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Memory Care in Delaware

Delaware is a small state of just over 1 million people with a large senior population. Over 19% of residents are aged 65 and over, and Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are a growing concern for older Delawareans. In 2020, there were an estimated 19,000 people around the state diagnosed with the condition. This number is expected to increase by 21% to 23,000 by 2025. 

Delaware has a number of resources to help people with dementia, including the Swank Center for Memory Care and Geriactric Consultation. The state’s tax system is another attractive feature for retirees, with no sales taxes and a large income tax deduction for retirees. This can help seniors budget more for their memory care, which costs an average of $7,494 in the state. This, along with its famous beaches, beautiful sunrises and comfortable summers, make Delaware an appealing place to retire.

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This guide contains an overview of the costs of memory care in Delaware and the prices of other senior care options. There’s also information on how you can finance memory care, state regulations for memory care facilities and some of the resources available to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias in the state.

The Cost of Memory Care in Delaware

When trying to decide how to pay for memory care, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. To help shed light on real senior living prices, has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of memory care in Delaware and its 4 cities.

The Cost of Memory Care in Delaware's Top Cities

Memory care costs in Delaware can vary widely, but are generally more expensive than the national norm. The average cost in Dover is $6,646 monthly, more than the state norm. Costs increase a bit in Wilmington, where they average $6,764. Newark provides a slight reprieve from high costs, averaging less than the state average at $5,760. Nearby in Annapolis, MD, costs remain high, averaging $6,940 per month. 









Annapolis, MD


Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Memory Care in Delaware

Inflationary effects have driven state average costs of memory care up, with the national average projected to increase 19.1% from 2022 ($4,863) to 2024 ($5,792). Delaware is projected to experience a much higher inflationary effect, with rates increasing 48%, from $4,337 to $6,413. Pennsylvania is also likely to see higher-than-average increases of nearly 28%, from $4,649 to $5,931. Connecticut prices are projected to increase by just 4.5%, from $7,310 to $7,637. In New Jersey, prices are actually expected to decrease by 4.3%, from $7,091 to $6,787.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
U.S. Average$4,863$5,369$5,792
New Jersey$7,091$6,289$6,787

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

The biggest determiner of cost of senior living is the type of care provided. Memory care costs tend to be one of the most expensive options due to providing additional security and access to therapeutic treatments for dementia. In Delaware, memory care averages $6,049 monthly. In assisted living, averaging $4,587 monthly, seniors receive nonmedical assistance with daily tasks. Independent living, averaging $3,472, provides a senior community and pleasant amenities without regular assistance. 

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Delaware?

Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in Delaware.

Long-term care in Delaware is provided through a managed care waiver program known as Diamond State Health Plan – Plus (DSHPP). This covers a range of services for low-income elderly residents, including memory care. It replaces the state’s old waiver programs such as the assisted living program.

There are a number of sub-programs included in DSHPP that serve particular populations. It’s the Long Term Care Community Services Program (LTCCS) that provides care to people outside of nursing homes. Services can be provided in homes, assisted living facilities and adult foster care. The program doesn’t arrange or pay for room and board.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Delaware?

People receiving memory care through Delaware’s LTCCS program receive all the regular services provided through Medicaid, such as doctors visits, mental health services and prescription drugs. It also has a range of additional services designed to keep individuals comfortable. This covers things like case management and personal care services 

Memory Care Waiver Programs in Delaware

Diamond State Health Plan Plus – Long Term Care Community Services

Diamond State Health Plan Plus is a managed care program designed to help people who require long-term care. People enrolled in DSHPP receive their services from a managed care organization. DSHPP programs help provide nursing home care and long-term community-based care to older adults and people with disabilities or chronic illnesses, such as AIDS. 

The Long-Term Care Community Services sub-program is designed to encourage people to receive care at home or in an assisted living facility. In addition to regular Medicaid services, LTCCS recipients may be able to access a range of additional services, including case management, personal care services, assisted living, cognitive treatments and personal emergency response systems. The exact services available depend on the beneficiary’s needs. 

To be eligible for LTCCS, applicants must meet the financial requirements for Medicaid and the medical requirements for long term care. The department states that to meet medical requirements an individual must need a “skilled or intermediate level of care.” This generally means applicants need a level of care that would be provided in a nursing home.

