Senior Guidance

Assisted Living in Delaware (DE)

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Costs of Assisted Living in Delaware

The costs for Assisted Living Care in Delaware average $5,400 per month for a private room ($64,400 per year) throughout most of the state. In Dover, CT, the average is around $4,700 per month ($17,000 yearly). In both cases, if Alzheimer’s or memory care is required, the cost will go up by about $1000. Nevertheless, it is a much more affordable rate than nursing homes in the Delaware state, which run approximately $118,800 yearly for a private room and $114,900 for a semi-private room. These rates are the second most expensive in the country.

The average cost for Adult Day Health Care in Delaware is $1,500 per month, which averages around $17,030 per year. A Home Health Aide costs, on average $4,481 a month ($147 daily), more than $53,000 annually. The cost of a Home Health Aide is based on a 44-hour-week, whereas Assisted Living provides 24-hour care. Homemaker Services average $4,195 monthly, which comes to approximately $50,300 per year. While they will take care of shopping and meal preparations, they only provide light housekeeping duties so a housekeeper may be a necessary additional expense.

Historical Delaware is set against a spectacular backdrop of verdant state parks, charming beaches and winding waterways, offering seniors who live in Delaware any number of activities to suit practically any lifestyle. And while this small state has only three counties, it boasts numerous historical sites and museums where you can learn of Delaware’s rich history that shaped the development of this country. Aside from all these wonderful attractions, however, there are a multitude of factors to consider about the Diamond State before making it your retirement destination.

Services for a Senior Living in Delaware

Delaware Senior LivingHealth and Social Services oversees the Division of Services for the Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD). They offer a variety of services through their office and provide a link on their website to a comprehensive list of services available through other organizations. The following are provided by DSAAPD:

There are a total of 24 programs for seniors living in Delaware  to keep seniors connected to the community or enrich lifestyle:

Adult Day Services – provides activities and care for an elderly or disabled person who cannot be left by themselves for long periods such as when the primary caretaker is a family member who has to work during the day;
Community Living – provides personal, social, or educational opportunities for the disabled through community resources. Transportation is provided;
Congregate Meals – meals offered every day in a group setting such as a senior center, to offer healthy dietary options and a chance to socialize; and
Senior Community Service Employment Program – helps seniors find paid, part-time employment and receive training if needed.

The following programs are designed to provide a little extra help to elders living at home with or without a caretaker:

Assistive Devices – helps get the equipment a disabled senior would need to promote and maintain their independence;
Attendant Services – an attendant assists the disabled person with various tasks that they cannot perform on their own including personal hygiene, meal preparation, transportation, etc. With this self-directed service, the senior or disabled person acts as the employer of the attendant;
Home Delivered Meals – hot and cold meals delivered to the senior's home;
Home Modification – pays for modifications that allow the seniors to move about their home more freely (such as a wheelchair ramp);
Lifespan Respite – when a caregiver is a family member or spouse, they may receive respite vouchers to pay for care for their loved one while they take a break;
Money Management Program – assistance to low-income seniors and disabled persons who have trouble managing their bills and expenses so they may continue to enjoy their independence;
Personal Care – similar services to Attendant Care but not self-directed;
Respite Care – similar to lifespan respite but can be regularly scheduled, such as once a week.

Senior Medical Assistance and Advocacy:
Adult Protective Services – responds to incidents of abuse, neglect, or exploitation of impaired adults and seniors living independently in the community;
Alzheimer’s Day Treatment – adult day treatment for seniors with Alzheimer’s or related dementia by a specialized staff;
Caregiver Resource Centers – offers assistance, support, and resources for caregivers who take care of seniors;
Case Management – provides help to elders, the disabled, and caretakers in finding the services they need and in maintaining that program;
Senior Medicare Patrol Program – helps with any questions or concerns about Medicare and encourages seniors to stay informed about their benefits;
Legal Services – provides legal help with power of attorney, advance directives, and consumer, housing, and benefits
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program – advocate specifically for seniors who are residents of long-term care facilities and those living in the community that require assistance and aids in resolving complaints lodged by the senior receiving care, or the caregiver;
Nursing Home Transition Program – individualized case management to help nursing home residents who want to relocate to a community living setting;
Nursing Home Care – DSAAPD operates two nursing homes for seniors requiring care and who cannot live on their own;
Options Counseling – Counselors help seniors map out the health care plan best suited to them, explaining their options and assisting with paperwork;
Personal Emergency Response System – provides at-risk seniors a button to wear that will summon emergency services if needed.

