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Project C.A.R.E.
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Project C.A.R.E.

project c.a.r.e.

"Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty"

In Mecklenburg County Project C.A.R.E. is coordinated through-the Department of Social Services.  Call 704-432-1111 for more information.

Project C.A.R.E. Fact Sheet

Project C.A.R.E: "Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty" uses a family consultant model to provide consumer-directed respite care and comprehensive support to caregivers. The goal of the program is to increase quality, access, choice, and use of respite and support services to low-income rural and minority families caring for a person with dementia at home. Through the integration of dementia-capable services and the development of family-centered and caregiver-focused community care networks, Project C.A.R.E. helps create a seamless, coordinated delivery system that is responsive to the needs, values and preferences of Alzheimer's families.

Project C.A.R.E. is administered through the Division of Aging and Adult Services (DAAS) with expert consultation and technical assistance provided by the Duke Aging Center Family Support Program. Project C.A.R.E. is implemented at the local level through Family Consultants. The program is currently based within the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, two local Area Agencies on Aging (Regions Q and N), and Park Ridge Hospital (Henderson County). The Project C.A.R.E. staff at Park Ridge (based in Fletcher, NC) serves as the program's statewide training and technical assistance resource.

Project C.A.R.E. employs Family Consultants with expertise in Alzheimer's disease and other types of dementia. The Consultants visit the homes of referred dementia caregivers in crises and offer timely, individualized assessment, guidance, counseling, support, advocacy, coaching and education. Their aim is to match families with the most appropriate and preferred local respite and community services tailored to their unique situation and needs. Through Project C.A.R.E., caregivers may spend up to $1,000 per year toward respite services. Families are able to choose among a full continuum of consumer-directed care options, including adult day services, group respite, private or agency in-home care, and overnight residential respite.

There are currently five program sites set up to serve the following 40 counties: 1) Charlotte (Mecklenburg County); 2)Winston-Salem (Forsyth, Stokes, Surry and Yadkin); 3) Hendersonville (Avery, Buncombe, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania and Yancey); 4) Pembroke (Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Scotland); 5) Washington (Beaufort, Bertie, Gates, Halifax, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Northampton, Pitt and Washington).

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"It is wonderful to know she is cared for and safe when I'm at work. We could never have kept (our mother) at home this long without Project C.A.R.E. It has been so very, very helpful to us."
~Project C.A.R.E. Client

"Getting a break certainly helps me keep a smile on, and makes me a better person to give him the care he needs and deserves."
~Project C.A.R.E. Client


Project C.A.R.E. Family Consultants use a family-centered, home-based assessment intervention. In-home assessments are preferred because they are responsive to caregiver time and energy constraints. During the home visits, the Consultant:

  • assesses the family care environment;
  • identifies the needs and preferences of both the caregiver and the person with dementia;
  • facilitates discussion and mutual understanding among family members;
  • connects the family with community resources; and
  • ensures the provision of quality respite care and support services.

The personalized approach of the Consultant fosters family trust, offers individualized caregiving and coping skills and encourages caregiver self-care. Project C.A.R.E. helps families learn the value of quality respite services and feel empowered to make self-directed, informed decisions about care.

The Project C.A.R.E. model builds upon, enhances and sustains existing home and community-based services by using local providers to deliver respite care while serving as a direct link to the expertise and resources of the Duke Family Support Program. Project C.A.R.E. also connects families to the NC Family Caregiver Support Program, CRC's, VA Programs, Hospice and other caregiver-focused initiatives– creating a strong network of community support for Alzheimer's families. This comprehensive system of care strengthens the family's capacity to manage the ongoing and diverse challenges inherent in caring for a person with dementia, enabling families to provide care at home longer.

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"Upon arrival into the home, families are often paralyzed by their experience. I begin, first, by teaching the caregiver how to accept help, practice better self care and make informed care decisions."
~Project C.A.R.E. Family Consultant

"Your support and encouragement was most timely and brought a sense of order into our lives."
~Project C.A.R.E. Client

In Mecklenburg County Project C.A.R.E. is coordinated through the Department of Social Services.  Call 704-432-1111 for more information.

Information on this page was received from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Division of Aging and Adult Services

For more information from the state, please contact Mark Hensley at (919) 855-3417 or email
Check out the Project C.A.R.E. website  

Revised 5-18-10

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