Acronym for Alzheimer’s disease (Read More)

ADL's & Activities of Daily Living
ADL’s is an acronym often used to describe the type of care that is provided by caregivers for residents of long term care facilities.  ADL's generally refers to toileting, bathing, dressing, bathing, grooming, and other activities which a person would do in the normal course of daily living.

An inappropriate verbal, vocal or motor activity that is not explained by needs or confusion, and is often seen as a behavior associated with Alzheimer's disease. This behavior can cause great discord in a family setting.

Alzheimer's Disease
Is a Progressive and Fatal Brain Disease.  Alzheimer's destroys brain cells, causing problems with memory, thinking and behavior severe enough to affect work, lifelong hobbies or social life. Alzheimer's gets worse over time, and it is fatal. Today it is the seventh-leading cause of death in the United States. 

Personal Care Home rules and regulations require that residents must be ambulatory in order to be admitted and to remain in Assisted Living and Personal Care Homes. This definition of ambulatory generally means that the individual must be able to stand and bear weight, pivot, and transfer from one place to another with the minimal assistance of one person.  If using a wheelchair, the person must be capable of self propelling the chair with either his/her feet or hands.

Anxiety occurs commonly in people with Alzheimer's disease. This common behavior associated with AD is seen in everyday activities.  Caregivers reactions should be non confrontational and calm.  A simple daily routine with as few changes as possible and a safe non cluttered environment help as well.  Physicians frequently prescribe medication when patients experience chronic anxiety.

Assisted Living 
Is one type of long term housing for seniors. In the state of Georgia Assisted Living Homes are licensed by the Department of Human Resources, the Office of Regulatory Services under the Personal Care Home Rules and Regulations. The terms Assisted Living and Personal Care are interchangeable, however, in the senior industry people usually refer to smaller homes (licensed for 24 beds and fewer) as Personal Care Homes and larger homes as Assisted Living Homes. The rules governing both PCH and ALF have requirements for care including 24 hour watchful oversight, assistance with ADL's or activities of daily living, 3 meals and 2 snacks a day and many others. Those individuals entering this type of home can not require skilled nursing care and must be ambulatory.

Catastrophic Reactions
May Include crying uncontrollably, wandering, shouting and swearing, striking out at another person, sudden withdrawal, refusing to cooperate or pacing in an agitated manner. These reactions are associated with AD and can be triggered by the person feeling overwhelmed, lost, abandoned, frightened, frustrated, over-stimulated or confused.

CCSP "Community Care Service Program"
Is a Medicaid waiver program for low income older adults.  The program provides services such a home care providers and personal care home services.  Individuals who apply are screened for eligibility and then may be placed on a waiting list depending on availability of Medicaid funds.

Control of the bladder and bowels.

Is a false belief as a result of an illness process and occurs often with AD patients. This is very difficult for family members to deal with; families often argue with or try to reason with the patient or are hurt because they feel the patient is intentionally lying to them.  The person with AD has lost their ability to reason and therefore, caregivers should refrain from trying to convince them that their hallucinations or delusions are unfounded.

The general term for memory loss. Dementia refers to all types of memory loss caused by but not limited to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, stroke, TIA's (mini strokes), head injury, medication side effects or mismanagement of medications, urinary tract infections, diabetes, depression, trauma, malnutrition, vascular dementia, etc. Many forms of dementia are treatable and/or reversible. Alzheimer's is not.

A hallucination is a perception in the absence of a stimulus that is believed to be genuine.  As with delusions, caregivers must understand that hallucinations are behaviors caused by the disease and they these experiences are real and often very frightening for the person. The person with AD has lost their ability to reason and therefore, caregivers should refrain from trying to convince them that their hallucinations or delusions are unfounded.

Many AD patients hoard items. There is no benefit in confronting the person who is hoarding, which will likely cause agitation. You will not be able to modify their behavior because of their lost ability to reason. If it is necessary to retrieve the hoarded items, do so while allowing the person to maintain their dignity.