Transportation Services for seniors in Delaware:
DART First State Transportation System – door to door bus service for the elderly and disabled.
One typical issue many seniors living in encounter is a lack of available primary care physicians. Delaware has had trouble keeping up with the demand for doctors, and when a new practice opens, it quickly fills up. Seniors who live in Delaware often find themselves traveling out of state to Maryland or New Jersey for health care.
It may also be inconvenient to learn that there are no international flights that depart from . Travelers can take a connecting flight or make a drive across the border to fly out of another state.

Who pays for Assisted Living Care in Delaware?

Delawareans who qualify for Medicaid are covered under the Diamond State Health Plan Plus (DSHP+). It is a Medicare-managed, long-term care plan designed to allow a greater level of self-directed care using more community-based resources. The state of Delaware dissolved its waiver program in 2014 to cross over entirely to DSHP+.

To receive Medicaid as a disabled or elderly person in Delaware, you must meet certain eligibility requirements.

  • Must be at least 65 years of age or under 65 but disabled;
  • Must be a resident of the state of Delaware;
  • Must meet the financial requirements; assets and household income (before taxes) are limited to:
    • Single person – $1,837.50/month;
    • Non-applicant Spouse - $3,022.50/month; and
    • Assets cannot exceed $2000, excluding the applicant’s home and one vehicle; non-applicant spouse may have up to $120,900 in assets
      In some cases, even if the applicants’ assets exceed the limit, they may still be eligible. They can get in contact with a Medicaid counselor through the DSAAPD.

Best Cities for Senior Living in Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware is located in New Castle County. With a population of 71,948, it is the largest city in Delaware. Residents 65 and older make up about 11%, and there are around 3,300 veterans. Wilmington has a significantly higher crime rate than any other city in Delaware with about 1,160 violent crimes per year. However, there are many attractions in the city that make it a popular destination for seniors and retirees, such as:

  • Brandywine Zoo: This small zoo has a lot to offer, from common to exotic and endangered species of all types. This is a great place to take the grandchildren or just enjoy the animals in their specialized habitats;
  • Brandywine Park: Housing the zoo, this park sprawls along either side of the Brandywine River. It is a great place for hiking and biking, and there’s an off-leash area for your canine companion;
  • The Grand Opera House: Visit this historic opera house for a taste of culture and history;
  • Daniel S. Frawley Stadium: Baseball fans will not want to pass up a game at this stadium, which also hosts music venues and other activities throughout the year;
  • Delaware Art Museum: Housing a varied collection of works and workshops, this is a must-see in Wilmington;
  • Delaware Children’s Museum: For seniors with grandchildren, this is a perfect place to keep grandchildren entertained while learning about science, nature, and art;
  • St. Anthony of Padua Church: This Roman Catholic church, which opened in 1924, is not only a place of worship but an architectural wonder as well.

    The warm summers in Wilmington, DE climb into the 80s. Winters tend to drop to the 20s, with the heaviest snowfall in January and February, averaging 8 inches.

Dover, DE, located in Kent County has a population of approximately 36,000. Of this number, about 14% are persons 65 and older, and at last count contained 3,600 veterans. Dover also has a relatively high non-violent crime rate. The statistics show mainly theft and various types of assault with the greatest numbers. Here are the most notable places for seniors to enjoy in Dover, DE:

  • Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village: History buffs will want to make this trip to learn about the agricultural history of Delaware and the Delmarva Peninsula;
  • John Dickinson House: This is another historical attraction for those who want to know more about the First State’s story or just learn about the “Penman of the Revolution;”
  • Air Mobility Command Museum: This is the only military aviation museum in America dedicated to airlift and air refueling;
  • Johnson Victrola Museum: Learn about the Victor Talking Machine Company and Delaware’s own Eldridge Reeves Johnson;
  • Kent County Veterans Memorial Park: This Memorial for Vietnam Veterans and Gold Star Families is located on South Little Creek Road and will be expanding to include memorials for the Korean and Iraq/Afghanistan wars;

    Weather in Dover differs little from Wilmington, occasionally a degree or two warmer. Snowfall levels are comparable.

