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Home and Community Glossary

Understanding the terminology you need to assess your home and community.

ACCESSIBLE HOUSING – Dwellings designed to allow all residents and visitors — regardless of age or ability — convenient entry and easy use of amenities and utilities within the home.

ADULT DAY SERVICES – Medical, social and recreation services provided to people for several hours daily, usually during work hours and in a community setting. Provided most often as assistance to working caregivers, but people who need services can participate on their own.

ADULT FOSTER CARE – Room and board in home and family settings that include assistance — such as meals, medication reminders, transportation and laundry — for people who need help with independent living. Some homes provide or coordinate more complex care for people who need additional support.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING – A safe dwelling that is of an adequate size for the household and offers rent, mortgage and utilities costing no more than 30 percent of the resident’s income.

AGE-RESTRICTED OR ACTIVE-ADULT COMMUNITIES – A residential area of older adults who choose to live without children. Typically, developments include a mix of housing types — such as single-family homes, townhouses and apartments — that are often connected with paths or sidewalks. There may also be amenities such as a clubhouse, tennis courts, a swimming pool and a golf course.

AGING IN PLACE – The concept that older people can live in their long-term homes and communities safely, comfortably and independently for as long as possible, regardless of age, income level or physical ability.

ASSISTED LIVING – A wide range of residential settings for people who need support with independent living. Care varies from help with meals, laundry and housekeeping to personal care, such as help with bathing, dressing and taking medications. Typically, residents in an assisted-living arrangement have individual service plans tailored to their care needs. Staff members are on site 24 hours. In some states, residences are licensed and required by law to provide specific types of help.

ASSISTED TRANSPORTATION – Rides provided to people who need help getting to appointments and other necessary places. Can include door-to-door van service, volunteer drivers and escorts, and discount taxi programs.

CAREGIVER SERVICES – Support and services for people who provide unpaid care to relatives or friends who need help with daily living. Services for the caregiver often include information, referrals to resources, training, support groups and breaks from caregiving.

CERTIFIED AGING-IN-PLACE SPECIALIST (CAPS) – A professional who is trained to identify remodeling and home-modification projects to enable people 50 and older to remain in their homes safely, comfortably and independently.

COHOUSING – A semicommunal neighborhood in which residents actively take part in the design and operation of the community. Residents own their homes and share facilities such as a dining hall. Some cohousing neighborhoods are only for older adults. Homes are designed for aging in place, and residents often share the costs of health aides or an on-site health care provider.

CONGREGATE HOUSING – Housing in which each individual or family has a private bedroom or living quarters, but all residents share a dining room, recreational room or other common facilities.

CONTINUING CARE RETIREMENT COMMUNITY (CCRC) – A type of development that features independent-living apartments and homes, but it often offers meals and various social, recreational and cultural activities typical of retirement communities. Residents have the option to move into assisted living and nursing-level care if their health and abilities decline.

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