Alabama Department of Senior Services
A RESOURCE FOR ALABAMA SENIORS WITH MEMORY LOSS AND THEIR CARE GIVERS
The words used in healthcare can be confusing to many. When you do not understand medical terms, do not feel bad about asking that the information be explained to you in words that you will understand. A few common terms are described below, but others can be found on-line.
ADLs: Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) are activities performed for self-care, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, cooking, laundry, or shopping.
Aphasia: A disorder of communication, including speaking, understanding what others are saying, or naming objects.
Cognition: The process of knowing something.
Delirium: Confusion and changes in brain function that appear rapidly. Often short term and should not be confused with dementia.
Dementia: A change in mental processes that can include memory problems, changes in personality, and changes in reasoning (See “What is Dementia?”).
Diagnosis: The cause of a medical problem.
Gait: A medical term for walking.
Incontinent: Difficulty or inability to control urine in the bladder, or to keep feces in the rectum. There are different types and causes.
Memory: Ability to recover (remember) information from the past. With some forms of dementia, short-term (recent) memory is lost, while long-term (older) memory remains.
Prognosis: The most likely outcome of the disease process.
Vascular: Relating to the blood vessels.