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 alz.org/abam.
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
April 10, 2019
Thank you to our advocates for our best State House Day yet! Over 100 advocates in purple sashes made a big impression by meeting with Senators and Representatives in their offices or in the State House Lobby. We asked for continued Alzheimer’s caregiver respite funding, passage of S. 205 (to add physician education on early detection as duty of ARCC at Dept on Aging), and to fund a full-time Dementia Coordinator to oversee ARCC at Dept on Aging. S. 205 passed the House while our advocates were in the lobby, and respite funding was ultimately approved in this year's budget. The highlight of the day was Rep. Tim McGinnis honoring advocates Patty & Howard Younts on the House floor in a moving presentation. We heard feedback about meetings over lunch, then conducted a brief advocate training on next steps. We closed out the day with a brief address from our new Lt. Governor, Pamela Evette. Stay tuned for announcements about State House Day in 2020!
2020 Advocacy Forum
March 22-24, 2020 alz.org/forum
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
State Affairs Contact Beth Sulkowski | 8646990620 | [email protected]
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.
Number of People Aged 65 and Older With Alzheimer's by Age
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)
of people in hospice have a primary diagnosis of dementia
of people in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia
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
|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 alz.org/facts.
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.