I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Wilmington, DE

Located along the Delaware and Christina Rivers and near I-95 and I-495, Wilmington, Delaware, is a city known for its history. It’s the largest in the state of Delaware, providing many excellent amenities to its senior residents. It’s also home to nearly 71,000 residents, and just under 13% of those are age 65 and older.

If you’re one of those seniors, there are many benefits to retiring in your own home. For example, seniors in this city can take advantage of a property tax break on their homes and enjoy access to the ChristianaCare Wilmington Hospital, located right within the city, and the Wilmington VA Medical Center, which provides quality care to the city’s veteran population. Wilmington is also close to Philadelphia, putting the amenities of a larger city close at hand.  Surrounding the city proper, Wilmington is part of the Brandywine Valley, which is full of beautiful estate homes with huge gardens and lush trees. These features, combined with Wilmington’s low cost of living, make it an appealing place to call home during retirement.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Wilmington, DE

Seniors in Wilmington who are living at home may need additional help to stay independent in their homes. Home care services help with things like homemaking, laundry and basic personal care needs. Home health care services add medical care, like wound dressing and some physical or occupational therapy services. In Wilmington, the average monthly cost for both types of home care is $4,767. This average is based on 44 hours of care per week. That comes to about $25 an hour, according to data from the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

The average cost for home care in Wilmington is $4,767 a month for both home care and home health care. That’s fairly close to average compared to other cities nearby. In Dover, for example, the cost is also $4,767 for both types of care. Across the border in Pennsylvania, Gettysburg seniors pay $4,481 a month, on average, for home care and home health care. If you reside in Reading, the average cost for home care is $4,481, while home health care costs about $100 more.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Compared to other senior care options, home care and home health care can be affordable options for senior care. Both types of home care average $4,767 a month in Wilmington. Adult day care is more affordable, averaging $1,842 a month. Nursing home costs are the highest with an average of $11,285. If you choose assisted living, it’s slightly more than home care at $5,550 a month.

Note: Data for Wilmington was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Philadelphia, PA, was used instead.

III. How to Find Home Care in Wilmington, DE

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Wilmington, DE.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

Remember that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong choice – it comes down to choosing a provider that you feel comfortable with and who’s capable of meeting your specific needs. No matter which provider you choose, you should always have a formal arrangement with your expectations and the payment rate in writing. Doing so will prevent confusion or potential disagreements down the line so that the focus remains on helping the person receiving care.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Wilmington, DE

City Fare Meals on Wheels Program

Low-income homebound seniors can receive hot meals delivered to their homes through City Fare, the New Castle County Meals on Wheels Program. Through City Fare, seniors can receive hot meals Monday through Friday every week. Along with the meal delivery, volunteers provide a checkup on the senior’s health. This helps eliminate loneliness, but it also ensures that there’s someone to talk to should you need additional help or support.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for City Fare if you’re a homebound senior who has trouble making meals on your own due to your disability or overall frailty. You may also qualify for temporary meal delivery if you’re having trouble taking care of this need temporarily while recovering from an illness or surgery. Caregivers may be able to apply on behalf of a senior needing this service.

How to Get Started

To sign up for meal delivery, contact City Fare Meals on Wheels by calling (302) 293-0008. The program is based out of 1703 West 10th Street, Wilmington, DE 19805.

Delaware Energy Assistance Program (DEAP)

The Delaware Energy Assistance Program provides funds for low-income seniors who are struggling to pay their energy bills. Many seniors qualify for this program because they are living on limited incomes. If you qualify for DEAP, you can get help both in the summer and winter to keep your home comfortable. In the summer, the Summer Cooling Assistance Program provides help to pay utility costs to keep your home cool, while the Fuel Assistance program helps with winter heating costs. If you find yourself in a financial crisis during the winter, you may also qualify for Crisis Assistance, which is additional heating assistance. DEAP is managed through Catholic Charities.

Who Is Eligible?

You may qualify for DEAP if your income is 200% of the federal poverty level. Many seniors fit within this demographic.

How to Get Started

To contact the New Castle County DEAP program, call the local Catholic Charities at (302) 654-9295 or write to the program manager at 1901 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720.

Delaware Home Modification Program

The Home Modification Program helps disabled individuals get the funds to pay for accessible changes in their homes, such as the addition of a wheelchair ramp. If you’re a senior who has a disability, you may qualify for money to pay for these important changes in your home. This program is part of the Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities and the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center. With home modifications, you may be able to stay healthy and independent at home.

Who Is Eligible?

Any individual who is 18 years old or older and lives in Delaware with a long-term or permanent physical disability may qualify. However, this program is only offered when no other funding source is available to pay for the modifications.

How to Get Started

To apply for the Home Modification Program, contact the DSAAPD office in New Castle at 1901 North DuPont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720. You can also call (800) 223-9074.

Senior School Property Tax Relief

If you’re a Delaware senior, you may be able to get a reduction of your school property taxes on your home. The reduction is 50% or up to $400, depending on the total amount of your bill. Once you’re approved for the program, your property tax bill will have an automatic reduction applied before the county sends it to you.

Who Is Eligible?

You may be eligible for the Senior School Property Tax Relief if you’re age 65 and older, own a home and have lived within the state for at least 10 consecutive years. You also must have your property tax bill from the previous year paid in full before applying.

How to Get Started

To apply for the Senior School Property Tax Relief, fill out the application and send it with a copy of your driver’s license to New Castle County Assessment Department, 87 Read’s Way, New Castle, DE 19720. You can also call (302) 323-2600.

Respite Care

Through Respite Care, caregivers who are taking care of an older adult living at home can get someone else to come to the home and stay with their family member while they take care of their own needs. Through the Respite Care program, seniors and their families can get help on a scheduled basis or an as-needed basis, depending on what the caregiver needs. Respite Care takes place in your home.

Who Is Eligible?

The care recipient needs to be a Delaware resident age 60 or older or age 18 and older with a physical disability. Anyone with dementia, regardless of age, can qualify for the program.

How to Get Started

To apply for Respite Care services, contact the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center at (800) 223-9074 or via email at [email protected].