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Definitions of Terms

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Fall 2013   


        Aging in Place: Facilitating Choice and Independence
        Measuring the Costs and Savings of Aging in Place
        Community-Centered Solutions for Aging at Home

Definitions of Terms

Disability: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 defines disability with respect to an individual as “(A) a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities of such individual; (B) a record of such an impairment; or (C) being regarded as having such an impairment….”1

Medicaid: “Medicaid is a jointly-funded, Federal-State health insurance program that helps many people who can’t afford medical care pay for some or all of their medical bills.”2

Medicare: “Medicare is a Federal health insurance program for people 65 years or older, certain people with disabilities, and people with end-stage renal disease.”3

Morbidity: “A diseased state, often used in the context of a ‘morbidity rate’ (i.e., the rate of disease or proportion of diseased people in a population). In common clinical usage, any disease state, including diagnosis and complications is referred to as morbidity.”4

Universal Design: Coined by Ronald L. Mace, founder of the Center for Universal Design at the North Carolina State University, universal design refers to “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”5

Visitability: “Visitability is a movement to change home construction practices so that virtually all new homes — not merely those custom-built for occupants who currently have disabilities — offer a few specific features making the home easier for mobility-impaired people to live in and visit.”6

  1. “ADA Amendments Act of 2008,” U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website ( Accessed 21 October 2013.
  2. “Medicare and Medicaid – FAQs,” U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website ( Accessed 21 October 2013.
  3. Ibid.
  4. “Glossary,” Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services website ( Accessed 21 October 2013.
  5. “About UD,” The Center for Universal Design website ( Accessed 21 October 2013.
  6. “Visitability Defined,” Concrete Change website ( Accessed 21 October 2013.


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