Just this week, my office spoke with a lady who had faced numerous challenges while caring for an elderly parent living alone in a neighboring state. Her mother had previously been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it was recommended that she no longer drive. Following the diagnosis, her mother decided to purchase a new car, and the family then realized it was time to seek assistance.
With a simple call, senior resources here began to help their family partner with similar Aging agencies in her mother’s community. Together, the groups negotiated a settlement for returning the car her mother had purchased; updated her mother’s Living Will and Power of Attorney (both durable and medical); and provided referrals, access to support groups, and program material to assist their family with care after deciding it was best for her mother to move closer home.
For many of you in comparable situations, there is a large network of Aging services in South Carolina that is available to assist when help is needed. Our state is divided into ten Planning and Service Areas. Within each of these regions can be found a combination Area Agency on Aging (AAA) / Aging Disability Resource Center (ADRC), which contracts for and delivers countless Aging services throughout their respective counties.
Each AAA has an Information, Referral, and Assistance Specialist, who assists with locating a variety of programs available for seniors; an I-Care coordinator, who helps seniors answer important Medicare questions; a regional Ombudsman, who investigates assisted living and nursing home resident complaints; and a regional family caregiver advocate, who assists caregivers of seniors with information and services to help them care for their loved one.
In addition, Home and Community Based Services funded by the Office on Aging are provided through each AAA. Each AAA also contracts with local providers, including area Councils on Aging, to provide nutrition services, transportation, and home care to their local seniors.
Below is a list of the counties in South Carolina’s Region 7, and contact information. If assistance is needed for you or a loved one, please do not hesitate to seek help through your closest AAA.
Region 7: Pee Dee – (843-383-8632)
Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, Marlboro
Question of the Week
Q: Are Home and Community Based Services (such as nutrition programs, transportation, and home care) based on one’s ability to pay?
A: AAAs serve those most in need, based on a priority score obtained from an assessment. Often, those most in need are below the poverty level, but not always. However, if a senior does not qualify for services based on the assessment, a private pay and cost sharing option is available. This, in turn, allows more people to be served because any money received for services (donations, cost-share, private pay) has to go back in to the program for which the service was paid.
For more information, contact SC Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging at 803-734-9900 or 800-868-9095, or visit www.aging.sc.gov.