Focus Groups Helping Delaware Develop Approaches to Caregiver Services

States are scrambling to find ways to provide long-term health care services to care recipients and their families. The long-term care problem is increasing as the nation ages, and Delaware is no different.

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Focus Groups Helping Delaware Develop Approaches to Caregiver Services
4 Min Read January 4th, 2023

The State of Delaware, like every other state, has been dealing with the increased number of people needing long-term health care services. Providing assistance to care recipients and caregivers has been a priority.

Delaware's Division of Services for Aging and Adults with Physical Disabilities (DSAAPD) is using the findings from caregiver focus groups to help develop new approaches to caregiver services within the state.

The state has instituted the Delaware Action Network for Caregivers. This group will be a forum where caregivers can learn and collaborate with agencies supporting caregivers. 

DSAAPD Director Melissa Smith says that family caregivers play a significant role in supporting individuals who need care for various reasons.

Many older adults prefer to remain in their homes for as long as possible, and families often prefer to care for their children and other family members at home. However, caregiving can have major impacts on caregivers' health and well-being. Providing supports to these individuals and helping them access the resources they need is critically important. 

Cost of Care in Delaware

Long-term health care costs are rising rapidly in Delaware. These costs vary depending on where you live within the state and the types of services you require - LTC NEWS Delaware Long-Term Care Cost of Care Calculator.

Delaware participates in the Long-Term Care Insurance Partnership Program. It provides owners of qualified LTC Insurance policies dollar-for-dollar asset protection from future extended health care costs. Tax incentives are also available for individuals or business owners who purchase qualified policies.

However, not everyone has a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or has assets to protect. Many people must rely on the state to help with long-term health care.

Four main themes emerged from the eight focus group sessions within Delaware:

  • Family caregiver characteristics and experiences

According to the AARP report, Caregiving in the United States 2020, 

caregivers span generations, race and ethnicity, income, and family composition, to name a few identifiers.

This observation is supported by the characteristics of the caregivers who participated in the local focus groups. However, the information shared by caregivers during focus groups revealed that there is no such thing as a "typical" caregiver or "typical" caregiver experience. Needs and expectations change and can be volatile.

  • Lack of awareness of services and difficulty locating useful information

According to focus group participants, one of the most common barriers to accessing support services is a need for complete information about what services may be available.

Furthermore, participants in focus groups expressed dissatisfaction with the amount of time and effort required to navigate systems and find support services.

  • Concerns about the reliability and quality of services

Participants in the focus groups discussed the difficulties in arranging for services. Many factors contribute to this, including: 

  • scarcity of paid staff

  • high cost of care

  • concerns about whether caregivers can trust the information or abilities of paid staff

  • care recipients' reluctance to have strangers care for them.

  • Financial impact of caregiving

Families are being asked to make difficult financial decisions and how to manage necessary care. Participants discussed the high cost of medical care and the difficulties associated with navigating insurance coverage. Furthermore, balancing paid work with caregiving responsibilities can be difficult.

Delaware Long-Term Care Medicaid Program

Medicaid will pay for long-term care services if someone has limited income and assets. Medicare, and traditional health insurance, will only pay a limited number of days of skilled long-term care and nothing toward "custodial care," which is what most will need as they experience declining health and aging.

Long-Term Care Insurance will pay for all types of levels of long-term health care, but policies cannot be purchased when someone "needs" care. LTC Insurance has medical underwriting and is usually purchased before someone retires.

A person wishing to apply for the Nursing Facility program must be a Delaware resident willing to enter a nursing facility and accept Medicaid coverage. Contact the Medical Eligibility Unit for New Castle County or the Medical Eligibility Unit for Kent and Sussex Counties to apply for this program.

The medical criteria for this program are as follows: the applicant must require a skilled or intermediate level of care as defined by Delaware Medicaid criteria. In other words, the individual must require the level of care provided by a nursing facility. The individual must have limited income and assets as required by law. 

