South Carolina State Alzheimer’s Plan Overview 

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In June 2008, the South Carolina General Assembly created the Purple Ribbon Task Force by passing Senate Concurrent Resolution 1333 to study the current and future impact of Alzheimer’s disease within the state, assess resources for those impacted by Alzheimer’s, and develop a strategy to meet the needs of South Carolinians. Housed in the lieutenant governor’s Office on Aging, the Purple Ribbon Task Force included representatives from state health and aging agencies, law enforcement, research institutions, long-term care agencies as well as health care providers and state legislators. In March 2009, the Task Force published Conquering the Specter of Alzheimer’s Disease in South Carolina. Following a 14 year gap since the previous publication, the state Alzheimer’s plan for 2023-2028 was developed after a six-month planning and data collection period. The Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center (ARCC) Advisory Council served as the statewide representative coalition of experts and stakeholders throughout the planning process. Following the publication of the state plan, SB 0569 (Act No. 53 of 2023) was enacted, requiring the ARCC Advisory Council to maintain and update the state plan every five years and submit an annual report to the governor and general assembly concerning progress towards fulfilling the state plan.

South Carolina 2024 Policy Priorities

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Establish a Dementia Care Specialist Program

Individuals diagnosed or caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s have to navigate a complex network of services and benefits to meet their care needs. With the prevalence of Alzheimer’s projected to increase 26.3% in South Carolina by 2025, South Carolina needs a stronger infrastructure for providing accessible support to individuals living with dementia and their caregivers. The Alzheimer’s Association, in partnership with the Department on Aging, is calling on state lawmakers to support funding to establish ten Dementia Care Specialists in each of the Area Agencies on Aging. These specialists will serve to navigate families through the stages of dementia, caregiver education, support services, and respite voucher processes, among other vital services.

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Improve Quality of Care Through Dementia Training 

People living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia have unique needs that often make care delivery and communication more challenging. Dementia training of those involved in the delivery of care can improve the quality of care and experiences for individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state officials to establish dementia training requirements for the Long Term Care Ombudsman and Vulnerable Adult Guardian ad Litem programs. Training should include instruction on subjects such as understanding the basics of Alzheimer’s and other dementia, communication techniques, and dementia-related behaviors.

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Improve Loan Forgiveness to Address the Workforce Shortage 

Workforce shortages have a profound impact on individuals living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and in South Carolina, specialists in neurology and geriatrics are in the shortest supply. South Carolina is deemed a “neurology desert” and has only 66 practicing geriatricians statewide. In 2005, the state implemented the Geriatric Loan Forgiveness program, and the current amount provided by the program is inadequate to increase the pool of neurological disciplines and geriatric health professionals that can provide care for those living with Alzheimer’s and other dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state lawmakers to support an increase in the amount provided for the Geriatric Loan Forgiveness Program, ensuring more individuals who are willing to practice geriatric medicine, neurology and neuropsychiatry for a minimum of five years can qualify for the program

Find My Chapter

Together, we’re making an impact. Find an Alzheimer’s Association chapter in your community for more ways to engage.

Contact Us

State Affairs Contact: Taylor Wilson

Phone: 803.509.7354

Email: [email protected]

95,000

people living with Alzheimer’s in South Carolina

216,000

South Carolinians are providing unpaid care

$652 Million

Medicaid cost of caring for people living with Alzheimer’s (2020)

165.8%

increase in Alzheimer’s deaths 2000-2019

20%

in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia

336.4%

increase of geriatricians in South Carolina needed to meet the demand in 2050