Definitions | Ageing as an LGBTQ+ Person  | Needing CareDeath PlanningGrief and Bereavement | Caring for Yourself and OthersMoney MattersResources  

Here you will find brief definitions for the many terms we use throughout this toolkit. There are associated links to the main page for further information on these topics.  

Advance Care Planning 

Advance care planning is thinking about and documenting your preferences for future health care. It prepares you and others for a time when you may no longer be able to communicate those decision.  

Advance Care Directive  

An advance care directive formalises your advance care plan. It is made by you in case you are seriously ill or injured and unable to communicate your care needs. The directive can contain all your needs, values and preferences for your future care and details of a substitute decision-maker. It states what treatment options you would like to have or refuse. Your directive cannot be overruled by family members or medical professionals. 

Aged Care 

Aged care is support provided to older people, which may include help with everyday living, health care, accommodation, and equipment such as walking frames or ramps. Aged care may be delivered at home, or in a residential aged care setting. This may include short term, respite or transitional care. Aged care is different to palliative care.


A bequest is a gift you leave in your will. People may choose to leave a bequest to charitable or community organisations.  


Bereavement is a period of intense grief or mourning, especially following a death. 

Death Doula 

A death doula is a non-medical person who provides support for a person with a life-limiting illness.

Death Planning 

Death planning means making plans for what happens after you die. This may include:

  • Who will be informed of your death, and how – via social media, newspaper announcements, who will call whom.
  • Whether you want any sort of funeral or commemoration after you die (or before you die), and who you want to organise it.
  • What happens to your property – the place where you live, the things you own, any investments you have.

Death planning can be done at any time in your life.

Enduring Guardian 

A legal document that allows you to appoint an enduring guardian(s) to make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf if you become unable to, due to injury, illness or disability. 


This terminology is not currently used in Australia; see Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD).  

Family of Choice 

LGBTQ people have a long history of creating Families of Choice. These are diverse family structures and support networks that include but are not limited to life partners, close friends, and other loved ones not biologically related or legally recognized but who are the source of social and caregiving support. These families of Choice may also include some relatives. 

Family of Origin 

Family of Origin refers to the significant caretakers and siblings that a person grows up with, or the first social group a person belongs to, which is often a person's biological family or an adoptive family.


A discriminatory social or structural view that positions (either intentionally or otherwise) the trans experience as either not existing or as something to be pathologised. Cisgenderism believes that gender identity is determined at birth and is a fixed and innate identity that is based on sex characteristics and that only binary (male or female) genders are valid and real. 


The idea that binary gender identity and heterosexuality are the “norm”.  Heteronormativity may be seen in assumptions that relationships conform to cisgender heterosexual male/female norm.  


HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV affects the immune system – the body’s defence against infection. HIV reproduces in the body, and without treatment it will gradually weaken the immune system to the point that the body can no longer mount an effective response to infections that can lead to more serious illnesses. People on effective treatment can live a long life – many people living with HIV who die today, die from ageing-related issues. 

Life Limiting Condition 

A condition or illness which can’t be cured and will likely cause death. 

Living Wake 

Living wakes are celebrations of life held while a person with a terminal illness is still alive, alert, and oriented to the world. Ideally, the honouree will still be able to hold conversations, albeit brief, and may be able to sit up or walk on occasion. 

Palliative Care 

Palliative care is holistic support, information and care for people with a life-limiting illness. It isn’t just for people nearing the end of their lives. It’s based on your needs, not your diagnosis; the focus is on managing symptoms, comfort and support. Palliative care can begin at any stage; you don’t need to wait until you are in the last few months of life. 


Polyamory is when people engage in intimate relationships with more than one person at a time, with the consent of all parties involved.  

Power of Attorney 

A Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives a person, or trustee organisation the legal authority to act for you to manage your assets and make financial and legal decisions on your behalf. There are two types of Power of Attorney documents: 

  • Enduring Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows you to appoint a person(s) to manage financial and legal decisions on your behalf and continues even if you lose the ability to make decisions for yourself. 
  • General Power of Attorney - A legal document that allows you to appoint a person(s) to manage financial and legal decisions on your behalf, only while you can make your own decisions. 

Terminal Illness 

A terminal illness is an infection or an illness which will result in death. Terminal illnesses or infections are considered incurable when there are no conservative therapies available which will eliminate it from the body.  

Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) 

Voluntary Assisted Dying refers to assistance provided by a medical professional to a person with a terminal illness to end their life. Voluntary means that the person must be judged competent to make the decision to end their life, and making a free, uncoerced decision to do so. VAD has been legalised and regulated in a few states across Australia; however, that does not currently include NSW. 


A legal document with instructions for who you want to inherit your estate, care for your children, and be the executor of your estate when you die. 

It’s important to have your Will prepared by experts who are experienced in all aspects of estate planning, including law, accounting, taxation, and financial planning and investments. 

Your Will is an important legal document outlining your wishes for when you die. It details: 

  • who you want to receive your assets 
  • who you want to receive specific personal and heirloom items 
  • any religious or cultural arrangements for your funeral 
  • who you want as a legal guardian for any children under 18 years
  • who you choose to be your executor when you die 

Find out more

Definitions | Ageing as an LGBTQ+ Person  | Needing CareDeath PlanningGrief and Bereavement | Caring for OthersMoney MattersResources  

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