    Newark, DE in New Castle County has a population of 31,450, 9% of which are 65 and older, and 1,300 veterans. Newark has a relatively high violent crime rate compared to cities in the nation but comes in third highest in the Diamond State. Here are things for seniors to do in Newark, DE:
  • REP Theater at the University of Delaware: For those who enjoy theater, the Resident Ensemble Players at the University perform all the classics and contemporary works;
  • Aunt Margaret’s Antique Mall: This mall offers two floors full of antiques, collectibles, vintage and primitive decor items;
  • New Castle 100 Archers: This club offers group and private lessons to anyone of any experience level so you can join your peers or take up a sport you’ve always wanted to try;
  • Pencader Heritage Museum: Here you can peruse an extensive collection of memorabilia from the Revolutionary War and others;
    Newark's weather is on par with Dover and Wilmington but gets several fewer inches of snow.

Hockessin, DE in New Castle County is populated by 13,500 residents; 18% are seniors 65 and up and almost 900 are veterans. Their crime rate is well below the national average, mostly property theft incidents with violent crime a rarity, so Hockessin is a very safe place to live. Most notable places for seniors in Hockessin are:

  • Ashland Nature Center of Delaware Nature Society: This is a learning experience for all ages. The Nature Society focuses on conservation and agriculture and has many programs to offer for seniors and anyone else who loves nature;
  • Auburn Heights Preserve and Marshall Steam Museum: This park has hiking and biking trails and preserves the Marshall Family estate, as well as some of their mills. It also features the Steam Museum, with its collection of steam powered cars and a miniature steam train;
  • Mt. Cuba Center: Featuring lush and scenic gardens, this center teaches about gardening, botany, and conservation of native plants;
  • Mt. Cuba Astronomical Observatory: This is an exciting and educational place to explore the stars. They have an all-digital planetarium, a library, workshops, lectures, and an 11.5-centimeter refracting telescope;

Temperature highs and lows are typical for the region with a greater amount of rainfall than the national average (46 inches annually). Yearly snowfall is around 11 inches.

Rehoboth Beach, DE of Sussex County has 1,300 residents, 35% of those being 65 years or older, and 139 veterans. The crime rate here seems to be very low with violent crimes almost nonexistent. They mostly see theft and burglary and those numbers are well below the national average. Delaware Seashore State Park located in Rehoboth Beach is one of Delaware’s most popular destinations. There are lots of swim-related activities for seniors, fishing and boating, hiking, biking, and equestrian trails. The beach and parts of the Indian River Marina are wheelchair accessible. Campgrounds are open from the beginning of March to the end of November and offer cabins and yurts for rental.
The climate differs little from the rest of Delaware with a yearly average of 10 inches of snow.

Ocean View, DE in Sussex County is a small town with a total of 1,880 people. People 65 and older make up 46% of the population and 331 of those are veterans. Crime is very low here, and Ocean View is, in fact, one of the safest towns for seniors living in Delaware. Places of interest for seniors living on Ocean View, DE:

  • Bear Trap Dunes Golf Club: If golf is your game, you’ll want to play this beautiful course. Become a member or sign up for a guest package;
  • James Farm Ecological Preserve: Stroll down the beach along Indian River Bay at low tide. Experience seven different habitats along the way, presenting the opportunity to see a myriad of wildlife in the marshes and woods;
  • Oceanova Spa: When you feel like pampering yourself, visit for a massage, facial, skin care or body treatments. Then hit the beach looking and feeling fantastic!
  • Gallery One: For the art lover and anyone who wants to support local artists, drop in and see the creative talent Delaware has to offer;
  • Badfish Charters: Offering fishing trips and coastal cruises, book some time on the water with Captain Griff Kroll. Equipment is provided.

The temperatures in Ocean View are average for Delaware but expect higher humidity. The snowfall is typically less than in other parts of the state, at 9 inches per year.

