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The buttons below take you to commonly used terms on this site that begin with that letter and provide terms and definitions.



ACAT (Aged Care Assessment Team)
ACAS (Aged Care Assessment service in Victoria) ACAT or ACAS are teams usually made up of doctors, nurses, social workers and other allied health staff. Their role is to assess older people’s needs for care and support and make recommendations about the most appropriate types of services for them. ACAT or ACAS is required to obtain some government subsidised aged care services, including home care packages and respite services.

Advance Care Plan
An advance care plan is a document where a person specifies their preferences for future health care or medical interventions. Advance Care Plans come into effect when a person becomes seriously ill, injured or their dementia had progressed to a point where they are unable to communicate their preferences or make decisions.

Anxiety is a feeling of tension and stress, often along with worried thoughts. Anxious feelings may cause physical changes like increased heart rate or blood pressure. Anxiety is normal in stressful situations, such as when having your memory tested or visiting a doctor. When anxiety persists or is very strong and interferes with daily life, you should talk to a doctor or psychologist, as there are treatments that can help.

Assistive Technology
Assistive technology describes a wide range of objects or software which may assist in making everyday tasks easier or safer. Examples may be bathroom hand rails or ramps, or smart phone apps and electronic falls detectors.


Care Plan
A care plan is a written document which captures decisions made between the health care team, the individual, carers and family members. The care plan may include details of the clinical diagnosis, personal preferences, care goals, treatment and management, and risk assessments.

Care worker
A paid worker who supports a person at home or in residential care. They might help with a variety of tasks including showers and personal care, housework, shopping, and socialisation.

A carer (might also be referred to as a family carer, care partner, or supporter) is any person who supports a person who might need help. The primary carer is the main supporter. Support may be practical (for example, transport, cooking, making appointments) and emotional. Carers are usually family members or friends and are not paid.

Carers Australia
Carers Australia is the national peak body representing Australia’s family carers. Carers Australia provides services to carers, and advocates on their behalf.

Chronic Disease
Chronic disease has long lasting impact, and can greatly impact quality of life. Examples include dementia, arthritis, mental health conditions, back ache, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

CHSP (Commonwealth Home Support Programme)
This programme helps older Australians to access support to enable better living at home. It is considered an entry level programme, and can offer support for independent and safe home living.

Cognition describes the processes of understanding information from memory or the senses (sight, hearing, touch, smell or taste) and being able to use this information appropriately. It also involves executive function, which involved problem solving, attention, social awareness, and decision making. Dementia can change how information from each of these senses is perceived and interpreted.

Cognitive Rehabilitation
Any therapy that aims to improve cognitive function by relearning cognitive skills, such as reasoning, perception and thought

Cognitive Stimulation Therapy
Therapy comprising a programme of structured activities, often within a small group, over several sessions led by a trained nurse, an occupational therapist, or a carer. Sessions are designed to improve mental abilities including attention, memory and language.

If a person has two or more diseases or medical conditions at the same time this is called comorbidity. This may impact treatment and health planning.


Dementia refers to a group of conditions that may be caused by a range of diseases that affect the brain resulting in changes to brain function, thinking, behaviour, and the ability to carry out everyday tasks. It may be described as progressing over a range of stages: early/mild, moderate, and severe/advanced. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Other common types include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease.

Dementia Australia
Dementia Australia is the peak body representing people with dementia and families. Dementia Australia advocates for and provides a variety of services and supports for people of all ages living with all forms of dementia, and for their families and carers.
Their mission is to enable people impacted by dementia to live as well as possible. They provide information, support services and research funding as well as education for aged and health care professionals.

Dementia Navigators
The Dementia Care Navigator service aims to make it simpler for Australians with all stages of dementia to learn about and access government-supported dementia and aged care services across the course of dementia. Dementia Navigators are a trial project, only in NSW (Newcastle and the Hunter Region) and WA (Perth and surrounds). It is being operated by Dementia Australia.

Dementia Support Australia (DSA)
Dementia Support Australia is an Australian Government funded service the delivers telephone assistance 24/7, 365 days a year across Australia for carers of people living with dementia where behaviours are impacting on care. More intensive services are available on a needs-assessed basis.

Depression is a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest, which may stop someone doing normal activities, for example eating and personal care or change their behaviour, level of engagement with others or everyday activities. Different types of depression exist, with symptoms ranging from relatively minor to severe. It may not be recognised in someone with dementia whose behaviour has changed as the condition develops.

Dieticians provide advice on eating and nutrition and the impact this may have on overall health.

Impairment which may lead to disability can result from a range of disease processes or as a result of trauma, or be a consequence of birth. A person with disability may need some assistance (formal or, informal) to fully participate in society. This can be from family, other unpaid help or paid service providers. The services should be tailored to the individuals’ needs, or may enhance the social or physical environment. To live positively with dementia an individual may need proactive disability support, which may include rehabilitation.

Diversional Therapist
Diversional therapists design and assist with recreation programmes and activities to support, and enhance the psychological, spiritual, social, emotional and physical wellbeing of individuals.


