North Carolina Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty)

Program Description

Project Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty, also known as CARE, is an assistance program that helps families in which a member is suffering from Alzheimer's disease or another related dementia. This program sends trained consultants to the family's home to assess the needs of the care recipient and their primary caregiver(s). Closely associated with Project CARE is Project REACH (Resources for Enhancing Alzheimer's Caregiver Health), which provides an advanced level of counseling for high-risk families.

 Caregiver Tip - Approximately 20% of Alzheimer's patients experience a phenomenon called Sundowning.  This is a state of heightened confusion that occurs around dusk.  Closing curtains and turning on lights towards late afternoon can help to minimize the effect. 


Eligibility Guidelines

To qualify for Project CARE assistance, a family must have a written diagnosis of Alzheimer's, dementia or other related memory loss condition. The program does not have strict financial asset limits or monthly income limits.  However, priority is given to those individuals deemed to have low incomes or live in very rural areas. There are no age requirements.

It is important to note that certain conditions exist to prevent overlap with NC's Medicaid CAP/DA Waiver, which offers similar assistance.  Families that receive assistance under this waiver are not eligible to also receive assistance for similar services under Project CARE.  However, should a family be awaiting services under CAP/DA, then they are permitted assistance through Project CARE in the meantime.


Benefits and Services

Project CARE provides caregiver training, counseling, and education, as well as need assessments and home safety inspections for families caring for a loved one with dementia. Respite care vouchers, which can be for in-home care or out-of-home care, such as adult day care, are also available, but are very limited. CARE Counselors can also facilitate connecting caregivers to other social services, such as Area Agencies on Aging, and community support networks specific to caring for a family member with dementia. 


How to Apply / Learn More

Project CARE is managed by the NC Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS). Previously Project CARE was limited to 36 counties. However, it is now available in all 100 counties statewide.

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services maintains six regional Project CARE offices around the state. To learn more or apply, contact the individuals listed here.