South Carolina

Congressional Profiles

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SOUTH CAROLINA 2021 STATE POLICY PRIORITIES

Support the Infrastructure Needed to Make South Carolina Dementia-Capable

Alzheimer's and other dementias is a full-time struggle for the family caregivers and individuals living with the disease. South Carolina needs a full-time Dementia Coordinator working within our state’s Department on Aging to work across agencies to ensure a comprehensive and coordinated approach to addressing Alzheimer’s. The state previously established the Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination Center within the Department on Aging to educate healthcare providers on the importance of early detection and diagnosis, encourage innovative service delivery systems, inform public policy, and more -- but this important work has never been funded. The Alzheimer’s Association is urging state policymakers to fund the Dementia Coordinator to lead this work and ongoing implementation and updates to the State Plan.

Protect Residents In Long Term Care Settings by Mitigating the Risk of COVID-19 and Addressing Social Isolation

The COVID-19 pandemic is disproportionately affecting individuals with Alzheimer’s and other dementia, and is creating pressing challenges for long-term care (LTC) communities and residents, where people living with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias represent a large proportion of LTC residents. There are also growing concerns that social isolation among people with dementia has contributed to individual decline and stress among family caregivers who cannot assess the health of their loved ones. To best support individuals living with Alzheimer’s and dementia during the pandemic, the Alzheimer’s Association has released a comprehensive set of long-term care policy recommendations for lawmakers focused on testing, reporting, surge activation, and providing support. The Alzheimer’s Association will continue to urge state policymakers to prioritize long-term care in the COVID-19 response.

Ensure Sustained Funding for Alzheimer's Caregiver Respite

95,000 South Carolinians have Alzheimer's, posing a unique challenge to some 318,000 family caregivers. Fortunately, South Carolina's 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. Without these funds, many caregivers risk worsening their own health. While the upcoming budget will be tight, it is critical that legislators protect the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Program from any cuts to support family caregivers.



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.



ADVOCACY EVENTS

South Carolina State Advocacy Day

February 22, 2021

Join fellow Alzheimer’s advocates for an exciting week of virtual advocacy urging South Carolina state lawmakers to support people with dementia and their families from February 22nd to 26th, 2021. Over the course of five days, advocates across the state will engage with state government leaders through virtual actions and social media to highlight the urgent need for a state dementia coordinator, ongoing funding for key services and supports, and the vital importance of SC’s Alzheimer’s Caregiver Respite Program. This virtual “Alzheimer’s Association State House Advocacy Week” will combine storytelling, advocacy, and engagement with your state legislators to make a substantial real-life impact for families facing dementia in our state. And of course, we will be asking all who participate to “Go purple” to show support for the fight to #ENDALZ!


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]



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
2020 18,000 43,000 35,000 95,000
2025 20,000 56,000 40,000 120,000

Percentage change from 2020

Medicaid

$652

MILLION

Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer's (2020)

25.4%

change in costs from 2020 to 2025


Medicare

$23,917

per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia (in 2019 dollars)


HOSPICE (2017)

6,038

#

of people in hospice have a primary diagnosis of dementia


20%

of people in hospice with a primary diagnosis of dementia

Geriatricians

66

Number of geriatricians in 2019


336%

increase needed to meet Alzheimer's population needs in 2050

Hospitals (2017)

1,564

#

of emergency department visits per 1,000 people with dementia


21.4%

dementia patient hospital readmission rate


21.3%

increase in emergency deparment visits since 2007

Caregiving

318 Thousand

Number of Caregivers



362 Million

Total Hours of Unpaid Care



$4.75 Billion

Total Value of Unpaid Care


Number of Deaths from Alzheimer's Disease (2018)

2,616 total deaths in South Carolina
6th leading cause of death in South Carolina
5th highest Alzheimer's death rate in America
199% increase in Alzheimer's deaths since 2000

For more information, view the 2020 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report at alz.org/facts.

U.S. Statistics

Over 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer's, and as many as 13.8 million will have the disease in 2050. The cost of caring for those with Alzheimer's and other dementias is estimated to total $305 billion in 2020, increasing to $1.1 trillion (in today's dollars) by mid-century. Nearly 1 in 3 seniors who dies each year has Alzheimer's or another dementia.



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