Emotional resilience
Emotional resilience allows people to adapt to stressful situations, and cope better with life’s ups and downs. It helps people accept problems, live through difficulty and move on with life.
Some small changes which can improve emotional resilience are: Setting boundaries, by being more assertive. If you know too much is being asked of you, practice being able to say no. Practice acceptance, as stress, pain and change are a part of living practice looking after yourself.
By spending time trusted people, accepting their support, and talking about things that are difficult can help to keep things in perspective, and more positive.

A process to support an individual to carry on completing everyday living tasks, when they may be struggling.

Enduring guardianship
An enduring guardian is a person legally appointed to make decisions about health and lifestyle issues, in the event that someone cannot make these decisions for themselves. An Enduring Guardian can be appointed by anyone over 18 years of age, who has the capacity to make their own choice.

Enduring power of attorney
An enduring power of attorney is a legal document used to appoint a person to make decisions about property or financial affairs in the event of loss of mental capacity. The person who makes an enduring power of attorney is known as ‘the principal’. The person who is appointed to make decisions is known as ‘the attorney’. The general principles of Powers of Attorney are the same Australia wide. Different legislation governs the precise rules in each State.
By making an enduring power of attorney, people choose who they want to manage their financial affairs should they lose the mental capacity to do this.

A broad term which describes influences which have an impact on everyone’s life and quality of life. This may be place, where someone lives, works and inhabits, their social environment including connections with others, cultural and spiritual values which are of significance, and economic situations. All these combined can impact life, choices and quality.


Functional ability

Functional ability refers to an individual’s capacity to perform everyday activities.



A doctor who specialises in diagnosing and providing medical treatment and care of older people, usually 65 years and above.

Guardianship Division, Civil and Administrative Tribunal

(State based, and may have a slight variance in title for each State and Territory). The Guardianship Division supports adults who are not capable of making their own decisions, who do need a legally appointed substitute decision maker. Applications may include: personal and lifestyle decisions, where someone lives, financial, consent for treatment, or reviewing enduring power of attorney or guardianships.



Memory is the ability to translate, store, retain and subsequently recall information and past experiences.

Mental Health Treatment plan, previously called Mental Health Plan

A person with mental health issues can have a mental health treatment plan, produced with their doctor, which identifies health care needs which have been agreed, and may also contain a referral to other local mental health services.

My Aged Care

My Aged Care is the starting point to access Australian Government-funded aged care services. Their phone line and website can help older Australians, their families and carers to get the help and support they need. My Aged Care will provide information about different types of aged care services, and their availability, assessment, referrals and information on costs.


National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a national scheme that provides funding for people under the age of 65 with a permanent and significant disability. It allows them to access supports and services to help them in their daily life, connect with their community and achieve their goals. People living with younger onset dementia may be eligible to receive this funding.


A neurologist is a specialist medical practitioner skilled in the diagnosis and treatment of disease of the brain and nervous system.


Occupational therapist

Occupational therapists are allied health professionals who assess and treat patients with physical or mental disabilities to maintain and improve abilities activities of daily life (such as self-care skills, work, or social skills).

Old age psychiatrist

An old age psychiatrist is a specialist medical practitioner skilled in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental, emotional and behavioural issues. In older people, usually over 65 years of age. Old age psychiatrists are also referred to as psycho-geriatricians.



Perception is the ability to recognise something through the senses, but may also describe an individual’s view of a situation, and object or a situation.


A physiotherapist is an allied health professional who uses movement, exercise, manual therapy, education with people affected by injury, illness or disability.  Physiotherapists aim to maintain health for people of all ages, helping patients to manage pain and prevent disease.

Practice Nurse

A practice nurse works in primary care (usually a General Practitioner’s surgery) and provides education, advice and support for a range of health issues, including dementia. They perform clinical procedures within their scope of practice.


Is a trained allied health professional who assesses and provided interventions to address the mental health needs and supports mood and behavioural disorders, including those associated with dementia.



These are short -term interventions aimed to assist in maintaining or improving aspects of functional ability.

Regional assessment service (RAS)

The regional assessment team conducts assessments within the home to determine eligibility for services, for example CHSP, Commonwealth Home Support Programme


Rehabilitation is an individualised approach used by rehabilitation specialists, nurses and allied health professional setting, to improve function following injury, illness or surgery.


Speech pathologist

Speech pathologists (formerly known as speech therapists) are allied health professionals focused on treating complications that affect speech, language, and swallowing abilities.


Stereotypes fixed ideas of a particular person or thing, which is applied to all in that group, which may not be founded on evidence or fact.


Testamentary capacity

Testamentary capacity means the mental capacity of the deceased at the time of writing their last will and testament. In order for the will to be valid, the testator (that is the person making the will) must be of sound mind, memory and understanding.


Visuo-spatial skills

This is the ability to organise visual information, interpret patterns and have the brain understand how objects fit in with each other.



Wellness is a general approach that involves assessment, planning and delivery of supports that build on the strengths, capacity and goals of individuals, and encourage actions that promote a level of independence in daily living tasks, as well as reducing risks to living safely at home.


This is a legally enforceable document which states what will happen to a person’s assets after they die. It needs to meet prescribed legal requirements and will unambiguously state who are to be the beneficiaries.


Younger onset dementia

This refers to a diagnosis of dementia received before the age of 65 years.