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

Named on the nation’s 100 best places to live by Livability, Wilmington is an excellent choice if you’re interested in aging in place. This well-connected community is home to over 20,000 seniors, and it stands out for its warm, sunny climate, which gives you more than 215 days of sunshine for exploring the area’s beautiful beaches, boardwalks and natural areas.

The historic downtown is booming with businesses offering food, drink, entertainment and ample opportunities for residents of all ages to enjoy their free time. All of this Southern charm comes at a surprisingly competitive price. The cost of living is just below the national average, and in-home care is more affordable than the U.S. median.

As a Wilmington resident, you benefit from a robust service network that includes hospitals, home health care agencies and community organizations offering Meals on Wheels, transportation, friendly visits and help with home modifications. All of these amenities help create a livable community that accommodates seniors with varying needs.

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

Home care in Wilmington is more affordable than the national average yet slightly more expensive than other parts of the Tar Heel State. According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, home care agencies typically charge $3,909 per month for nonmedical services and up to $4,185 for home health care. These figures are based on 44 hours of weekly care, and you can expect to pay $20.50 to $21.95 per hour depending on the type of care you require.

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

If you live in Wilmington, you’ll pay slightly more for in-home care than seniors in other North Carolina cities. Wilmington residents typically pay $3,909 for home care and $4,185 for home health care. Average rates are within $100-$200 of the respective state averages of $3,813 and $4,004. In Jacksonville, seniors pay $4,099 per month, and Fayetteville is comparatively affordable with an average rate of $3,623. Wilmington’s rates are similar to the $4,004 average that seniors pay in New Bern for both types of care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

As a senior in Wilmington, you have a number of long-term care options depending on your needs and budget. Adult day health care is the most affordable choice with an average cost of $1,408 per month. Home care and home health care are next with median costs of $3,909-$4,185 per month. Assisted living costs $5,877 on average, while nursing homes charge $7,178, which is about $3,000-$3,200 more than what you’d pay for in-home care services.

III. How to Find Home Care in Wilmington, NC

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, NC.

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, NC

Cape Fear Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
The Cape Fear Council of Government is one of North Carolina’s 16 Area Agencies on Aging. It serves seniors in Wilmington and four coastal counties by advocating for older adults, assessing the community’s age-related needs, distributing information and managing government funds. It offers supports for caregivers, ombudsman services for residents in need of long-term care and information about local resources in New Hanover County and the surrounding areas. This one-stop-shop can direct you to local service providers as well as virtual programs that promote healthy aging.

Who Is Eligible?
Area Agencies on Aging serve disabled adults, informal caregivers and all seniors over age 60. However, you can contact the organization for general information regardless of your age.

How to Get Started
To learn more, contact the Cape Fear Council of Governments at (910) 274-0339.

New Hanover County Senior Resource Center

What You Should Know
The New Hanover County Senior Resource Center offers a diverse array of activities and recreational programs for the area’s older residents, including bingo, seated fitness classes and educational events. It offers several grant-funded programs, such as meal deliveries and transportation, for seniors who are at least 60 years old. Dine-in and carryout nutrition programs are available at several locations in the Wilmington area. It also provides medical transportation and coordinates monthly shopping trips in partnership with WAVE Transit and other local partners. The SRC’s South College Road location has been recognized as a Senior Center of Excellence.

Who Is Eligible?
The Senior Resource Center serves New Hanover County residents aged 55 and older. You may also qualify for free services, such as Medicare insurance counseling and tax preparation assistance, if you’re aged 60 or older.

How to Get Started
To learn more about recreational programs or ongoing services, call the Senior Resource Center at (910) 798-6400. For information about transportation assistance, dial (910) 798-6401.

Weekend Meals on Wheels of Wilmington

What You Should Know
Weekend Meals on Wheels is a faith-based organization that delivers meals to seniors in New Hanover County on weekends, holidays and other days when most nutritional programs don’t operate. The organization has been serving the Wilmington area since 1991 and even provides meals during storms, natural disasters and other emergencies. Weekend Meals on Wheels delivers more than 8,000 meals annually. Additionally, trained volunteers provide friendly wellness checks to seniors who are at risk for loneliness and isolation.

Who Is Eligible?
Weekend Meals on Wheels focuses on serving seniors who are homebound and aged 60 or older. Meals are available to adults who are disabled, ill, aged or frail and unable to purchase or prepare their own food.

How to Get Started
To learn more or to sign up for meal deliveries, seniors can call (910) 612-0676. You may also email the program coordinator at [email protected].

New Hanover County Tax Relief And Deferment

What You Should Know
The New Hanover County Tax Department offers several tax relief programs for homeowners. Seniors and disabled adults may qualify for the county’s Elderly or Disabled Exclusion. This program waives property taxes on the first $25,000 or 50% of the assessed value of your primary home and up to one acre of land. Homeowners who earn up to $31,500 annually qualify. Senior homeowners who earn up to $47,250 per year may qualify for the Homestead Circuit Breaker Tax Deferment program that limits their property taxes to 4% or 5% of their total income.

Who Is Eligible?
Tax exclusions are available to homeowners who are totally and permanently disabled or over age 65 and meet the program’s income requirements. Applications must be filed annually since your income may change. For the tax deferment program, you must have owned and occupied your home for at least five consecutive years.

How to Get Started
You can learn more about these programs online, by calling (910) 798-7300 or by contacting a qualified tax professional.

Wilmington Area Rebuilding Ministry Inc.

What You Should Know
WARM is a faith-based, volunteer-driven organization that performs home repairs for low-income families in New Hanover County and the surrounding areas. Since 1996, it has helped more than 700 families with an emphasis on serving seniors, veterans and disabled adults. Volunteers assist with all types of safety-related repairs, including roofing, plumbing, electrical, accessibility modifications, weatherization and appliance replacement. Services are subject to funding availability and volunteer scheduling. If you live within the city limits, you may qualify for forgivable loans and other forms of financing through home repair and rehabilitation programs sponsored by the Wilmington Department of Community Development & Housing.

Who Is Eligible?
You may qualify for home repairs through WARM if you own your own home in Wilmington or New Hanover County and meet the organization’s income guidelines.

How to Get Started
Seniors can call (910) 399-7563 to reach WARM. Additional information about the program and its application process is available online.