Lewes, DE (pronounced like Lewis) lies in Sussex County. Its population is 2,747. Seniors who are 65 or older make up 44% of the people living in Lewes, and 562 are veterans. This is another low-crime city as most of the smaller towns tend to be. Places of interest for seniors in Lewes, DE include:

  • Zwaanendael Museum: This museum features the history of Delaware’s first European community as well as Lewes’s maritime and military past;
  • Delaware Breakwater East End Light: This is an attraction steeped in Delawarean history. The ambitious undertaking of building the breakwater was finished in 1869, and the East End Lighthouse was added in 1903. This is a must-see for seniors who are history buffs and lighthouse enthusiasts;
  • United States Lightship Overfalls: This Historic Landmark is one of only 17 lightships remaining of the 179 built between 1820 and 1952 and is one of seven still open to the public;
  • Cannonball House: Built around 1765, this house has seen a great deal of Delawarean history and is a revered landmark in Lewes. A cannonball is still lodged in the side of the house from the bombardment by the British in the War of 1812.
    Summers in Lewes, Delaware see temperatures in the 80s and winters in the 40s with even rainfall throughout the year.
  • Hopkins Farm Creamery—When in Lewes, any senior who is a fan of frozen desserts will want to visit this dairy farm, where they can sample homemade, hand-dipped ice creams. The Hopkins farm has been in operation since 1942. Since 2008, they’ve been sharing information about the dairy industry and products to increase appreciation for Delaware’s important agricultural history;

Weather in Delaware

Delaware is surrounded by bodies of water, bordered to the east by the Atlantic and Delaware Bay. The Chesapeake Bay lies on the west side of the Delmarva Peninsula which Delaware shares with Maryland. It is considered to have a continental climate with winters averaging in the 50s and summers in the high 70s. Their record highs and lows were both set in the southern region—110° F in 1930 and -17° F in 1893, respectively.

Because of this moderate climate disposition, rainfall is very even with each region getting an average of 45 inches per year. Snowfall tends to be most persistent in Wilmington with an annual average of 20 inches. Dover and Georgetown follow with 13 to 15 inches. The lightest precipitation is in Lewes and Newark (7 to 9 inches).

According to the Office of the Delaware State Climatologist, the First State is susceptible to extreme weather during the winter and spring in the form of severe thunderstorms, with nor-easters bringing heavy snowfall and coastal flooding.

Delaware Demographics

Delaware is the 6th most densely populated state in America, with 442 people per square mile. There are no cities with more than 100,000 people, a distinction it shares with only four other states. Delaware contains a population of 897,934 people according to the latest Census Bureau report. Recently, it was reported that the racial composition broke down into 68% White, 21% Black, 3% Asian, 0.5% Native American, 3% Other Races and 2% Mixed Races. This Census also showed that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adults make up about 3% of the population (an estimated 23,698 people). The Census Bureau reports that 17% of the population (or approximately 150,000) are elderly residents who are 65 and older.

The two most common religious affiliations are Methodist at 20% and Baptist at 19%, followed closely by those with no religion making up 17% of the population. Other denominations of significant size are the Roman Catholics (9%), Lutheran (4%), Presbyterian (5%), Pentecostal (3%), Episcopalian/Anglican (2%), Seventh-day Adventist (2%), Churches of Christ (1%), Muslim (2%) Jewish (1%) and Other (5%). There is an Amish community in Dover and a Hindu temple in Hockessin. Residents of Delaware consider themselves 34% moderately religious, 33% very religious, and 33% non-religious.

Though no official language has been designated, 91% of Delawareans speak English, followed by 5% who speak Spanish, 0.7% French, 0.5% Chinese, and 0.5% also for German.
Delaware is known as the Diamond State but more commonly as the First State. Delawareans chose this official nickname since they were the first to ratify the Constitution of the United States on December 7, 1787. Its three counties are New Castle, Kent, and Sussex. The former has historically been the most industrialized region while the other two are primarily agricultural.

Delaware does not have a state tax, though local city taxes average about 0.160%. Estates valued at under $5,450,000 are tax exempt, and property taxes average 0.43% of fair market value which is the 4th lowest in the country. The state also exempts up to $12,500 of investment and qualified pension income for people 60 or over.

