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Guide to Independent Living in Delaware

The East Coast state of Delaware is comprised of three distinct regions, letting older adults retire to the community that fits their lifestyle. Of the state’s 990,000 residents, nearly a fifth are aged 65 and over. Retirees flock to the state for its comfortable seasonal weather, access to public transportation and beautiful beaches. While the state’s overall cost of living is high compared to the rest of the nation, retiree-friendly tax laws may help older adults maximize their income. 

Seniors who want a low-maintenance lifestyle but don’t require personal care services or medical monitoring may be good candidates for independent living. These communities support residents’ quality of life by providing services such as daily meals, transportation and yard care, ensuring plenty of time for pursuing hobbies and interests. While this senior care option is relatively expensive in Delaware compared to the rest of the nation, coming in at $3,897, older adults have access to a range of services and benefits to help them identify ways to cover costs. This guide provides more information on independent living costs in Delaware, along with information on options for paying for services and free and low-cost resources for older adults. 

How Much Does Independent Living Cost in Delaware?

Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

In Delaware, Independent Living rates are relatively costly at $3,897, which is nearly $1,000 higher than the national average of $2,925. However, rates are consistent with prices in surrounding states. In New Jersey, service costs are considerably higher at $4,222. In Virginia, rates are a few hundred dollars less than in Delaware at $3,413, and in Maryland, residents pay $3,185. Pennsylvania is one of the cheapest places in the nation for care, with rates coming in at $2,665. 




The United States


New Jersey







The Cost of Independent Living in Delaware’s Top Cities 

Because of Delaware’s small size, survey data is only available for one city, Dover. Here, older adults pay $3,947 per month for independent living, which is higher than the national median but affordable compared to rates outside this city. In the New Jersey city of Trenton, care costs are quite a bit higher at $5,294, and in Harrisonburg, Virginia, seniors pay $3,712. Rates in Baltimore, Maryland, are closer to the national median at $3,088, and in Scranton, Pennsylvania, service costs are among the cheapest in the nation at $1,869.  




Trenton, NJ


Scranton, PA


Baltimore, MD


Harrisonburg, VA

The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care 

Independent living services in Delaware average $3,897 per month. The only cheaper senior care type is adult day health care, which comes in at $1,661. Older adults seeking care in their own homes pay $5,339 for basic homemaker services and for specialized home health aide services. Assisted living provides these care services in a residential setting for $5,995 monthly, and those who need around-the-clock medical monitoring pay $12,273 for shared nursing home rooms.  


Independent Living


Adult Day Health Care


Homemaker Services


Home Health Aide


Assisted Living Facility


Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)

Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in Delaware?

The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in Delaware to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in Delaware.

For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.

How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in Delaware

Seniors in Delaware have an array of options for paying for independent living, even if their retirement income isn’t enough to cover services. In some cases, seniors can use their life insurance to pay for services by selling their policy to a third party for cash or accessing their death benefit. Those who have access to a lump sum of cash can purchase an annuity to convert it to monthly payments to supplement retirement income, and those who own their own homes may consider taking out a reverse mortgage loan. Long-term care insurance policies don’t provide full coverage for independent living, but policies may have coverage for specific services such as meals and housekeeping, bringing down the total monthly bill.

Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in Delaware

Delaware has a variety of statewide resources for older adults to help them make informed decisions regarding their long-term care options. The following table features information and referral specialists, options counselors and financial and legal advisors who specialize in age-related issues. 

Resource Contact Description 
Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center (800) 223-9074 The Delaware ADRC provides information and referrals to help older adults connect with free and low-cost services in their communities, such as social and recreational activities, volunteer-based transportation and wellness screenings. To get help, individuals can call the toll-free number or access the user-friendly online Delaware ADRC Service Search. 
Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau (800) 336-9500 The Delaware Medicare Assistance Bureau provides free Medicare counseling for beneficiaries, helping them make informed decisions regarding their coverage. It’s staffed with trained volunteers who answer questions about Medicare’s benefits and private Medicare options as well as help seniors understand how to protect themselves from Medicare fraud and waste.  
Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc. (800) 292-7980  The Delaware Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., provides free civil legal aid and advice for those aged 60 and over. Seniors can contact this agency for one-on-one help with public benefits screening and applications. Legal advisors can also assist with age-related issues such as advance directives and estate planning.  
Delaware 211 (800) 560-3372 Delaware 211 is a free information and referral service available to all state residents. Individuals can call this service to speak with a trained advisor who listens to their needs and concerns and helps them connect with resources in the community. This may include prescription drug programs, transportation services and recreational programs.  
AARP Delaware (888) 687-2277 AARP Delaware provides news, advocacy and information for those aged 50 and over. Seniors can become members and gain access to benefits such as travel and recreational discounts, educational classes and income tax preparation.  
Delaware Office of Veterans Services (302) 739-2792 The Delaware Office of Veterans Services helps older veterans obtain state and federal benefits, including those that may help cover medical and independent living services such as pension benefits, TRICARE and health care. 
Retired and Senior Volunteer Program  (800) 942-2677 RSVP is a national program that provides volunteer opportunities for older adults. Through this program, seniors can serve their communities by participating in activities such as distributing food in food banks or providing friendly phone calls to housebound individuals. In exchange, seniors may have access to benefits such as supplemental insurance and fuel reimbursement.  

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Delaware Independent Living Communities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.

This data has been most recently updated on 2/3/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Yes
Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?No
Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?Yes
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives? Yes
Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Yes
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?No (Conditions Apply)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Safety Measures for Residents

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?Yes
Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?No
Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?Yes
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Yes (Conditions Apply)
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