Delaware is home to the nation’s fifth-oldest population, based on residency data. Nearly 20% of its 973,764 residents are 65 or older, which means that there’s increased demand for long-term care and geriatric specialists. Seniors who have significant medical needs often turn to nursing homes for assistance. These facilities provide skilled nursing and subacute medical care 24 hours a day. They also offer physical therapy, psychosocial care and rehabilitative services to help residents recover from an injury, an illness or a hospitalization and maintain optimal function.

Delaware is home to 50 nursing facilities that care for approximately 4,000 residents. These facilities typically charge $12,699 per month for a private room or $12,349 for a semiprivate room, which is well above the national average. In this guide, you’ll find information about average nursing home costs, state regulations, Medicaid long-term care benefits and resources provided by government agencies and nonprofits.

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Delaware

According to the  Genworth Cost of Care Survey 2020, nursing homes in Delaware cost $12,349 per month for semiprivate accommodations. Local rates are 60% higher than the U.S. median of $7,756, which costs residents an additional $4,593 every month. Seniors in Virginia pay slightly less than the U.S. median with average rates of $7,665. However, when compared to other states in the Chesapeake region, prices are moderate. Seniors in Delaware pay roughly $1,095-$2,300 more than their counterparts in Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey, which all have above-average rates.




The United States


New Jersey







Nursing home rates vary by state and by city. Seniors in Dover, the state capital, pay $12,882 for skilled nursing, which is $533 more than average. In Wilmington, which is part of the Philadelphia metropolitan area, seniors pay $11,285 per month, or $1,064 less than the state median. Overall, Delaware tends to be more expensive than neighboring areas. Seniors in Baltimore, Maryland, pay $11,984 on average followed those in Salisbury, Maryland, at $10,768. Nursing homes in the southern New Jersey city of Vineland are also more affordable than Delaware with median rates of $10,950 per month. In Virginia Beach, nursing homes charge about $90 less than the U.S. median at $7,665 per month.






Vineland, NJ


Salisbury, MD


Baltimore: MD


Virginia Beach, VA

Skilled nursing is the most expensive form of long-term care in Delaware. With average rates exceeding $12,000, it costs almost twice as much as assisted living, which averages $6,690. Families may also consider in-home care as a possible alternative. Home health agencies provide household assistance and medical care for $4,767 per month based on 44 hours of weekly care. Individuals who are interested in light personal care and structured daily activities may consider adult day health care, which costs just $1,645 per month, a rate that’s similar to the U.S. average of $1,603.


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Nursing Home Care in Delaware?

More than 271,000 Delaware residents are enrolled in the state’s managed long-term care Medicaid program, which is called the Diamond State Health Plan Plus. Over 4,000 seniors live in Delaware nursing homes that accept Medicaid. Delawareans enrolled in DSHP-Plus and residing in a nursing home contracted with Delaware Medicaid are covered for their room, board and skilled nursing care. Some facilities also provide medical equipment, supplies and other services. 

There are 46 nursing homes in Delaware, 42 of which accept Medicaid, accounting for more than 5,000 state-licensed beds. Elderly persons who require skilled nursing care but want to remain at home may be eligible for the Long-Term Care Community Services Program, which provides in-home care. These services can include personal care, case management, medical and social day care, respite care, mental health services, supplemental nutrition, assisted living support and an emergency response system.  

Medicaid Eligibility in Delaware

In order for Delaware seniors to be eligible for the state’s nursing home facility program through Medicaid, they must be medically evaluated and be within certain income limits. A registered nurse from the Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance Pre-Admission Screen unit assesses a potential nursing home admittee for skilled or intermediate care requirements. An interview with a DMMA financial social worker is also required, along with specific items necessary to help determine eligibility. 

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Delaware

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limits

Single Applicant



Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)


$2,000 for applicant, $137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both Persons Applying)



Additional eligibility requirements include:

  • Delaware residency
  • U.S. citizenship or lawful alien status with permanent residency 

How To Apply for Medicaid in Delaware

Delaware seniors and their families can apply for Medicaid long-term care programs online at the Delaware ASSIST website or by calling (866) 940-8963 with application inquiries. Individuals can also apply by contacting Delaware Health and Social Services by phone at (800) 372-2022 or in person at the main office in New Castle. Another option is to seek out the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center for information and assistance through its website, on the phone at (800) 223-9074 or via email at

Seniors and their families should be sure they can meet all eligibility criteria and have the necessary documentation ready for the program before submitting an application. 