For homeowners 65 and older who have owned their home for three or more years consecutively, there’s the Senior School Property Tax Relief which grants a tax credit against regular school property taxes at 50% up to $500. This is for the primary home only, and one credit will be granted per home regardless of the number of eligible residents. The application for the credit must be filed by April 30 of the given year, but the applicant may still be eligible if they turn 65 by June 30 immediately before the beginning of the county fiscal year.

The cost of living in Delaware is 10-16% greater than the national average. Some of the beach communities are even higher, while the rural areas are more affordable; Hockessin represents the highest home costs with a median price of $402,800, and Wilmington averages out at a much lower $120,900, with the average house price for the state as a whole being $213,500. Housing and utilities comprise the greatest expenses of a Delawarean lifestyle, and grocery costs are about 12% higher than the national average. Health care and transportation, however, are only slightly above the median.

Some places to consider for Delaware Assisted Living

There are a number of Assisted Living Communities in Delaware situated near the coast of Delaware Bay or along the Delaware River, though any location is just a short trip from access to beaches and water activities for those so inclined. Many of these facilities, both coastal and further inland, provide transportation for outings, shopping trips, and medical appointments.

  • Brandywine facilities – with multiple locations along the coast, offers multiple levels of care with onsite nurses 24/7 at all locations as well as a wide array of activities to suit various interests
  • State Street Assisted Living in Dover – offers Memory Care and Respite Care, 24/7 personal and medical care assistants, activities for residents including student- and faculty-led courses from Wesley College, fitness classes, and spiritual growth programs
  • Manor House in Seaford – located near the Nanticoke River, offers numerous assisted living amenities including transportation to doctors and physical therapists on site, and is pet friendly
  • Serenity Gardens Assisted Living Facility in Middletown – for recuperative care, offers long term options, a good selection of activities and amenities, and dietary and medical specialists, including dementia care
  • Somerford House and Place in Newark – located near a golf course and medical center, offers long and short term stays, excellent services and amenities with a focus on memory care, and is another pet friendly facility

Common Questions About Assisted Living in Delaware

1. What is assisted living?

Assisted living is a residential option for seniors who require some assistance with daily activities such as bathing, dressing, medication management, and meal preparation. It offers a combination of housing, support services, and personalized care, fostering independence while ensuring safety and well-being.

2. How do I know if assisted living is the right option for my loved one in Delaware?

Assisted living can be a suitable choice if your loved one values their independence but needs assistance with certain activities. Consider their medical needs, social preferences, and desired level of care. Research options in cities like Wilmington, Newark, or Dover and visit facilities to see if they align with your loved one's needs and preferences.

3. What cities in Delaware have reputable assisted living facilities?

Delaware offers a range of assisted living options in cities like Wilmington, known for its cultural attractions and medical facilities; Newark, home to the University of Delaware; and charming Lewes, with its coastal beauty. Research and visit facilities in these cities to find the best fit for your loved one.

4. What services are typically provided in Delaware's assisted living communities?

Assisted living communities in Delaware usually offer assistance with activities of daily living, medication management, housekeeping, and transportation services. They often provide social and recreational activities to promote engagement and well-being among residents. Additionally, some facilities may have specialized memory care programs for residents with Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

5. How much does assisted living cost on average in Delaware?

The cost of assisted living in Delaware varies based on factors such as location, services provided, and the size of the living space. On average, you can expect to pay around $5,000 to $6,000 per month. Keep in mind that costs may be higher in cities like Wilmington and lower in more rural areas of the state. It's important to request detailed pricing information from the facilities you're considering.

6. Are there financial assistance options available for assisted living in Delaware?

Yes, Delaware offers financial assistance programs to help seniors cover the costs of assisted living. The Delaware Medicaid program provides support for eligible individuals, and the Assisted Living Waiver may help cover some expenses. Additionally, veterans and their spouses may qualify for benefits through the VA Aid and Attendance program. It's advisable to consult with financial advisors to explore all available options.

