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A Kansas Public Library Resource Service

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The articles, books and links listed on this site often present acronyms or words that are related to the aging process. This section of the site is indented to serve as a resource for understanding some of those terms.

Click here for the .pdf version of the glossary.

[This OKIF Glossary will be updated regularly. If you have a term relating to senior issues or services to define for this glossary, please send it to Shannon Roy, Kansas State Library, at shanroy@kslib.info. Please include the source of your definition.].

brown arrow preceding menu linkAlzheimer's Disease
A common form of dementia of unknown cause, usually starting in late middle age. It is characterized by memory lapses, confusion, emotional instability and progressive loss of mental ability. It is named after Alois Alzheimer, German neurologist, who described it in 1907.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAmericans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
A federal civil rights law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in (1) employment, (2) programs, services and activities of state and local government agencies and (3) goods, services, facilities, advantages, privileges and accommodation of places of public accommodation.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAssisted Living
Housing options which include assisted living facilities, residential health care facilities, boarding care homes, adult family homes and intermediate personal care homes. All such arrangements provide some level of designated care but leave the disabled individual with as much independence as possible.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAssistive Technology Act (ATA) of 1998
A federal law enacted in 1998 providing financial assistance to states. The ATA of '98 replaces the Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAssistive Technology Device
Any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether obtained commercially off the shelf, modified or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAssistive Technology Service
Any service that directly assists an individual with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.

brown arrow preceding menu linkAugmentative and Alternative Communication Device (AAC)
Electronic and mechanical devices used by individuals with speech disabilities to communicate.

brown arrow preceding menu linkBi-Folkal:
Having two focuses, as in the case of Bi-Folkal Productions' reminiscing products, whose joint focus is remembering the past and also that of sharing those past universal experiences with others.

brown arrow preceding menu linkBraille Translation Software
Braille translation software converts text to Braille, then sends it to a Braille printer for output.

brown arrow preceding menu linkCaregiver
An adult family member or other individual who is an informal provider of in-home or in community care to an older individual. Caregiver training is sometimes offered by professional agencies to share options and methods for caregivers to use.

brown arrow preceding menu linkDisability
A physical or mental condition that substantially limits one or more major life activities. There are several definitions of disability in the law. Each definition emphasizes some aspects of the condition and is specifically tailored to delineate the scope of a legal right under various public programs.

brown arrow preceding menu linkGrandparent Caregiver
A grandparent caregiver is defined as a grandparent or step-grandparent of a child under 19, who is 60 years or older, lives with the child, is the primary caregiver for the child and has a legal relationship with the child such as legal custody or guardianship or is raising the child informally. (Definition provided by KDOA Taxonomy)

brown arrow preceding menu linkKan-SAIL:
Kansas Seniors Achieving Independent Living, a program of Kansas Rehabilitation Center for the Blind under Kansas SRS (Kansas Dept. of Social and Rehabilitation Services). The program provides direct services to adults 55 years of age and older who are experiencing severe vision loss.

brown arrow preceding menu linkThe Life Project
The Life Project Foundation, Living Initiatives For End-of-Life Care This is a collaborative effort of over 70 organizations across the state of Kansas. The mission of the LIFE Project is to help Kansans live with dignity, comfort and peace at the end of life. The LIFE Project has achieved national recognition for improving end-of-life care at the state level. An article on the Life Project is available in the publications section of the website

brown arrow preceding menu linkMobility
Mobility is movement that involves changing the position of oneself or an object. A person with a mobility impairment may have difficulty with walking, standing, lifting, climbing stairs, carrying, balancing, or having the stamina and endurance to do these kinds of activities. First adopted in 1986 and amended in 1998, Section 508 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act requires governmental agencies to ensure accessibility by persons with disabilities of a range of communications equipment and other electronic devices purchased for agency use, or purchased with Federal funds for use by the public or other entities (NIDRR/UCP, 1998).

brown arrow preceding menu linkNLS:
Library of Congress National Library Services for the Blind and Physically Disabled (Talking Book Service)

brown arrow preceding menu linkOptical Character Reader (OCR)
A software that recognizes and extracts text from the image produced by a scanner.

brown arrow preceding menu linkPersonal Reader
Personal reader is a stand-alone machine that scans printed pages, recognizes text, converts the text to synthesized speech, and reads it aloud.

brown arrow preceding menu linkPlayback:
National Library Services Talking Book Service provides cassette playback machine for use with 15/16 ips 4 track cassette tapes.

brown arrow preceding menu linkPrint handicapped:
A visual or physical condition, as determined by competent authority, which precludes the use of standard printed material because of a visual or physical disability, including certain reading disabilities.

brown arrow preceding menu linkRecreational Therapy:
The American Therapeutic Recreation Association, ATRA, defines therapeutic recreation, or recreation therapy, as "the provision of Treatment Services and the provision of Recreation Services to persons with illnesses or disabling conditions. The primary purposes of Treatment Services, which are often referred to as Recreational Therapy, are to restore, remediate, or rehabilitate in order to improve functioning and independence as well as reduce or eliminate the effects of illness or disability. The primary purposes of Recreational Services are to provide recreation resources and opportunities in order to improve health and well-being. Therapeutic recreation is provided by professionals who are trained and certified, registered and/or licensed to provide therapeutic recreation (1987)."

brown arrow preceding menu linkReasonable Accommodations
Under the ADA, reasonable adjustments, modifications or provision of services and equipment necessary to enable an individual with a disability to enjoy equal opportunities in employment. The term is routinely used to include accommodations needed under other circumstances such as those administering public programs or providing private service.

brown arrow preceding menu linkRESNA
Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America

brown arrow preceding menu linkRespite Care
Respite care provides temporary relief for primary caregivers of older individuals. This service may be provided for varied periods of time in a location agreed upon by the caregiver, the older individual and the respite provider.

brown arrow preceding menu linkScreen-enlargement Software
Screen-enlargement software magnifies and enhances the readability of text and graphics. Also called screen-magnification software or large print software.

brown arrow preceding menu linkScreen Reading Software
Screen reading software is designed to work with particular operating systems (DOS, Windows, OS/2). It controls and sends screen information to the speech synthesizer.

brown arrow preceding menu linkSilver Haired Legislature
The Kansas Silver Haired Legislature was authorized in 1982, when it was evident that older Kansans were the fastest growing segment of the population. The Silver Haired Legislature is a model legislature session. Older Kansans who are elected by their peers meet annually at the Capitol to debate policy on issues that affect them. The Kansas legislature allows the Silver Haired Legislature to make use of its facilities at the Capitol. The recommendations of the Silver Haired Legislature are submitted to the Governor, the Legislature and the Kansas Department on Aging at the close of their model legislative session.

brown arrow preceding menu linkSpeech Synthesizers
Speech synthesizers convert electronic text to speech, and can be used with a variety of access hardware and software.

brown arrow preceding menu linkUniversal design
Universal design includes products or designs developed with built-in flexibility enabling use by all people, regardless of age and ability at no additional cost (Mace, Hardie, & Place, 1996). Under the AT Act of 1998, "universal design" means a concept or philosophy for designing and delivering products and services that are usable by people with the widest possible range of functional capabilities. Examples of universal design are curb cuts and captioning of television and movies.