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Rural Health Information Hub

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 underserved caregivers of those with Alzheimer's or other dementias, targeting rural 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)


Project C.A.R.E. (Caregiver Alternatives to Running on Empty) in North Carolina supports family caregivers of people living with Alzheimer's disease or related dementia (ADRD) through a coordinated service delivery model. The program includes care planning, caregiver assessment, dementia-specific education, and information and referral services. Family consultants help families learn about ADRD, develop coping skills, and find solutions to issues or concerns. These consultants also work with local community-based services and networks, including 16 NC Area Agencies on Aging and the Family Care Support Program.

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

The six Project C.A.R.E. Regional Offices are:

  • Western: Land of Sky Area Agency on Aging (Asheville)
  • Foothills: Western Piedmont Area Agency on Aging (Hickory)
  • South Central: Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (Charlotte)
  • Central: Duke Dementia Family Support Program (Durham)
  • Southeastern: Cape Fear Area Agency on Aging (Wilmington)
  • Northeastern: Albemarle Commission Area Agency on Aging (rural Hertford)
Project C.A.R.E. office locations
Project C.A.R.E. Regional 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
  • Access to the NC Caregiver Portal for online resources and training
  • Support groups
  • Community-based services and supports
  • Referral to any needed programs


Dementia-specific education and training topics include:

  • Progression of dementia
  • Behavioral management
  • Coping strategies for caregivers
  • Self-care for caregivers
  • Functional needs

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 consumer-directed vouchers for care consultation clients who need financial assistance to pay for respite services. These services can include group respite, in-home care, adult day care, and facility 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 and expanded statewide as a result of a recommendation in the publication Dementia-Capable North Carolina: A Strategic Plan for Addressing Alzheimer's Disease and Related Dementias.

In 2023, Project C.A.R.E.:

  • Responded to about 5,900 requests for information and referral services
  • Provided care consultation services to 593 informal caregivers
  • Awarded funds to 463 care consultation caregivers to pay for respite
  • Served caregivers in 92 of 100 counties

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

Kelly, C.M., & Williams, I.C. (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.

Caregivers and care partners interested in learning more about Project CARE can contact the Caregiver Navigator toll-free at 844.728.0191 or

Contact Information

Laura Jane Strunin, 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
October 10, 2023

Suggested citation: Rural Health Information Hub, 2023. Project C.A.R.E. [online]. Rural Health Information Hub. Available at: [Accessed 24 February 2024]

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.