Individuals must have a referral to be considered for this program, so it may be best to talk to a health care provider as the first step. You can also contact the Long-Term Care Medicaid Unit at 1-866-940-8963 for further information

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Delaware

Medicaid is designed to help low-income people access health care, so all applicants must meet the financial requirements to be eligible. This consists of both asset and income limits. All income is counted, but certain items, such as a vehicle, a burial fund or life insurance, aren’t included when calculating assets. 

If only one person in a marriage is applying, the non-applicant spouse can have assets of up to $148,620 and their home won’t be counted as an asset if they still live there. In addition, if they have a low income they may be able to transfer money from the applicant spouse to manage their living expenses. This is called the Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance.

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$27,420$2,000
Two People1$27,420**$2,000$148,620
Two People 2$54,840$3,000

*Depending on the facility setting, a recipient may not be able to keep income up to this level.

**Income limit is for applicant only.

Different programs have different eligibility requirements and financial criteria. To be eligible for long-term care through DSHPP, you must:

  • Be a U.S. citizen or legally residing noncitizen
  • Be a Delaware resident
  • Require a nursing home level of care
  • Have an income of $2,285 or less per month, when applying as an individual
  • Own no more than $2,000 in countable assets when applying as a single

How to Apply for Medicaid in Delaware

The application for DSHPP is in three stages. The first stage assesses medical eligibility. When a referral is received by the Central Intake Unit (CIU), a registered nurse will conduct a pre-admission screening. This evaluation determines if the applicant needs the required level of care to receive DSHPP based on Delaware’s Medicaid criteria.

After this, the CIU sends an application packet to the individual. On receiving the packet, you should:


  • Call to make an appointment with the financial eligibility social worker.
  • Take the completed, but unsigned, application forms to your appointment. Here, the social worker will check your financial details and verify documents provided.
  • Start the application process by talking to your health care provider about a referral or contact the CIU at 1-800-996-9969.


Information You Will Need 

When you go to your interview, you will need to bring the following information:


  • Birth certificate or INS alien forms/card
  • Photo ID
  • Social Security card
  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree
  • Power of attorney/guardianship papers
  • Health insurance cards
  • Proof of health insurance premiums
  • Proof of resources such as titles to motor vehicles, account statements, trusts and life insurance policies

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

As all DSHPP applicants have an interview with the intake unit as part of the application process, many people find their questions can be answered during this time. However, there are other resources that can answer questions and provide assistance. 

ProgramContactServices provided
Delaware ASSISTOnlineASSIST is the online application form for most Medicaid programs and a range of other services. Although applications for long-term care don’t go through ASSIST, the website has information about programs and eligibility.
Steps to Long-Term Care GuideOnlineThis guide has extensive information about DSHPP, including the sub-programs, benefits and application process.
Department of Medicaid and Medical Assistance800-996-9969DMMA administers the DSHPP programs and can answer questions about the application process and benefits.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Delaware?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Delaware. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Delaware.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Delaware

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Memory Care affordable.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Memory Care.
Reverse MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Memory Care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Memory Care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Memory Care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Delaware

There are many resources in Delaware that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities800-223-9074Delaware's Area Agencies on Aging offer services to support the health and well-being of seniors in the state. They provide community services to meet the nutritional, health, social, emotional and recreational needs of older adults. AAAs offer easy access to information regarding support services and long-term care options. The agencies empower seniors and assist them in maintaining their independence through respite care, nutrition programs and support groups.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in Delaware provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Emergency Assistance ServicesSeniors who are living on a low income may qualify for ongoing government assistance to help them purchase food or cover urgent bills. There are also emergency government assistance programs that can help with unforeseen expenses or shortterm bills.
Delaware Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, Delaware seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE)The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly is available in some parts of Delaware but isn't statewide. PACE doesn't provide funds directly. Rather it simplifies the Medicare and Medicaid process, providing a single point of contact for all Medicare and Medicaid payments, claims and assessments.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help Delaware seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Meals on WheelsDelaware Meals on Wheels provides hot, nutritious home-delivered meals to homebound seniors and disabled residents throughout the state. The program is administered through five organizations: City Fare Meals on Wheels in New Castle County, Newark Senior Center, Modern Maturity Center in Kent County, CHEER in Sussex County and Meals on Wheels Lewis-Rehoboth. Seniors can contact their nearest program for food delivery. In addition to providing daily meals, the organization offers meal kits with nonperishable foods to stock seniors' kitchens.

