Definitions of Common HCBS

While not comprehensive, the below list provides simple definitions of common HCBS categories.

Finding Options

  • Information and Referral/Assistance (I&R/A): Specialists provide information on and linkages to available services and resources.
  • Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC): A no-wrong-door system for older adults and people with disabilities to get information, counseling and streamlined access to long-term services and supports (LTSS) options. More on ADRCs.
  • Case Management: Assistance offered in assessing the needs of older adults and making arrangements for services to help them remain independent.

Staying at Home
  • Personal Care: Non-skilled service or care that assists with bathing, dressing, eating, getting in and out of bed or chair, moving around and using the bathroom. Can also be referred to as Custodial Care.
  • Home Health Services: Paid supportive services in the home ranging from skilled nursing care and occupational, physical, respiratory and speech assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) and housekeeping.
  • Nutrition Services: Hot or cold home-delivered meals are delivered to homebound seniors at risk for poor nutrition and/or hunger. Congregate meals are provided in a senior center or other community site where older adults can enjoy a healthy meal, socialize with others and have access to other supportive services.
  • Transportation Options: Services for older adults or people with disabilities who lack private transportation or who are unable to access public transportation. More on Transportation.
  • Personal Emergency Response Systems: 24-hour electronic alarm systems to enable people to summon emergency help.

Meeting Your Housing Needs
  • Home Modification: Home improvement or renovations that fit the needs of functionally impaired individuals by increasing safety, security and independence in the home.
  • Home Repair Programs: Programs that help keep housing in good repair, such as roofing, plumbing and insulation, in order to avoid major problems.
  • Senior Housing Options: Residential properties and programs particularly beneficial for seniors, such as independent living, government-assisted housing and shared housing.

Assisting Caregivers
  • Caregiver Resources: Support and programs for someone unpaid individual who assists individuals, usually daily, with many activities of daily living. More on Caregiver Supports.
  • Adult Day Care: Services provided at a community-based center. Programs address the individual needs of functionally or cognitively impaired adults. These structured, comprehensive programs provide social and support services in a protective setting during any part of a day, but do not provide 24-hour care.
  • Respite Care: A support service that provides caregivers with a break from on-going caregiving duties by providing temporary supervision of the care recipient.

Getting Involved
  • Employment Services: Counseling and Information & Referral for older adults exploring training and employment options.
  • Senior Center Programs: Programs that enhance the physical and mental well-being of seniors through activities that foster wellness and a sense of community.
  • Social Engagement and Volunteer Services: Opportunities to tap into the wide variety of skills offered by individuals, including older adults, to assist in the improvement and expansion of services and programs within the Aging and Disability Networks. Traditional volunteer opportunities include telephone reassurance, friendly visits, insurance counseling and more. More on Social Engagement and Volunteerism.

Additional Resources
  • Legal Assistance: Advice and representation for certain legal matters, such as government benefits, tenant rights, wills and consumer problems.
  • Elder Abuse Prevention Programs: Programs that provide public education and outreach to help identify and prevent elder abuse, neglect and exploitation.
  • Financial Assistance: Cost-saving programs that assists individuals either in cases of hardship or on an ongoing basis. May provide counseling on financial management, low-income Medicare and other benefits eligibility, Social Security benefits, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, energy assistance and more.
  • Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS): Includes HCBS but is a broader definition of the combination of medical, personal and social services provided at home, in the community or in an institution to an individual with a chronic illness or disability.

USAging Fact: Learn about your peers’ work—and how it can fit into your agency’s goals! The AIA Awards recognizes successful and innovative programs that USAging members have developed to serve older adults. Get inspiration from our 2024 winners!