Making Sense of Elder Care

At Bayview Villa, we strive to provide on-going support to both aging seniors and their caregivers. Our outreach programs provide valued information and techniques to managing and coping with the difficult responsibility of caring for an aging parent or loved one. Whether you are just beginning the journey of being a caregiver or you have been struggling to provide compassionate support to a loved one for some time, our staff can provide meaningful advice and resources to help you do your best.

When you first begin learning about the options for elder care, some of the terminology can be new. It’s important to understand the details in order to make a truly informed choice about the type of elder care you prefer and what provider can best deliver the elder care that is the best fit for you.

Elder Care Glossary

Here is a glossary of basic terms associated with elder care. Click on the link for more details about each entry.


  • Alzheimer’s Disease: A progressive condition with symptoms including confusion, memory loss, difficulty making plans and performing routine daily tasks.
  • Assisted Living: A type of residential care providing assistance with daily tasks and basic medical care as well as meals and housekeeping services.
  • Behavioral Care: A type of care designed to promote cognitive skills in dementia patients exhibiting problems with their behavior and interactions.
  • Comfort Care: Care designed to keep someone with an incurable condition comfortable. See also palliative care.
  • Dementia: Symptoms of brain disease including the loss of intellectual and mental abilities.
  • Diabetes: A disease where the body does not process insulin correctly, complications include hypoglycemia and complications with wound healing.
  • Grief Counseling: Individual or group counseling to cope with the death of a loved one.
  • Hospice Care: Compassionate end of life care usually in a group residence.
  • Licensed Vocational Nurse: Also known as Licensed Practical Nurse in most states. An LVN can provide bedside care under the supervision of a physician or registered nurse. LVNs play a significant role in elder care.
  • Long Term Care: Intensive care lasting for more than a few weeks for those with a high level of need, including those recovering from surgery.
  • Massage Therapy: A form of therapeutic touch to ease muscle stiffness and pain and improve circulation as well as promote relaxation.
  • Memory Care: Specialized care for those suffering dementia with memory impairments that focuses on safety and compassion.
  • Occupational Therapy: Training and exercises to support the ability to perform activities of daily living including self-care.
  • Palliative Care: Care for a patient with an incurable ailment designed to keep the person as comfortable and healthy as possible. See Comfort Care above.
  • Physical Therapy: Treatment designed to restore and improve muscle function, flexibility and coordination and decrease pain.
  • Podiatry: A health care specialty focusing on care of the feet, especially important for people with diabetes because they are likely to suffer nerve damage and reduced blood flow to the feet.
  • Rehabilitation Services: Treatment to help restore a person to a previous level of health and functioning after an illness or injury.
  • Respite Care: Short term elder care, especially when it is meant to give regular caregivers a break.
  • Short Term Care: A high level of care provided for a short amount of time, usually a few weeks, often as someone recovers from surgery or illness.
  • Speech Therapy: A form of treatment to support and strengthen the muscles in the mouth to improve speech and swallowing.
  • Transitional Care: Short term care involving a range of therapies to help restore a patient’s health and wellbeing after a surgery or major illness, usually a stage between being released from the hospital and returning home.
  • Wound Care: An important part of diabetes care focused on ensuring proper healing of wounds.

These are some terms you will hear often when discussing elder care, but it is not a complete list. If you have questions about these or other unfamiliar terms related to elder care, please feel free to contact the staff at Bayview Villa.