South Carolina


As we celebrate Alzheimer's & Brain Awareness Month in June, we'd like to thank Governor McMaster for issuing a proclamation and for lighting the Governor's Mansion in purple! Get involved by going purple this month! Learn more at


Increase Public Awareness, Early Detection And Diagnosis

Establish brain health as a public health priority

Just as obesity and diabetes are public health epidemics requiring large-scale interventions, we must take proactive steps to reduce the risk of cognitive loss for our aging population. The 2015 Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System survey found that 12% of South Carolinians age 45 or older are experiencing subjective cognitive decline, and over 60% of them reported functional difficulties as a result (such as giving up day-to-day activities). We are committed to working with the SC Department of Health and Environmental Control to promote evidence-based messages about risk reduction for cognitive decline.

Increase Access to Home and Community-Based Services

Ensure sustained funding for Alzheimer's Caregiver Respite

92,000 South Carolinians have Alzheimer's, posing a unique challenge to some 313,000 family caregivers. Fortunately, the Alzheimer's Caregiver Respite Program provides families with limited assistance to arrange temporary, paid care for a loved one with dementia. By using in-home care, adult day centers or other services, caregivers are able to take a break and support their mental and physical health. We thank the General Assembly for continuing to fund this program at $900,000 in 2019! This vital program is funded through the SC Department of Mental Health and provides respite to over 1,300 families each year.

Advance Alzheimer's Policy

Establish a full-time Alzheimer's Program Manager role in the new Department on Aging

Alzheimer's is a full-time struggle for those living with it and their caregivers. We need a dedicated focus on this disease in the new Department on Aging. In 1995, our state established an Alzheimer's Disease & Related Disorders Resource Coordination Center (ARCC) within the state unit on aging, but this mandate was never funded. An Alzheimer's Program Manager would fulfill the duties enumerated in Section 44-36-320 of the 1976 Code and promote public health interventions such as risk reduction and early detection. Ten states have such a dedicated position, including Georgia and North Carolina. SC has the highest Alzheimer's death rate in the nation - the time to act is now!

Advance Alzheimer's Policy

Guide South Carolina through the next decade of our fight against Alzheimer's

South Carolina's Alzheimer's State Plan will turn 10 years old in 2019. Published in 2009, this plan created a vision of comprehensive, coordinated, accessible systems to improve the lives of persons with Alzheimer's disease and related disorders as well as their caregivers. A lot has changed in 10 years, both in terms of the progress that we've made and in terms of emerging needs. It's time for an update! In partnership with the new Department on Aging, we hope to create a new Alzheimer's State Plan to address the emerging concerns and issues of South Carolinians living with this disease.

South Carolina State Plan Overview

In June 2008, the South Carolina General Assembly created the Purple Ribbon Task Force through passage of 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. Drawing on the multidisciplinary representation of its members, the Task Force published Conquering the Specter of Alzheimer's Disease in South Carolina in March 2009.


South Carolina State Advocacy Day

March 04, 2020

Help us make Alzheimer’s disease a priority in South Carolina! Our State House Advocacy Day will provide opportunities for you to meet with your legislators in their offices as well as in the State House Lobby. This year, we are asking legislators to fund a full-time Alzheimer’s Program Manager role at the Department on Aging. Existing state law outlines responsibilities for such a role within the Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center, but this has never been funded. We will provide a recorded training on this topic in advance of State House Day, so you can prepare whenever it fits your schedule. But the most important thing is to share YOUR story with your legislators!

2020 Advocacy Forum

March 22-24, 2020

As an Alzheimer's advocate, you've worked to advance critical public policy, making a difference in the lives of all those impacted by Alzheimer's. Together we've achieved great increases in federal Alzheimer's research funding and secured critical advances in care and support. But we can't take our successes for granted — we need to keep the pressure on.

Join us in Washington for an inspiring three-day event filled with networking, training and education.

Be part of the movement that's making a difference in the fight against Alzheimer's.

Sign Up to Learn More About Advocacy Opportunities in South Carolina

Sign me up to participate in the upcoming State Advocacy Day!

State Affairs Contact Taylor Wilson | 8033150569 | [email protected]

Elected Officials

Enter your address here to see your elected officials' positions on Alzheimer's and ways you can contact them to support the Alzheimer's community.

Alzheimer's Facts and Figures in South Carolina

Number of People Aged 65 and Older With Alzheimer's by Age

Year 65-74 75-84 85+ TOTAL
* Totals may not add due to rounding
2019 17,000 41,000 34,000 92,000
2025 20,000 56,000 40,000 120,000

Percentage change from 2019




Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's (2019)


change in costs from 2019 to 2025



per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia (in 2018 dollars)

HOSPICE (2016)



of people in hospice have a primary diagnosis of dementia


of people in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia

Hospitals (2015)



of emergency department visits per 1,000 people with dementia


dementia patient hospital readmission rate



Number of Caregivers


Total Hours of Unpaid Care


Total Value of Unpaid Care


Higher Health Costs of Caregivers

Number of Deaths from Alzheimer's Disease (2017)


6th leading cause of death in South Carolina
8th highest Alzheimer's death rate in America
192% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000

For more information, view the 2019 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report at

U.S. Statistics

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and as many as 14 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated to total $290 billion in 2019, increasing to $1.1 trillion (in today's dollars) by mid-century. Nearly one in every three seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another dementia.