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

Note: Memory care is usually provided to people as an added service in an assisted living community. Memory care rates in the United States aren’t currently tracked, but typically, the price is 20%-30% higher than assisted living costs. The following estimates have been calculated by adding 25% to the assisted living prices in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Memory care in Delaware costs an average of $7,494 per month, almost $2,000 more than the national average of $5,625. It’s also less affordable than most of its neighbors. In Pennsylvania, the average is just $5,125, while seniors in Maryland pay $6,125 per month. New Jersey’s prices are higher than Delaware’s at $8,119 monthly.  

$7494

Delaware

$5625

The United States

$6125

Maryland

$5125

Pennsylvania

$8119

New Jersey

The only Delaware city with a defined average memory care cost is the capital of Dover. Seniors there pay $7,591 per month for memory care. This is higher than costs in many cities close to Delaware’s borders. In Salisbury, MD, seniors pay $6,225 per month, and in Philadelphia, the average is $7,106. Ocean City, NJ, is less affordable. Seniors there pay $9,363 per month for memory care. 

$7591

Dover

$6225

Salisbury, MD

$7106

Philadelphia, PA

$9363

Ocean City, NJ

Seniors may also want to explore other long-term care options available in Delaware. Adult day health care is the most affordable at $1,661 per month, followed by home care and home health care, which both average $5,339. Assisted living in the state comes in at $5,995 monthly. Nursing home care is the least affordable, with semiprivate rooms averaging $12,273 and private rooms averaging $12,577. 

$1661

Adult Day Health Care

$5995

Assisted Living

$5339

Home Care

$5339

Home Health Care

$7434

Memory Care

$12273

Nursing Home (semiprivate)

$12577

Nursing Home (private)

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 $137,400 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. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Delaware

Income Limits* 

Asset Limits

Single Applicant

$25,230

$2,000

Two-Person Household

(Only One Person Applying)

$25,230 for the applicant spouse

$2,000 + $137,400 for the non-applicant spouse

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$50,460

$3,000

*Per year

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 $2,102.50 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. 

Program

Contact

Services Provided

Online

ASSIST 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. 

Online

This guide has extensive information about DSHPP, including the sub-programs, benefits and application process. 

800-996-9969

DMMA 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.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at va.gov.

Veterans 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 Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov

If 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) Insurance

Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.

Seniors 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

Delaware has a number of free and low-cost resources available to seniors who need memory care services in the state. These are available through government departments and nonprofit organizations and include meals, options counseling and advocacy for those living in residential care facilities. 

Program 

Contact

Services Provided

800-223-9074

The Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center is the primary access point for information and resources on aging in the state. It maintains an extensive directory of service providers and has a helpline where seniors can ask for assistance. There is also counseling options available to help people make decisions about their long-term care. 

800-272-3900

The Alzheimer’s Association is a nationwide nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It runs a 24/7 helpline to answer questions and connect people to resources. The Delaware Valley chapter also hosts support groups, community forums and education programs. 

800-223-9074

The DSAAPD is a division of the Department of Health and Social Services. Its website has a range of useful information, including an Alzheimer’s Toolkit with advice on living with the condition and links to various resources. DSAAPD also runs a number of programs to help seniors in the community, including home-delivered meals, options counseling and respite care. 

800-223-9074

The Long Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates for people who receive long-term care in their homes or a residential setting like assisted living. Volunteers investigate and resolve complaints and regularly visit facilities where they can advocate in person and educate residents about their rights. 

800-292-7980

CLASI provides free legal services to a range of people in Delaware, including those aged 60 and over. The Elder Law Program can help with consumer and housing problems, issues with Medicaid and Social Security benefits and setting up powers of attorney and advance health care directives. 

COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Delaware

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including coronavirus.delaware.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/3/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Delaware Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Delaware Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Delaware Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

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.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Delaware

Scope of Care

Memory 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 Requirements

A 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 Requirements

Within 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 Requirements

Staff 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 Requirements

New 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 Coverage

Delaware’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 Abuse

By 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does Memory Care Cost in Delaware?

The average monthly cost of residential memory care services in Delaware is $7,544. Costs may be higher or lower than the state average depending on the amenities, location and services offered.

Does Delaware Medicaid Pay for Memory Care?

Yes. Delaware Medicaid’s Diamond State Health Plan — Plus Program covers the cost of residential care for beneficiaries with memory loss who are unable to safely live in their own homes. It’s important to know that this program does not pay the room and board portion of memory care costs.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

Memory care and assisted living are two types of residential care that include room and board, and both are often offered in the same facility. Assisted living is geared toward those who want a maintenance-free lifestyle combined with the security that comes with living in a community where caregivers are on-site 24 hours a day. Memory care involves significantly more structure and supervision than assisted living, and memory care programs are usually staffed by caregivers who have advanced training in the latest nonmedical treatments for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

What types of facilities offer memory care?

In Delaware, residential memory care services are largely delivered within licensed assisted living facilities. These facilities may either have a dedicated memory care unit, wing or floor, or be dedicated to offering memory care programming and services. Skilled nursing facilities can admit and retain residents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia who also have complex medical needs that cannot be met in an assisted living setting.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Memory care facilities have a number of enhanced security features designed to protect residents against wandering. Delayed-egress exterior doors, motion-activated alarms, security cameras and 24/7 awake staff are methods used help to keep residents safe and secure. Some memory care units also use a wireless resident tracking system called WanderGuard, which allows caregivers to monitor the location of each resident through a small, discrete bracelet that’s similar to a medical alert button.

Memory Care Facilities in Delaware (3)