Delaware is a famously tax-friendly state for retirees. The state doesn’t tax Social Security benefits; if you’re 60 years of age or older, you can exclude up to $12,500 of your pension income from your income tax burden. On top of that, Delaware is one of only four states with no sales tax, which helps residents save money on big-ticket purchases and small transactions. This guide provides an overview of assisted living costs in Delaware and the laws and regulations governing assisted living communities or similar long-term care centers in the state.
While Delaware is the nation’s second-smallest state by size, it’s also the sixth-most densely populated state in the country. Its location provides three-hour access to much of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, making it a convenient choice for people with family in or around major cities such as Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Washington, D.C. Plenty of long-term care models are available, each catering to different levels of need.
When a loved one can no longer live independently, an assisted living provider can be a good option. Assisted living residences are for residents who would like to, and can, maintain some independence but need help with meals, housekeeping, and some of the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as showering, getting dressed, or personal hygiene.
In Delaware, assisted living communities provide residence and care to people who require help with daily living activities (ADLs). This can include support with bathing, grooming, toileting, dressing, eating, and transitions — and assistance is available 24 hours per day.
Assisted living communities in Delaware are categorized into two care levels:
Independent living communities are a good housing option for seniors who can still live independently but want to downsize. Each resident or couple lives in a private unit, and most communities offer social programs so residents can meet their neighbors. Housekeeping, chores, and some meals may be provided, although these may incur an additional cost. Unlike the care given in an assisted living community, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management aren’t available in these communities.
Nursing homes offer the highest level of care of all senior living options. These communities provide around-the-clock supervision and skilled nursing care, and medical help is available. Generally, people in nursing homes have complex medical issues or need more residential care than is offered in an assisted living facility. Delaware has both skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for people who require 24-hour care and intermediate care facilities (ICF) for people who don’t need as much medical care. The average cost of nursing home care in the state is $12,273 for a semiprivate room and $12,577 for a private room.
Many seniors prefer to choose a community that will continue to meet their needs in the future. Continuing care retirement communities have independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities on the same property or owned by the same community. This model allows seniors to stay near their friends in familiar surroundings, even as their needs change. The care provided in the assisted living section of a CCRC is the same as in an assisted living community. The difference is that residents can easily move to a skilled nursing room if required. Often, CCRCs are bigger than ACHs, as they encompass more care options.
Supportive Housing facilities are residential facilities designed for older adults or persons with disabilities who are unable to live independently. These individuals need help with toileting, bathing, dressing, medication management and administration, assistance with meals and housekeeping, and other activities of daily living. These individuals do not need regular nursing care. There are several housing options available that range from living in a facility to residents living in their own home or apartment, with community-based support services.
Individuals who only require supervision during traditional work hours and don’t need significant medical assistance can usually save money on care by participating in an adult day care program.
Under Delaware regulations, an adult day care program may only provide care for up to 12 hours per day. So, people who need round-the-clock help may find residential care and assisted living options to be the most appropriate. According to Genworth Financial’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey, the average cost of adult day healthcare in Delaware is $1,661 per month.
There are two types of in-home care available in Delaware: homemaker services and home healthcare. Homemaker services generally provide personal care and may also help with errands, chores, and housekeeping. Home healthcare can deliver these services and also offer medical care such as skilled nursing and medication management. Unlike assisted living care, in-home care is provided to people in their homes, making it a good choice for those who prefer to age in place. However, it doesn’t give seniors access to the social and recreational programming of assisted living communities. The average cost of homemaker services is $3,813 per month and the average cost of a home health aide is $3,851 per month.
There are over 30 assisted living facilities in Delaware with over 2,100 licensed beds. Brookdale is the largest provider of assisted living communities in the country and has two facilities in the state of Delaware. Other major companies with facilities in Delaware include Foulk Manor, which has two communities, and Luther Towers which also has 2.
Delaware’s Division of Health Care Quality is responsible for issuing the regulations governing assisted living communities in the state. These standards help ensure resident safety and quality of life by requiring that all such communities have a minimum number of staff members on hand at all times, strong tracking policies surrounding medication, and respect for residents’ rights, among other conditions.
Title 16 of the Delaware Code of Regulations defines the requirements for assisted living communities in the state and specifies how they differ from those concerning nursing homes. For example, an assisted living facility may not admit or continue to provide services to a resident who needs skilled monitoring of acute health issues, has been bedridden for over two weeks, or presents a threat to the safety of other residents.
Delaware regulations also require assisted living communities to establish resident contracts that clearly explain and define services offered, occupancy guidelines, discharge procedures, and rate structures, among other policies.
The average cost of assisted living care in Delaware is $5995 per month. This is $1495 higher than the national average of $4,500 per month. The cost of living in Delaware is 1.2% higher than the national average with healthcare costs nearly 6.5% higher and housing costing 3.1% more than the national average. The exact price of care differs depending on where in the state you’re located. Costs in Dover will average $6,073 per month, which is a little higher than the state average.
If you live close to one of Delaware’s borders, you may find assisted living in a neighboring state is an affordable option. Pennsylvania, while it’s a big state has a lower average cost at $4,100 per month, but a better comparison might be the cost in Philadelphia which averages $5,685 per month, only a little bit lower than the Delaware average. Maryland also may have some less expensive options with the state average cost being $4,900 per month.
The average cost of assisted living in Delaware is around $72,000 per year, so, understandably, you or a family member may be wondering how to pay for care. A range of options is available to fund senior housing in the state.
Selling a home is a common way for seniors to raise funds for assisted living care. Income from pensions and Social Security may also pay for some care. Other examples of private funds include your retirement accounts, mutual funds, and other investments.
