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The Delaware Assistance for Caregivers Program, previously known as the Caregiver Assistance, Respite and Education (CARE) program, is a relatively unique program in that its services are about supporting the individuals who support persons in need of care. One might also hear this program referred to as the Caregiver Information and Support program.
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.
The Assistance for Caregivers Program is under the administration of the Health and Social Services' Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD). Funding is from a combination of sources including state 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 Assistance for Caregivers Program; those that apply to the persons in need of care and those that apply to their caregivers.
Care Recipient Requirements
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, although there is no actual income limit that one must meet in order to be eligible to receive services. As the program has limited funds, priority is given to those with lower incomes.
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 is it 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 Delaware’s Assistance for Caregivers Program. Respite care can be provided in the individual's home, in the home of the caregiver, or in an adult day care environment, sometimes referred to as Alzheimer’s Day Treatment. It can be scheduled periodically, on a one-time basis, or regularly. There are no charges for services provided in this program. However, one might be asked to make a contribution towards the cost of care.
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.