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.
33 assisted living facilities in Delaware
Health 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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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:
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 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.
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.
SeniorGuidance.org 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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