Some older adults in Delaware can take advantage of the state’s optional SSI supplement to increase the size of their payments. The additional funds can be used to help cover assisted living costs. This supplement is available for older adults who qualify as blind, disabled, or elderly.
Long-term care insurance covers personal care, residential care, and other long-term support and services. Each plan is different; however, most offer a daily amount based on the policy that pays for assistance with activities of daily living. Most people buy a policy in their 50s or 60s and access it when required. If you or your family member has a policy, read it carefully to see what care it covers.
Delaware has one Veterans Home in the state, in Milford. These homes provide skilled nursing care to residents of Delaware who served in the military. The state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs also has offices around the state where team members can help people obtain benefits and services. This includes the Aid and Attendance Benefit, which can help qualified veterans fund personal care.
Elderlife Financial can help you understand how to pay for assisted living.
The services provided in assisted living communities generally come under three broad categories: personal care, medical care, and amenities.
Most people move to assisted living communities because they look for easy access to personal care. These services assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, walking, and toileting. Communities also provide supervision and can deliver care for unforeseen needs or in cases of emergencies.
In Delaware, ACHs must provide care and services in the resident’s care plan. This can include coordinating medical care and appointments. Communities may also deliver health services, with 56% of communities providing skilled nursing. Many have healthcare specialists and on-site services, with some communities offering dental care. In addition, 67% of ACHs have hospice services.
ACHs may provide specialized care for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. These special care units have additional security measures to ensure residents don’t wander, a common symptom of Alzheimer’s disease. Typically, they also offer programs designed to improve cognitive function and routines that help lower stress.
Mental health issues are a growing consideration for communities, and services to address these concerns are becoming more common. In Delaware, some communities will conduct depression screening, and 72% offer mental health counseling. Social work programs are also found in 40% of ACHs. Social workers can provide counseling, conduct assessments, and help ensure residents have access to all the resources they need.
Amenities refer to other features and services of the community. ACHs offer three meals a day and coordinate activity programs to help residents stay active and connected with families and the community. Delaware facilities must also provide transportation and laundry services and may offer housekeeping services.
Delaware is a solid choice for adults who want to live close to highly ranked hospitals. As of 2022, U.S. News ranks Delaware second in the nation on hospital quality and borders Maryland, which ranked first. Delaware’s largest medical facility, Christiana Hospital in Newark, is consistently rated among the top 100 hospitals in the United States and the top five in the Philadelphia region by both U.S. News and Newsweek.
Delaware’s Department of Substance Abuse and Mental Health is the government arm specifically tasked with addressing mental health issues among the state’s residents. Its Delaware Psychiatric Center provides non-emergency assistance, while its Crisis Intervention Services program focuses on immediate needs. The National Alliance for Mental Illness, an independent non-profit organization, has a local arm that serves older adults in the state through direct programs and general advocacy.
The decision to move into an assisted living community can be difficult. Generally, you’ll notice changes in your loved ones that suggest they need some assistance. Signs that this environment could be beneficial include increased isolation, loss of mobility, noticeable weight loss or gain, and signs that they’re neglecting household chores.
Your older family member may be the one to start talking about assisted living. For many seniors, the idea of moving into a home where cooking, laundry, and other chores are taken care of is appealing. For seniors who realize they need help with daily tasks, the addition of personal care may come as a relief. In Delaware, 13% of residents need help with eating. Other commonly used services include bed transfer (26%), toileting (33%), and walking (62%). Caregivers in ACHs help 43% of residents to dress, and 62% of residents need help bathing.
If you think your family member would benefit from assisted living, start by talking about it openly. Highlight the positives of a move, such as social activities, cooked meals, and easily accessible assistance. Some ACHs provide respite care, which may allow your family member to have a trial run. Remember, this should be a conversation, not a lecture. Stay open to their opinion. If they’re not ready to transition to assisted living, talk about the care they need to stay at home.
Delaware’s Health Care Quality Division has oversight of the state’s assisted living communities. Its Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program investigates complaints from residents in long-term residential care and can help seniors defend their rights and address concerns regarding their quality of care.
The term “elder law” is often associated with estate planning, trusts, and help to obtain benefits through Medicare or Medicaid. Unfortunately, the field has grown to include cases involving elder abuse, elder neglect, and exploitation. Skilled attorneys can help older adults affected by these issues.
Several legal aid services in Delaware offer pro bono help older adults with elder law issues, including housing problems, power of attorney transfers, guardianship questions, and more. The state’s Legal Help Link can assist people in finding private representation for these and other civil cases.
There are 20 assisted living facilities in DE and the median cost of care is $6,367. The average rating of assisted living facilities in Delaware is 3 out of 5 stars and the top ranked facility is Lodge Lane Assisted Living
501 South Harmony Road, Newark, DE, 19713
Pet Friendly, Pool, Social Outings, Clubs & Communities, Beauty & Barber,
407 Foulk Road, Wilmington, DE, 19803
Outdoor Areas, Parking, Pool, Activity Center, Fitness Programs,
1203 Walker Rd, Dover, DE, 19904
Beauty & Barber, Pool, Activity Center, Fitness Programs, Clubs & Communities,
2200 West 4th Street, Wilmington, DE, 19805
Pet Friendly, Housekeeping, Pool, Activity Center, Clubs & Communities,
1912 Marsh Road, Wilmington, DE, 19810
Pet Friendly, Beauty & Barber, Parking, Pool, Social Outings,
500 S DuPont Blvd, Milford, DE, 19963
Outdoor Areas, Beauty & Barber, Washer & Dryer in Unit, Pool, Activity Center,
200 East Village Road, Newark, DE, 19711
Parking, Beauty & Barber, Housekeeping, Pool, Activity Center,
6677 Lancaster Pike, Hockessin, DE, 19707
Outdoor Areas, Beauty & Barber, Parking, Pool, Activity Center,
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