In the next twenty years, the population of adults over the age of 85 will double, leaving individuals and families struggling to find and pay for long-term services and supports (LTSS). These routine care services provide essential assistance for everyday activities, such as eating, medication management, bathing, and skilled nursing.
LTSS are vital to our aging population, especially those living with Alzheimer’s or related dementia, but they can be costly and difficult to access.
That’s why the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health’s Long-Term Care Leadership Council has been working with stakeholders to address anticipated challenges by focusing on recommendations from 2015’s report Creating Direction: A Guide to Improving Long-Term Care in South Carolina.
The Alzheimer’s Association South Carolina Chapter is honored to participate as a member of the Leadership Council, helping to ensure that education and support are available to the 92,000 South Carolinians currently living with the disease, as well as their families, caregivers, and health care professionals surrounding them.
While there is a lot of work ahead of us, we are making progress in South Carolina. Solutions currently in effect in our state include a Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), which provides healthy food to thousands of seniors who are low-income, seed grants through the Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center to support caregiver respite programs and education services in our communities, comprehensive provider information on GetCareSC.com, and improved respite services through the Family Caregiver Support Program.
In addition, steps are being taken to improve the protection of vulnerable adults. An example of this includes a proposed bill to establish a systemwide database of caregivers who have a history of abuse, neglect, or exploitation in order to prevent those caregivers from being rehired. The protection of vulnerable adults in Adult Protective Services is also being improved upon through greater placement options.
As the Palmetto State continues to age, and those living with Alzheimer’s is expected to grow to 120,000 by 2025, it is more important than ever for public and private stakeholders to work together towards cost-effective solutions that will improve LTSS. The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health and members of the Long-Term Care Leadership Council are committed to working alongside stakeholders and elected officials to equip our state to take the best care of its citizens. We invite you to learn more at imph.org.
Beth Sulkowski currently serves as the Vice President of Communications & Advocacy for the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association and is a member of the Long-Term Care Leadership Council for the South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health.
This piece has been featured in The Times & Democrat, Havelock News, The Dispatch, Times-News, and Spartanburg’s Herald-Journal.