Page Reviewed / Updated - Mar. 2016
The acronym, "CARE" in the CARE Delaware Program name stands for Caregiver Assistance, Respite and Education and that sums up well the benefits of this program. CARE is a relatively unique program in that its services are about supporting the individuals who support persons in need of care.
While this program does not provide direct financial assistance, respite care is offered free of charge and can be scheduled on a weekly basis. Therefore, indirectly this program can help offset the cost of care. If a 2-hour block of time were provided weekly, this program would effectively reduce the need for home care services and save program participants thousands of dollars per year.
CARE Delaware Respite Care Services are under the administration of the Health and Social Services' Division, Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities. Funding is from a combination of sources including states funds, the Older Americans Act, and federal Social Services Block Grants. This program is available statewide.
There are two layers of eligibility criteria for services from the CARE Delaware Program; those that apply to the persons in need of care and those that apply to their caregivers.
Persons requiring care must be Delaware residents and at least 60 years of age, although exceptions can be made for persons with early onset dementias such as Alzheimer's. In addition, those with a physical disability need only be 18 years of age. Care receivers must live at home (as opposed to living in residential care facilities) and have a primary caregiver. Monthly income is a consideration. As the program has limited funds, priority is given to those with lower incomes. The actual limits may vary from area to area and year to year. However, it is safe to assume that anyone with income less than 200% of the federal poverty level should be eligible. As of 2016, this amount is $23,760 / year for an individual or $32,040 / year for a married couple.
Caregiver requirements state the individual seeking respite care for the care receiver must be the primary caregiver and is not being compensated for their caregiving efforts. They need not be related to the person needing care nor it is necessary that they live with them or even in the state of Delaware. However, the majority of program participants are both relatives and Delaware residents.
In addition to caregiver skills training and information, support groups, and referrals, respite care is perhaps the most valued of the services provided under CARE Delaware. Respite care can be provided in the individual's home, in the home of the caregiver, or in an adult day care environment. It can be scheduled periodically or on a one-time basis. There are no charges for services provided in this program.
To apply, one should contact the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at 1-800-223-9074. One can learn more about this program here.