Glossary : A guide to Elderly Care


Age Concern The largest charity in the UK which acts on behalf of older people.


A 24 hour monitoring system which is often used in sheltered accommodation and assisted living.

Alzheimer’s disease

A progressive form of dementia which damages brain functions over time leading to a loss of short term memory, problems with reasoning, speech and the ability to look after one’s self.

Assisted living

Also known as ‘close care’: a form of sheltered accommodation which offers extra care to its residents. This includes the provision of meals, laundry services and personal care.

Attendance Allowance

A social security benefit, provided by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) which is paid to people aged 65 and above who require help with personal care.



These are payments made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for a range of different needs. Examples include Attendance Allowance, Pension Credit and Disability Living Allowance.



This is defined as investments, savings and property.

Care home

A place which provides accommodation and personal/nursing care, to elderly people, on a 24 hour basis. There are three types of care home: residential, nursing and specialist.

Care manager

Someone who has responsibility for arranging care services for you following your needs assessment.

Care plan

A document put together following a needs assessment. It contains information about your physical/mental needs and the type of services available to you.

Carer’s Allowance

A benefit which is paid to someone who looks after someone for 35 hours or more a week.

Close care

This is another name for assisted living.

Cold weather payments

A payment for people on a low income which is paid when there is a period of exceptionally cold weather.


The name given to a period of rest following an illness or an operation.

Council Tax benefit

This is a benefit which can help pay a council tax bill.

Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD)

A rare disorder which causes damage to the brain over time, to the extent that the sufferer is unable to speak, move or look after themselves.


Deferred payment

A situation whereby social services lend you money to pay for your care home fees whilst you are waiting for the sale of your house to go through. As soon as your house is sold you repay this loan.


The name given to a decline in mental abilities which affects short term memory, speech, reasoning and motivation.

Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

A UK based government department that is responsible for the administration of social security benefits.

Direct Payments

A system run by social services in which applicants are offered cash to arrange and pay for their own care. This can be used to pay for carers from a private agency or adaptations to their home.

Disability Living Allowance

A social security benefit paid to people with a disability who require help with mobility or personal care.



The legal name used to describe someone’s assets after their death.


Fairer charging

A policy that regulates the amounts set by local authorities for the provision of home based services, for example meals on wheels.

Financial assessment

A form of assessment carried out by social services, which looks at a person’s financial situation when applying for help towards care home fees.


None at present.


Housing association

A non-profit making organisation which provides affordable housing to people.

Housing benefit

This benefit is designed to pay some or all of a person’s rent if their income is below a certain level.

Huntingdon’s disease

A disease of the nervous system in which cells in the brain are progressively damaged leading to an inability to speak, move, reason or think.



This is defined as interest on savings, social security benefits such as Attendance Allowance and private and/or State Pension.


None at present.


Korsakoff's syndrome

A brain disorder caused by excessive alcohol consumption in which the sufferer is unable to walk, jerky eye movements and confusion.


Local authority

Your local council: this provides a wide range of services to people who live in that area.


None at present.


Needs assessment

This assessment is carried out by social services and involves looking at physical and/or mental problems you may have, and what help you need.

Nursing home

A type of home which provides 24 hour nursing care.


None at present.


Parkinson’s disease

This is a degenerative brain disorder in which the cells responsible for movement are damaged. This results in shuffling, jerky movements and poor balance.

Pension Credit

This benefit comes in two forms - ‘guarantee credit’which tops up weekly income for people aged over 60: ‘savings credit’for people aged 65 and above.

Personal care

This is defined as care for intimate needs such as going to the toilet, dressing/undressing and bathing.


None at present.


Residential home

A type of care home which provides accommodation and personal care.

Respite care

The name given to short term care - either for someone who has just been discharged from hospital or as a break for their carer.

Retirement housing

Similar to sheltered accommodation: purpose built homes for sale which offer independent living with back up in the form of a resident manager.


Sheltered accommodation

Sheltered accommodation is a form of housing which allows people to remain independent but with help in the form of a warden who lives near or on the premises. These schemes include a communal lounge for residents and a range of social activities.

State pension

A series of regular payments paid to people once they have reached the official retirement age.


None at present.


None at present.


Vascular dementia

A type of dementia which is caused by problems with the blood supply to the brain and this then causes the brain cells to die. Symptoms include confusion, depression, poor concentration and physical weakness.



Also known as a resident manager: this person is responsible for overseeing a sheltered accommodation scheme.

Warm Front

A government run scheme which provides free heating improvements such as cavity wall insulation, draught proofing and loft insulation.

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