Alzheimer’s & Dementia Glossary of Terms

At Sunrise, we know that caregiving, along with its many rewards, brings many responsibilities and pressures. As a caregiver, you are constantly challenged to learn about your loved one's condition while balancing other responsibilities in life. We recognize that, and we're here to help. Browse our glossary below to keep abreast of Alzheimer's, dementia care and memory loss terminology.

ADL [ey dee el] Activities of Daily Living. The basic activities that each of us do in our daily lives, such as bathing, dressing, eating, grooming, oral hygiene, ambulating and toileting.
Alzheimer’s Disease [ahlts-hahy-merz] [dih-zeez] A particular type of dementia that is irreversible and accounts for up to 50-70% of all cases of dementia. This progressive and fatal form of dementia is caused by an accumulation of plaques and tangles in the brain which affects the way that the neurons (nerve cells) communicate with one another, resulting in progressive memory loss and cognitive impairment.
Aromatherapy [uh-roh-muh-ther-uh-pee] Use of the olfactory sense (smell) to create a specific feeling or environment. It can be an integral part of a relaxing and personalized Snoezelen environment at a Sunrise community.
Daily Log [dey-lee] [lawg]The way that team members communicate with each other about any changes in a resident’s care needs, as well as the day-to-day events and happenings with each resident.
Dementia [dih-men-shuh] A syndrome that results in a set of symptoms that affects a person's memory, judgment and personality. It can worsen over time. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease. It's an overall term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person's ability to perform every day activities. (Alzheimer's Association Definition).
Designated Care Manager (DCM) [dez-ig-neyted] [kair] [man-i-jer] or [dee see em]Designated care managers are compassionate and trained caregivers, who consistently care for the same group of residents. They focus on learning each resident's unique needs and are supported by other members of the community team. In addition to resident care, designated care managers also assist with housekeeping, laundry, dining services, activities and other functions that allow them to spend more time together with the residents.
Individualized Service Plan (ISP) [in-duh-vij-oo-uh-lahyz-id] [sur-vis] [plan] or [ahy es pee] An easy-to-read plan of care with detailed information about a resident’s social needs as well as their health needs.
Life Enrichment Manager (LEM) [lahyf] [en-rich-muhnt] [man-i-jer] or [el ee em]Life Enrichment Managers are dedicated to involving residents with memory loss in daily activities that help them feel valued and provide them with a sense of purpose. LEMs undergo training that helps them assess individual interests and abilities, which can be matched with life skills and activities that tap into implicit and procedural memories.
Life Enrichment Opportunities [lahyf] [en-rich-muhnt] [op-er-too-ni-tee]A life enriching activity is an individualized experience that stimulates the resident’s senses by using familiar actions and objects that he or she enjoyed in the past. Life enriching activities can be adapted from the life skills that have given a resident meaning for many years. For example, a resident who always loved gardening can continue to garden as a life skill, even after the ability to do so independently has fallen away. This same love can be adapted into a life enriching activity even if the resident can no longer walk or manipulate hands and fingers.
Memory Boxes [mem-uh-ree] [boksez]Displayed next to the door of each residents’ suite, Memory Boxes hold photos, mementos, and other items that reflect the resident’s life story.
Reminisce [rem-uh-nis]Bring back the memories of a person’s past.
Reminiscence Coordinator (RC) [rem-uh-nis-uhns] [koh-awr-dn-ey-ter] or [ahr] The Reminiscence Coordinator (RC) is responsible for providing overall leadership and management of the reminiscence neighborhood. RCs promote excellence in resident care, including each resident’s Individualized Service Plan (ISP), programming, providing outreach and support to families, being resourceful and knowledgeable with the Family Resource Library and the evolving information on Alzheimer’s disease.
Reminiscence Kits [rem-uh-nis-uhns] [kits]Portable theme kits or groups of items that may evoke memories around a certain theme. These kits encourage social interaction among residents. An example of a Reminiscence kit would be a gardening kit, which can help to spark conversations and meaningful discussions around the items in the kit.
Reminiscence Program [rem-uh-nis-uhns] [proh-gram] Sunrise’s program of care for residents with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. It includes creating pleasant days, individualized care, attention to special needs, specialized care, environmental enhancements, family support and ongoing assessment and reevaluation of resident needs.
Snoezelen [snohz-uh-len]Pleasurable multi-sensory experience which takes place in a relaxing environment. Snoezelen is a personalized experience that stimulates the senses.
Tactile Art [tak-til, -tahyl] [ahrt]Because our residents with memory loss are often inquisitive and like to explore and touch things they are interested in, interactive tactile art is used, with many different colors and textures for residents to investigate.
Validation [val-i-dey-shun]A method of communicating with and helping those who are disoriented that allows for better understanding and communication between those with dementia and their caregivers, it enhances communication and restores the dignity and self-esteem of the disoriented older person.
Memory Care Resources
Help Loved Ones with Memory Loss