Home Care
If an individual is unable to live independently, he or she can contract with a home care provider to come into the home and provide assistance.  This level of care can be provided by private duty sitters or by caregivers, CNA's, LPN's, or RN's from licensed home care agencies. The fees are usually based on an hourly rate determined by the number of hours and amount of care needed. Home care is usually private pay and is covered by some long term care policies.

Loss of control of bladder and bowels.  Individuals with incontinence who also have memory loss need to be in a setting where there is a toileting protocol to insure that his/her hygiene is appropriately managed and that his/her dignity is protected. Some facilities do not provide incontinence services and most that do provide the service charge an extra fee to cover the cost of additional staff time.

Independent Housing
In today's senior housing market there are many choices, including independent housing. This type of housing can vary from independent apartments with no care, to high rise apartments with housekeeping, meals and transportation. Many of the newer IH units also offer supportive services.(see below)Independent Housing for seniors offers a setting where social activities are available with few of the worries of home ownership such a repairs, maintenance, and lawn care.

Levels of Care
Refers to the mental and/or physical functioning level of a person and the level of care that is required to provide adequate care for that individual. A person may be referred to as high functioning which means that he/she needs very little assistance with activities of daily living and that he/she is fairly independent. A low functioning individual usually has advanced physical and/or mental limitations that cause them to require a great deal of care. The cost of care in most facilities is determined by the level of care required.

Each licensed facility in the state of Georgia is assigned an ombudsman who is a resident advocate.  This person makes unannounced visits to the facility and has the right to talk independently with the residents and to inspect the facility.  If he/she sees any areas of concern he/she can address this with the Administrator if it is a minor concern or report it directly to the Office of Regulatory Services if the circumstances so dictate.


Is a disturbed thought process where The individual thinks that harm is occurring, or is going to occur, to him or her and thinks that the persecutor has the intention to cause harm. Caregivers should not personalize the behavior. It is easy to get upset by the person’s accusations because it is hurtful to be accused of something that you did not do. Remember that the person is really seeking a dignified, “logical explanation”.

Repetitive Behaviors 
AD patients frequently repeat words or phrases. Coping with this behavior can be difficult for the caregiver. Try to redirect him or her. Give the person something to do that will keep his or her mind busy such as folding towels or sweeping. In some cases it might help to give the person a note that answers his or her most commonly asked questions. This may help if they can still read with comprehension.

Safe Return
Alzheimer's Association Safe Return® is a nationwide identification, support and enrollment program that provides assistance when a person with Alzheimer's or a related dementia wanders and becomes lost locally or far from home.

Is a Medicaid waiver program primarily for low income older adults. Those individuals on SSI qualify for the program automatically. The Source program provides home care and personal care home services as well as other senior programs. There is an application process through the AAA.

Supportive Services
This term is frequently used in the independent housing market and refers to those services that their tenants can independently contract for with a home care agency.  The agency can provide private duty caregivers to assist with services such as grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning and assistance with medication management and ADL's.  Because Independent Living Facilities are not permitted by the state they can not assist their clients with any care, and these supportive services must be privately contracted.

Is caused by paranoia in AD patients.  (see paranoia)  Realize that reasoning will not work.  Instead of reasoning, try calmly to reassure them then distract them.  Avoid confronting the person you are caring for if they make accusations against you. For example, if they accuse you of stealing their glasses, offer to help find them.

In the mid to late stages of Alzheimer's disease patients often become disoriented and wander away from their home or familiar surroundings. It is important that families recognize the dangers that this behavior presents and that they provide a safe environment for the person with Alzheimer's disease. Private duty sitters, adult day care or long term care are often good choices to help the family protect the patient when he or she starts wandering.

Alzheimer's Warning Signs

Read 10 warning signs of Alzheimer's Disease.

Click here to read more

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