Tips for Caregivers Community Outreach Program


ElderCare Resources

Choosing the right living environment for your loved one can be a difficult matter; listed below are resources that are available to aid you in your search. There is also a short reference glossary for common terms and definitions used in the elder care industry.

Southern California Community Resources

Nationwide Resources

Common Terms and definitions


Southern California Community Resources

Alzheimer’s Association; Orange County Chapter
(714) 283-1111
Area Agency on Aging; Local
(714) 567-7500
Community Care Licensing; Orange County
(714) 703-2840
Long Term Care Ombudsman; Orange County
(714) 863-0323
Orange Caregiver Resource Center; Orange County
(800) 543-8312
Medi-Cal; Orange County
(714) 704-8932

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Nationwide Resources

Alzheimer's Association
(800) 272-3900
Area Agency on Aging
(800) 677-1116
Social Security Administration
(800) 772-1213

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Common Terms and Definitions

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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ACUTE: Short term, severe symptoms.

AMBULATE: To walk.

AMBULATORY: Able to walk.

APHASIA: Unable to, or impairment of, ability to express thoughts through speech; different kinds of aphasia exhibit different impairment symptoms.

ASPIRATION: Withdrawing fluid by suction.

ATROPHY: Reduction in size of normal organ.

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BEDSIDE COMMODE: A chair-like, potable toilet.

BENIGN: Not malignant.

BEREAVEMENT: The feeling of desolation after the loss of a loved one.

BILATERAL: Two sides.

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CAREGIVER: One who provides care for another individual.

CATHETER: A small, hollow tube, usually flexible.

CERTIFIED NURSES AID (CNA): A person who has satisfactorily completed a certified program providing her/him with basic patient care training.

CONTINENT: To have control of the bladder or bowel.

CONGESTION: Accumulation of fluid.

CONSTIPATION: Few and difficult bowel movements.

CONTRACTURE: Shortening, drawing up of muscle tissue.

CONVALESCING: Recovering from an illness, operation, or injury.

CUSTODIAL CARE: Care which does not require a licensed medical person such as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Vocational Nurse, or specialized therapist.

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DEFECATE: To eliminate wastes and undigested food from the rectum.

DEGENERATION: Lessening of the physical state.

DEHYDRATION: Less than normal amount of fluid in the body.

DISORIENTED: Not aware of, or confused regarding time, place, person, or purpose.

DYSFUNCTIONAL: Difficulty in functioning normally.

DYSPHAGIA: Difficulty in swallowing.

DYSPNEA: Difficulty in breathing.

DYSURIA: Difficulty in urinating.

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EDEMA: Fluid accumulating in body tissues.

ERYTHEMA: Reddened skin area.

EXACERBATION: Increase in symptoms.

EXCORIATION: Superficial loss of skin, such as that due to scraping or scratching..

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FACILITY: A healthcare center which is usually used as a place of continuation of care after a hospital stay, or when the patient requires care beyond that which is within the realm of possibility within his or her own home; a nursing home, retirement center, etc.

FEBRILE: With fever.

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GAIT: Manner of walking.

GERIATRICS: The branch of medicine dealing with the problems of the elderly.

GERONTOLOGY: The study of the aging process.

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HEMATURIA: Blood in the urine.

HEMIPLEGIA: Paralysis of one side of the body.

HOSPICE: An organization which provides emotional and nursing support for the terminally ill patient and their families.

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INCONTINENT: Without bowel or bladder control.

INFARCT: A localized area of tissue death caused by poor, or ceasing of, blood circulation to that body part.

INFECTION: Bacteria-caused condition in the body.

INFLAMMATION: redness, heat, pain, and swelling in body tissue.

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JAUNDICE: Yellowish color of the skin and eyes.

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LAP ROBE: Light weight covering for the lap and legs.

LESION: Damage to tissue, broad term including many types of tissue damage.

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MALAISE: Uneasy feeling of things not being just right physically.

MALIGNANT: Condition or disease which has a tendency to become progressively worse, not benign.

METASTASIS: Transfer of a disease from one organ or part of the body to another.

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NAUSEA: The feeling that vomiting may occur.

NECROSIS: Death of cells of the tissue.

NOCTURIA: Excessive nighttime urination.

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PALLIATIVE: A relieving, but not curing, treatment.

PARAPLEGIA: Paralysis of the lower portion of the body.

PARESIS: Incomplete paralysis.

POLYDYPSIA: Excessive thirst causing frequent drinking.

POLYURIA: Excessive urination.

PROGNOSIS: The probable outcome of the disease, illness, or physical condition.

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QUADRAPLEGIA: Paralysis of the arms and legs.

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SEDATIVE: Medication that calms activity, nervousness, irritability, fears.

SEIZURE: Sudden attack usually referring to involuntary contraction or spasming of muscles which ordinarily move voluntarily.

SKILLED CARE: Care involving certain treatments to be provided only by a licensed professional.

SYMPTOM: A sign or indication a person experiences bodily, which is not in accordance with it’s usual condition.

SYNCOPE: To faint.

SYNDROME: Group of symptoms characteristic of a disease or condition.

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TACHYCARDIA: Rapid heart beat.

TERMINAL: Without expectation of recovery; fatal.

T.I.A.: The initials standing for the words Transient Ischemic Attack.

TRANSIENT ISCHEMIC ATTACK: Brief episodes of cerebra dysfunction, caused by temporary impairment of blood flow to the brain.

TRANSFER: To move from one place to another; when a patient is moved from a bed to a wheelchair; when a patient is moved from location to location, such as a hospital to an extended care facility.

TREMOR: Involuntary quivering.

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URINARY CATHETER: A small tube placed into the bladder (held in place by a small, built in inflatable balloon), which is connected via a larger tube to a drainage bag continually draining urine from the body.

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VERTIGO: Dizziness.

VOID: To urinate.

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©2001 United States ElderCare Referral Agency, Inc.