7. How can I evaluate the quality of assisted living facilities in Delaware?

When assessing the quality of assisted living facilities in Delaware, consider factors such as licensing, staff-to-resident ratio, cleanliness, safety measures, and resident reviews. Check if the facility is regulated by Delaware's Division of Health Care Quality and review inspection reports. Visit potential facilities in person to observe the environment, interact with staff, and get a sense of the overall atmosphere before making a decision.

8. Can residents personalize their living spaces in Delaware's assisted living communities?

Yes, many assisted living communities in Delaware allow residents to personalize their living spaces. While there may be some guidelines to ensure safety and aesthetics, residents are often encouraged to bring their own furniture, decorations, and personal belongings to create a homely and comfortable atmosphere. This helps residents feel more at ease and promotes a sense of ownership over their living space.

9. Are there age restrictions for assisted living communities in Delaware?

Assisted living communities in Delaware typically cater to seniors aged 55 and older. However, age restrictions may vary slightly between facilities. It's recommended to inquire about the specific age requirements of the assisted living communities you're interested in. Some communities may offer specialized programs or services for seniors with specific needs or preferences.

10. Can residents continue to see their doctors in Delaware's assisted living communities?

Yes, residents of assisted living communities in Delaware can usually continue seeing their own doctors. They can maintain existing relationships with healthcare providers, including primary care physicians and specialists. The facility may also offer transportation assistance for medical appointments. Additionally, some facilities have partnerships with nearby medical centers, making it convenient for residents to access healthcare services.

11. What types of social activities are available for residents in Delaware's assisted living communities?

Assisted living communities in Delaware offer a variety of social activities to keep residents engaged and active. These may include exercise classes, art and crafts, gardening, group outings to local attractions like Hagley Museum in Wilmington or the Delaware Art Museum, music and cultural events, and even pet therapy sessions. The goal is to provide a stimulating and enjoyable environment that enhances residents' quality of life.

12. How do I start the process of moving my loved one into an assisted living community in Delaware?

To begin the process of moving your loved one into an assisted living community in Delaware, follow these steps:
1. Research facilities: Explore options online and narrow down choices based on your loved one's preferences and needs.
2. Schedule visits: Arrange tours of the facilities you're interested in to assess their environment and services.
3. Assessment: Facility staff will evaluate your loved one's needs and create a personalized care plan.
4. Transition planning: Work with the chosen facility to coordinate the move, including packing, transportation, and paperwork.
5. Transition support: Offer emotional support to your loved one during the transition, and help them settle into their new home.
By taking these steps, you can ensure a smooth and positive transition for your loved one into their new living arrangement.

13. Can assisted living facilities accommodate residents with specific dietary preferences or restrictions in Delaware?

Yes, many assisted living facilities in Delaware are equipped to accommodate residents with specific dietary preferences or restrictions. Whether your loved one follows a vegetarian, gluten-free, or low-sodium diet, the facility's culinary team can often create meals tailored to their needs. It's advisable to discuss dietary requirements during the assessment process so that the facility can provide appropriate options that align with your loved one's preferences and health goals.

14. What is the role of Delaware's Division of Health Care Quality in overseeing assisted living communities?

Delaware's Division of Health Care Quality plays a crucial role in overseeing assisted living communities. This division is responsible for licensing and regulating these communities to ensure they meet specific standards of care, safety, and quality of life for residents. The division conducts regular inspections, monitors compliance with regulations, and addresses any concerns or complaints. Families can access inspection reports and learn more about assisted living regulations through the Delaware Health and Social Services website.

15. How does Delaware regulate assisted living communities?

Delaware's Division of Health Care Quality oversees and licenses assisted living communities, ensuring they meet established regulations for safety, care, and quality of life. Regular inspections and monitoring help maintain standards. You can access facility inspection reports and learn more about regulations on the Delaware Health and Social Services website.

Cities and Counties With Assisted Living Facilities in Delaware

Don't see your city/town/village on the list? Please use our search bar at the top of the page to search through 77 senior living options from 18 cities, towns and villages in Delaware. Simply enter your city name or zip code. provides comprehensive resources on various senior living options, including: assisted living facilities, senior living communities, nursing homes, independent living communities, continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) and all other long term senior care options, including memory care such as Alzheimer's or Dementia.

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