Skip to main content

Project C.A.R.E.

  • Need: There is a lack of dementia-specific support for rural caregivers.
  • Intervention: Project C.A.R.E. was created to meet the needs of rural and underserved caregivers of those with Alzheimer's or other dementias across North Carolina.
  • Results: Under Project C.A.R.E., rural families receive information and referrals as well as individualized care consultation from dementia-trained family consultants.


Promising (About evidence-level criteria)


According to the Alzheimer's Association, about 170,000 people in North Carolina have Alzheimer's, a form of dementia. Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) educates and supports family caregivers of people living with dementia.

Project C.A.R.E. is funded by the state of North Carolina. The program specifically targets those who are ineligible for other available programs, who live rurally, are low-income, and are part of minority populations.

Family consultants are based in the program's six sites:

  • Land of Sky Regional Council Area Agency on Aging (Asheville)
  • Western Piedmont Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging (Hickory)
  • Mid-East Commission Area Agency on Aging (rural Washington)
  • Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (Charlotte)
  • Duke Dementia Family Support Program (Durham)
  • Cape Fear Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging (Wilmington)
Project C.A.R.E. office locations

Services offered

Information and Referral Services

Project C.A.R.E. connects caregivers with resources and services, including:

  • Dementia-specific information
  • Caregiver education
  • Support groups
  • Community-based services and supports
  • Referral to any needed programs


Dementia-specific education and training topics include:

  • Progression of dementia
  • Behavioral management
  • Home safety
  • Coping strategies for caregivers
  • Self-care for caregivers

Care Consultations

Caregivers receive care consultations in person or over the phone. Consultants help caregivers assess their needs and concerns, develop a care plan, and follow up as needed. To be eligible for this service:

  • The caregiver must be at least 18 years old.
  • The person they are caring for has been diagnosed with dementia.
  • The caregiver would benefit from case management.


Project C.A.R.E. offers vouchers for care consultation clients who need financial assistance for respite services. These services can include group respite, in-home care, and adult day care.


Since this program began in 2001, family consultants have created a community-based support services network for dementia caregivers.

In October 2016, Project C.A.R.E. received additional state funds as a result of a recommendation in the publication Dementia-Capable North Carolina: A Strategic Plan for Addressing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias.

Other results, as of June 30, 2019:

  • Responded to about 5,200 requests for information and referral services
  • Provided care consultation services to 831 informal caregivers
  • Awarded funds to 645 care consultation caregivers to pay for respite
  • Served caregivers in 99 of 100 counties

For more information about Project C.A.R.E.:

Kelly, C., & Williams, I. (2007). Providing Dementia-Specific Services to Family Caregivers: North Carolina's Project C.A.R.E. Program. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 26(4), 399-412. Article Abstract


Project C.A.R.E. utilizes a standardized family-centered approach and tools. The care plan tools were adopted with permission from Alzheimer's Los Angeles.

Contact Information

Dawn Oakey Gartman, State Project C.A.R.E. Director
North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
Project C.A.R.E.

Informal caregivers

States served
North Carolina

Date added
September 3, 2015

Date updated or reviewed
September 30, 2019

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2019. Project C.A.R.E. [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 18 June 2021]

Please contact the models and innovations contact directly for the most complete and current information about this program. Summaries of models and innovations are provided by RHIhub for your convenience. The programs described are not endorsed by RHIhub or by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy. Each rural community should consider whether a particular project or approach is a good match for their community’s needs and capacity. While it is sometimes possible to adapt program components to match your resources, keep in mind that changes to the program design may impact results.