AARP Eye Center
There are currently 700,000 caregivers in the state of South Carolina. These caregivers are providing aid and support to family, friends or community members. The majority of these caregivers are not paid,
A recent caregiving poll showed that a majority of South Carolina voters ages 45 and older are currently, have previously, or are likely to provide care for a family member, loved one, spouse or partner so they can stay in the comfort of their home. With our aging population continuing to grow, the state of South Carolina is going to not only see, but also need, more caretakers in our state. By providing more money in respite vouchers, caregivers would be able to take a much needed break while still saving the state billions of dollars in Medicaid funded nursing beds.
Previously, the legislature budgeted $1 million for respite services for family caregivers. However, the 2010 US Census shows that South Carolina’s (SC) senior population has increased by 40%. The senior population is expected to continue growing at a great rate, and the role of caregivers is becoming more vital than ever in supporting this growth. This means that there will also be an increase in caregivers in our state, and the current funding is just not enough to give them the support they need.
AARP South Carolina supports the Lt. Governor’s request for funding because there is evident need for caregivers in South Carolina and a call to value these caregivers for the services they provide. The additional $1.6 million in funding for respite vouchers will allow older adults with disabilities or in need of care to continue living their lives in the comfort of their homes, and continue to make South Carolina a great place to live for all ages. These additional funds would be used to give caregivers a short term break from their duties through access to temporary in-home care, adult day care or facility stays so that caregivers can have time to care for themselves or work.
Photo Credit: Katarzyna Bialasiewicz / istockphoto.com