Glossary of Terms:  C

This glossary covers terms related to retirement (including financial, insurance, legal and estate planning) and elder care. (For terms related to Medicare, click on Medicare Glossary.) To reduce download time, we have divided the Glossary into the following sections. Simply click on the section you want to see.

| A | B | C | D | E-F | G | H | I | J-L | M-N | O-P | Q-R | S | T-Z |


Callable — When a bond or certificate of deposit (CD) is issued, the issuer may have the option to redeem (call) it before it reaches its maturity date. This allows the issuer to terminate its agreement with you when it decides to do so. That happens most frequently when interest rates drop and the issuer wants to stop paying you the higher interest rate that was in effect when you purchased the bond or certificate of deposit.

Our recommendation: Don't buy a bond or CD that includes a call provision; it never works to your advantage. Instead, make sure that a bond or certificate of deposit is non-callable before you purchase it.

Caregiver — An adult (typically a family member or friend) who provides unpaid assistance to another adult who can no longer independently attend to his or her personal needs and/or perform his or her normal activities of daily living.

Care Manager — A health care professional, typically a nurse or social worker, who arranges, monitors, or coordinates long-term care services (also referred to as a care coordinator or case manager). A care manager may also assess a patient's needs and develop a plan of care, subject to approval by the patient's physician. For more information, click on Elder Care Managers.

Care Plan — see Plan of Care.

Cash Surrender Value — The amount of money you may be entitled to receive from the insurance company when you terminate a life insurance or annuity policy. The amount of cash value will be determined as stated in the policy.

Catheter — A medical devise used to control urinary incontinence using a receptacle bag.

Certified — A long-term care facility, home health agency, or hospice agency that meets the requirements imposed by Medicare and Medicaid is said to be certified. Being certified is not the same as being accredited. Medicare, Medicaid and some long-term care insurance policies only cover care in a certified facility or provided by a certified agency.

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) — CNAs are trained and certified to help nurses by providing non-medical assistance to patients, such as help with eating, cleaning and dressing.

Charitable Remainder Trust — An irrevocable trust that pays income to a designated person or persons until the Grantor's death, when the income is passed on to a designated charity. A charitable lead trust by contrast allows the charity to receive income during the grantor's life, and the remaining income to pass to designated family members upon the grantor's death.

Chronically Ill Individual — According to federal law, a person who, within the preceding 12-month period, has been certified by a licensed health care practitioner as:

Chronic Illness or Condition — An illness or other condition with one or more of the following characteristics: permanency, residual disability, requires rehabilitation training, or requires a long period of supervision, observation, or care. Typically, it is a disease or condition that lasts over a long period of time and cannot be cured; it is often associated with disability.

CNA — see Certified Nursing Assistant.

Codicil — A written amendment to a will.

Cognitive Impairment — Deterioration of intellectual ability, such as disorientation as to people, places or time; impairment of short-term or long-term memory; and/or impairment of one's ability to reason; that has progressed to the extent that a person requires substantial supervision by another person. Cognitive impairment includes Alzheimer's disease and senile dementia. The existence of cognitive impairment is determined by clinical evidence and standardized tests that reliably measure the person's impairment. For more information, click on Senile Dementia symptoms.

Coinsurance — For Medicare, it is the percentage of the Medicare-approved amount that you have to pay after you pay the deductible for Part A and/or Part B. For other types of health insurance, it is usually a percentage of billed charges after you pay the deductible. For example, if you have paid the deductible and the insurance company then pays 70 percent of the remaining amount of your claim, your coinsurance is 30 percent.

Community-Based Services — Services designed to help older people live independently in their own homes, such as adult day care and senior centers.

Companionship Services — Companions visit isolated and homebound elders for conversation, reading, and light errands. May also be termed "friendly visitor" services.

Confirmation — A written confirmation is issued immediately after any trade is executed in the securities markets. It spells out the details of the trade, including settlement date, terms, commission, etc.

Congregate Meal Programs — Nutritional programs that provide lunches for older adults Monday through Friday in senior centers, community centers and schools.

Conservator — Someone appointed by a court to assume responsibility for a child, or for an adult who is not capable of managing his or her own affairs.

Continence — Another activity of daily living - The ability to maintain control of bowel and bladder function. Or, when unable to maintain control these functions, the ability to perform associated personal hygiene (including caring for catheter or colostomy bag).

Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC) — A retirement community that offers a broad range of services and levels of care based on what each resident needs over time. Sometimes called "life care," it can range from independent living in an apartment to assisted living to full-time care in a nursing home. Residents move from one setting to another based on their needs. Care in CCRCs can be expensive, with a large payment often required before moving in, and monthly fees thereafter.

Coordination of Benefits — A provision in a health insurance plan that tells which health plan or insurance policy pays first if two health plans or insurance policies cover the same benefits. If one of the plans is Medicare, federal law may determine who pays first.

Copayment — A charge you pay for a specific medical service. For example, you may pay $10 for an office visit or $15 for a prescription and your health plan pays the remainder of the medical charges.

Coupon or Coupon Rate — The stated interest rate for a bond. Most bonds pay a fixed rate of interest that does not change during the life of the bond. Typically, bonds pay interest twice a year.

Covered Benefit or Service — A health service or item that is included in an insurance plan or policy, and that is paid for either partially or fully.

Covered Charge — Services or benefits for which a health plan makes either partial or full payment.

Credit Score — A measurement of a consumer's creditworthiness based on an analysis of that consumer's credit history. Each credit reporting company uses a different scoring formula. The most important is the FICO score (scores computed by Fair Isaac Corp.) since it is used by most financial companies. FICO scores range from 300 to 850 (the higher the better). The average FICO score is currently 723. For more information, go to our page, Credit Reports and Scores.

Cueing — Directing or supervising the actions of someone with cognitive impairment (for example, showing them how to eat, reminding them which medications to take at the appropriate times, giving visual or verbal reminders for dressing or toileting, etc.).

Current Yield — The coupon rate of a bond, or the dividend rate stated for some preferred stocks. However, the current yield is usually not a very good indication of the true return on your investment; it does not take into account the price you paid for it. On the other hand, Yield to Maturity is based on your actual purchase price; as a result, it gives a much better indication of the value of the bond or preferred stock.

Custodial Care (Personal Care) — Care to help individuals meet personal needs such as bathing, dressing, eating, and other non-medical care that most people do themselves, such as using eye drops. Someone without professional training may provide this type of care. Medicare does not pay for custodial care and Medicaid pays very little.