You can learn more here - DHSS - DMMA - Long Term Care Medicaid Programs - Delaware Health and Social Services - State of Delaware.

Long-Term Care Insurance Can Help Reduce Family Stress

Many people are unaware of Long-Term Care Insurance or the partnership program. LTC Insurance provides guaranteed tax-free benefits that can be used to pay for the policyholder's choice of quality care options, including in-home care.

Most policies also include case management to help the family access care options and develop a care plan.

Most people who purchase LTC Insurance do so in their 50s as part of their retirement plan. Each insurance company has its specific underwriting criteria, and premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies. Experts recommend seeking the help of an experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist who will help you navigate the many options. A specialist will match your age and health to provide accurate quotes from all the top insurance companies that offer these solutions.

LTC Insurance provides more than money to pay for quality long-term health care. Your loved ones will have the help to ensure you get the care you need, and they will have time to be family instead of a caregiver.

As Delaware and America age, the number of people needing long-term health care services will increase. Being prepared gives the policyholder control. Ignoring the problem will create consequences impacting your family and finances.

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

Long-term health-care costs are rapidly rising. Medical science has enabled us to live longer lives, but this has increased the need for assistance with daily living activities or supervision due to dementia.

Medicare and health insurance pays little or nothing to the cost of long-term care. The financial consequences may change your way of life and legacy. It's critical to think about how the costs and burdens of aging will affect your family.

Family caregivers are ill-equipped and unprepared for the job of caring for you in the future. You probably don't want to burden your adult children and their families with the responsibility of being a caregiver for you in the future. Being a caregiver means dealing with very personal issues like using the toilet and bathing. Long-Term Care Insurance is a cost-effective option for many families.

Professional care, whether at home or in a long-term care facility, is costly. As a result, being prepared is essential for any retirement plan. Most people obtain coverage in their 50s to benefit from lower costs and more options.

Locate a Reliable and Experienced LTC Expert

Make sure to get the proper kind of professional assistance. A knowledgeable Long-Term Care Insurance specialist can assist you in navigating the many options from all the top insurance companies. Premiums vary over 100% between insurance companies, and each company has its own underwriting rules. 

A general insurance agent or financial advisor lacks this expertise.

Seek help from a qualified Long-Term Care Insurance specialist and get accurate quotes and professional recommendations from all the top companies - Find a Long-Tern Care Specialist.

Have Questions About Long-Term Care Planning?

You probably have questions about long-term health care planning, and LTC NEWS provides the answers for many of the most asked questions here - Frequently Asked Questions. Find all the tools and resources that are available on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning.

The cost of long-term health care is exploding. This calculator is an outstanding tool whether you are helping someone find care today or you are planning for yourself for the decades ahead.

Find the current and future cost of long-term health care where you live - LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator.

Loved Ones Need Help Now?

Get help finding quality caregivers or long-term care facilities and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy. - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim.

If your loved one is lucky enough to own a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, be sure they use it. Sometimes families wait, thinking they can save the benefits for a rainy day. Waiting on using available Long-Term Care Insurance benefits is not a wise idea. 

If your parent or parents need help, be sure to get them quality care. LTC NEWS can help. We have put together several comprehensive guides to help you in your process.

Start by reading our four guides -  

The Benefits of Today's Reverse Mortgages

Some people have a large portion of their savings in their homes. With the help of reverse mortgages, you can find ways to pay for quality in-home care, pay for LTC Insurance, and even assist with cash flow during retirement.

Yes, today's reverse mortgages may be the perfect way to pay for a Long-Term Care Insurance policy or even cover the cost of in-home care if you or a loved one is currently in need.

Asking an expert with your questions will help you learn more. Mike Banner, a columnist for LTC NEWS and the host of the television program "62 Who Knew," will respond to your inquiries about long-term care, reverse mortgages, aging, and health.

- Just "Ask Mike." - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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