Financial Assistance for Senior Living

Low-income elderly individuals in senior living communities can access financial assistance through local-run programs. These Delaware resources offer advice, guidance and support to help older adults pay for the services offered by long-term care providers.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Diamond State Health Plan - Plus800‐996‐9969The Diamond State Health Plan - Plus is a Medicaid waiver that covers long-term care options for seniors, including nursing home care. The state discontinued several other waivers for the elderly and disabled and created one simplified waiver to help seniors who require varying levels of care either in the community or in nursing facilities. This managed long-term care waiver is divided into two sub-programs, the Nursing Facility Program and the Long-Term Care Community Services Program. While the program is for managed care, there's still some scope for consumer-directed care. Seniors can choose providers for certain elements of their care, including hiring family members if desired.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in Delaware collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative800-223-9074The Delaware Assistive Technology Initiative provides short-term durable medical equipment loans to individuals experiencing temporary illness, are having other equipment repaired or simply wish to try a medical device before committing to a purchase.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

Delaware seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Prescription Assistance Program844-245-9580The Delaware Prescription Assistance Program offers support for individuals who are unable to cover the cost of prescription drugs themselves. The program is aimed at low-income individuals who have no prescription drug cover other than Medicare Part D and those who have an income below 200% of the federal poverty level. This program is open to elderly or disabled individuals who cannot cover the cost of physician-prescribed drugs and those who are on a low income or whose prescription bills exceed 40% of their income. Seniors who qualify for the program may receive support of up to $3,000 per year toward the cost of Medicare Part D premiums and certain prescription medications.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in Delaware have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program302-504-6111The Delaware Weatherization Assistance Program provides free home improvements to help make homes more energy efficient. The program offers a variety of assistance, including insulation, weather stripping, low-energy light bulbs and other home improvements.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to Delaware seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc.800-537-8383Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. provides free legal services to seniors aged 60 and older and adults with disabilities. Under the Elder Law Program, Delaware older adults can receive advice and information on a variety of senior-related issues, including living wills, powers of attorney, consumer problems and benefits.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in Delaware help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several Delaware resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Senior School Property Tax ReliefThe Senior School Property Tax Relief program offers a discount on property taxes of 50% up to a total value of $400. The relief can only be applied to the senior's primary residence.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. Delaware retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program assists families struggling with their utility bills in the form of emergency payments to assist with heating bills during winter and air conditioning during the summer months.

Veteran's Services

Delaware retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Delaware VA Benefits and Health CareThe Delaware VA Benefits and Health Care program offers medical care and additional benefits to seniors throughout the state. Through the state's VA program, seniors who served in the military often qualify for services and retirement benefits. The main VA Medical Center is located in Wilmington, and the VA also has outpatient clinics or vet centers in Dover, Georgetown and Wilmington.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Delaware

Facilities that offer memory care services in Delaware are licensed and regulated by the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Health Care Quality Division. In Delaware, residential memory care programs are operated within assisted living facilities.

Scope of CareMemory care programs can admit and retain residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia who require room and board in a supervised setting, and who require no more than 90 consecutive days of intermittent nursing care. Those who are medically unstable, bedridden for 14 days or more, on a ventilator or who exhibit behavior that poses a threat to themselves or others are ineligible for placement in a memory care unit.
Care Plan RequirementsA comprehensive preadmission assessment must be prepared by a registered nurse within the 30 days prior to admission, and again within 30 days of admission. This assessment serves as the basis for the resident care plan, which must detail a residents’ needs and treatment plan.
Medication Management RequirementsWithin 30 days of admission into a memory care program, residents must be assessed to determine if they can self-administer medications. Those who require assistance with self-administration can be helped by caregivers who have passed a medication management exam, or who are licensed medical professionals.
Staff Screening RequirementsStaff who work with vulnerable adults must successfully pass a background check, and those with convictions that could pose a threat to residents are ineligible for employment at a memory care facility.
Staff Training RequirementsNew hires must complete a comprehensive orientation session that covers residents’ rights, infection control, first aid and safety procedures. All direct care staff need to complete a minimum of 12 hours of in-service training related to Alzheimer’s and dementia care on an annual basis.
Medicaid CoverageDelaware’s Medicaid program covers the cost of memory care services delivered in an assisted living facility under the Diamond State Health Plan – Plus entitlement program.
Reporting AbuseBy law, any medical practitioner who has reason to believe a vulnerable person has been the victim of abuse, neglect, exploitation or self-abuse has a duty to report these concerns within 24 hours to Adult Protective Services at 1-800-223-9074.

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