Information You Will Need:

  • Birth certificate (or INS alien cards)
  • Photo ID
  • Social Security card
  • Marriage certificate or divorce decree (if married or divorced)
  • Power of attorney or guardianship information
  • Health insurance cards
  • Proof of health insurance premiums
  • Titles to any motor vehicles owned
  • Documents verifying all income and resources
  • Bank, trust and annuity statements

Applicants will need these documents at the eligibility interview. 

Additional Medicaid Support & Resources in Delaware

The following table contains details and information concerning free resources in Delaware that can help families navigate the complicated process of applying for Medicaid assistance.




(800) 223-9074

Delaware's Division of Services for Aging provides support and services to the elderly and disabled population in the state. The Nursing Home Transition Program helps Medicaid-eligible seniors obtain placement in a community-based setting or nursing facility. Seniors are offered individualized case management to help them complete applications and identify eligibility.

(866) 854-7212 is a federal website that provides state-specific information concerning health care and medical assistance. Delaware Medicaid eligibility requirements are listed and can be tested on the website by selecting the appropriate income information to view the income limits. An application for Medicaid can be downloaded, or seniors can call the Customer Relations Unit to ask for more information.

(302) 255-9500

Delaware's Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance provides health care coverage to people who are eligible for long-term care services, especially in nursing home facilities or through community-based services.

Does Medicare Cover Nursing Home Care in Delaware?

Medicare provides limited coverage for short-term stays in a skilled nursing facility following a hospital stay, but seniors must meet a number of specific requirements. This benefit is available to beneficiaries who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge, so it’s most valuable for those who are recovering from an injury, illness or surgery.

Once seniors meet the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days of skilled nursing per benefit period. The first 20 days are covered in full. Starting on day 21, beneficiaries must pay a daily coinsurance rate. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

What Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Isn’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

For more information about Medicare and when it covers Nursing Home Care, read our Guide to Nursing Homes.

Medicare Support & Resources in Delaware

Families navigating ways to pay for nursing home care for their loved ones may look into whether Medicare can cover some of the initial costs. Health insurance through Medicare can assist financially toward a nursing home stay, but only for a short period of time. Information and guidance concerning Medicare coverage for long-term care can be accessed through the following organizations.




(800) 223-9074

The ADRC provides seniors with a wealth of information about the Medicare program by listing trained providers in various Delaware cities who can answer questions, provide counseling and help seniors get the services they need.

(800) 336-9500

The Administration for Community Living funds the DMAB, which provides seniors with education about Medicare programs through volunteers. Help can be provided with billing problems, long-term care insurance information and medical assistance programs.

(302) 674-7300

This consumer advocate agency oversees insurers, including Medicare and Medicare Advantage plan providers. Issues, complaints and concerns can be discussed with the Consumer Services agents.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Nursing Home Care in Delaware

While Medicaid and Medicare are two of the most common programs used to pay for Nursing Home Care, there are other financial assistance options available, depending on your unique situation.

How to Apply

How It Works

Aid and Attendance

Learn more and apply online at

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 skilled nursing care.

Reverse Mortgages

Learn more about your options and how to apply at

If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for nursing 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

Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for skilled nursing 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 skilled nursing care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Delaware

A variety of free and low-cost resources exist in Delaware to help seniors and their families as they navigate the complicated process associated with obtaining long-term residential care in a nursing home. With the assistance of the following community and home-based resources, many of which are nonprofits or government funded, families can find the support necessary to help their loved ones as they transition into long-term care. 




