically licensed by the state.

Independent Living
A multi-unit senior housing development that may provide supportive services such as, but not limited to meals, housekeeping, social activities, and transportation. This alternative is available as part of a CCRC, Congregate Housing, Supportive Housing, and Retirement Communities. Independent Living encourages people to socialize by providing meals in a central dining area and through scheduled social programs. This term may also be used to describe housing with few or no services such as Senior Apartment.

Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADLs)
Day-to-day tasks such as preparing meals, shopping, managing money, taking medication, and housekeeping.

Lifecare Community
A Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), which offers an insurance type of contract and provides all levels of care. Little or no change is made in the monthly fee, regardless of the level of medical care required by the resident, except for cost-of-living increases.

Respite Care
Temporary relief for caregivers, ranging from several hours to days. This may be provided in-home or in a residential care setting such as an assisted living facility or nursing home.

Skilled Nursing
A facility licensed by the state that provides 24-hour nursing care, room and board, and activities for convalescent residents and those with chronic and/or long-term illnesses. This alternative may be referred to as a Nursing Facility or Convalescent Home.

Resources you may find useful:
American Association of Retired Persons
National Council on Aging
Leading Age (Formerly AAHSA)
LeadingAge New York
Alzheimer's Association
Mather Hospital
New York Department of Health
Seasoned Times -Encouraging wise and healthy aging
LeadingAge NY Young at Heart