New Castle County: (302) 575-0660

Kent County: (302) 674-8500

Sussex County: (302) 856-0038

Free services from the Elder Law Program of the Community Legal Aid Society are available to Delaware residents aged 60 and older, with no financial eligibility requirements. The staff assists seniors with questions and information concerning Medicaid, Social Security and the rights of nursing home residents. Other types of legal assistance include the preparation of powers of attorney and advanced health care directives and helping the elderly with consumer-related issues, debt collection and housing problems. Seniors can also attend legal education workshops held in their communities that provide information about possible legal issues that can occur as a person ages.

(302) 656-3257

Meals on Wheels Delaware is a nonprofit organization collaborating with meal-delivery programs throughout Delaware to provide hot, nutritious meals to homebound seniors since 1996. About 1,000 volunteers deliver approximately 900,000 meals to more than 6,600 seniors statewide each year. The MOWD also sponsors events to raise funds and awareness of the need to provide meal deliveries to homebound Delaware seniors. 

(800) 223-9074

The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program, operated by the Delaware Health and Social Services Office of the Secretary, advocates for seniors residing in nursing homes or their own homes and receiving community-based services. Volunteers look into and help resolve complaints made by seniors, their families and other concerned persons. Protecting the rights of seniors, improving their care and preserving their dignity and quality of life are the main objectives of this program.

New Castle County via Jewish Family Services of Delaware: (302) 478-9411

Kent County via Modern Maturity Center: (302) 734-1200 #173

Sussex County via CHEER Center (transportation services only): (302) 856-5181

The Delaware Aging Network is an aging-in-place initiative consisting of a consortium of more than 50 agencies throughout the state that helps elderly adults find and receive community resources to improve their quality of life. Resources include information regarding transportation, health care, housing, Medicaid, Medicare and in-home services.

COVID-19 Rules for Nursing Homes in Delaware

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including These rules apply to Independent Living Communities 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?


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


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?


Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?


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


Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Delaware Communities

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


Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?


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


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


COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Delaware Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?


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?


Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?


Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?


Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Nursing Home Laws and Regulations in Delaware

Intermediate and skilled nursing facilities in Delaware are regulated by the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Health Care Quality.
Delaware nursing homes must employ a medical director and full-time director of nursing. Facilities must have sufficient staff to provide 2.25 hours of daily direct care per resident, and an RN or LPN must be on-site during day and evening shifts and on-call at night.
Staff Training
Nursing facilities must provide training related to health, safety, personal protective equipment and infection control procedures. Additionally, all certified nursing assistants must complete at least 150 hours of training, which is double the federal minimum. Facilities that care for individuals with Alzheimer's or similar conditions must provide dementia-specific training to their staff.
Admission Restrictions
Nursing homes may admit residents who have an illness or impairment, are under a physician's care and may benefit from palliative medical care or nursing services. Facilities that admit pediatric residents under the age of 18 are subject to additional requirements.
Care Planning
Facilities must conduct a needs assessment for each resident within 14 days of admission, and comprehensive care plans must be developed within seven days of the assessment to address the residents' physical, nutritional and psychological needs.
Dietary and Nutrition Services
Nursing homes must conduct a comprehensive nutritional assessment for each resident and provide appropriate meals or snacks, including therapeutic or mechanical options if needed. Weekly menus must be posted in the kitchen and dining area, and the facility must maintain adequate pantry supplies and records while meeting standards for food safety and cleanliness.
Specialized Rehabilitative Services
Intermediate and skilled nursing facilities may provide physical, occupational and speech therapy as well as psychosocial services. Rehabilitative care may be administered as needed to aid in residents' recovery and to promote optimal functioning and self-sufficiency.
Medication and Pharmaceutical Services
Facilities must employ a qualified pharmacist consultant who is responsible for reviewing residents' medication records and overseeing pharmaceutical services. Staff members must follow strict standards for dispensing, labeling and recording residents' prescriptions, including any provider-ordered, over-the-counter medications.
Nursing homes must employ a qualified activities director and maintain adequate common areas designed for social and recreational activities.
Infection Control
Health care facilities must employ an infection control coordinator and establish policies and procedures for detecting and preventing the spread of communicable diseases among residents and staff members.
Medicaid Coverage
Medicaid will cover nursing home care if residents meet income and asset limits and use all of their income to pay for care, excluding a nominal personal needs allowance.