In South Carolina, around 18% of the population is over the age of 65, the equivalent of around 92,500 residents. In an effort to support these members of the South Carolina community, the state’s Department on Aging offers many valuable resources, including caregiver support, legal assistance, and ombudsman access. As a state with a low cost of living, senior housing is relatively affordable; seniors can expect to spend around $3,813 for monthly in-home care.

This guide provides comprehensive information about the costs of in-home care in South Carolina, including available financial assistance and both low-cost and free resources for seniors in need.

The Cost of In-Home Care in South Carolina

In-Home Care Costs in Nearby States

For seniors seeking affordable home care, South Carolina is a good place to live. Per Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey, in-home care averages $3,813 per month. This is around $400 below the national average of $4,290, offering substantial savings to seniors who choose to live in South Carolina. Further, the state is cheaper or on par with its neighbors. While North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee have the same average price, Alabama is $419 cheaper and Virginia is more expensive by $382 per month.

$3813

South Carolina

$4290

National

$4195

Virginia

$3394

Alabama

$3813

North Carolina

$3813

Tennessee

$3813

Georgia

Cost of Other Types of Care in South Carolina

In-home care is one of the more affordable available opportunities in South Carolina. Those who are interested in other resources, like live-in facilities, can expect to pay more. Home health aides are only marginally more expensive than home care, averaging around $4,000 per month. However, those who want to save can find lower prices with adult day care, which averages $1,343 per month, and assisted living facilities, which cost around $3,500 per month.

$3813

In-Home Care

$4000

Home Health Care

$1343

Adult Day Care

$3500

Assisted Living Facility

$7123

Nursing Home Care (Semi-Private Room)

$7604

Nursing Home Care (Private Room)

The Cost of In-Home Care in South Carolina’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across South Carolina

In many areas of the country, major metro areas can be a bit more expensive for in-home care than more rural communities. However, as South Carolina’s largest city, Columbia, is home to just 129,000 people, this state doesn’t have as much variation as others. Columbia is slightly more expensive, with home care averaging $4,004. However, at less than $200 more per month, the increase is negligible. Charleston, the second largest city, is even more expensive, averaging $4,385 per month. North Charleston and Mount Pleasant are both in line with Charleston, while Rock Hill, the fifth largest city in South Carolina, is closer to the state average.

$4385

Charleston

$4385

North Charleston

$4385

Mount Pleasant

$4004

Columbia

$3890

Rock Hill

Financial Assistance for In-Home Care in South Carolina

PACE, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

For those with Medicare, the PACE program, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, can assist in securing the resources necessary for those who are in need of nursing care. PACE permits those who would normally qualify for a nursing home to receive care at home instead.

While available across most of the state of South Carolina, PACE is actually a federal program under Medicare. The costs covered can include social services, medical, and long-term care expenses as applicable to program participants.

Who Is Eligible?
All Medicare members who meet the following criteria are eligible to join the PACE program:

  • 55 years or older
  • Residence in an area with an active PACE organization
  • Certification by the state are meeting the requirements for nursing home care
  • Ability to live safely within the community at the time of application

How to Apply
To apply for home care coverage through the South Carolina PACE program, contact your area Health and Human Services Community Long Term Care office. Family members, friends, and medical professionals can also refer seniors as candidates for these services where appropriate.

South Carolina Area Agencies on Aging

The South Carolina Area Agencies on Aging are a product of the Older Americans Act in South Carolina. Effectively, these centers serve as all-purpose resources for seniors in need, ranging from financial support to other services like access to meals. Each geographic area in South Carolina has its own Area Agency on Aging, or AAA, that provides assistance to local seniors.

The first point of contact at AAA centers is an Information and Referral Specialist. This professional is responsible for assessing personal situations, connecting seniors with non-profits, sources of funding, and other reasonable resources. Each AAA functions differently based on state funding and local resources, so the financial assistance available can vary greatly. Things like transportation, meal delivery, caregiver training, emergency aid grants, and insurance counseling may be available in some areas and not in others.

Who Is Eligible?
Services from local AAA offices are available to all seniors over age 60 who demonstrate adequate need. How resources are allocated and the amount of funding available varies from one location to another, and all decisions regarding assistance are on a local level.

How to Apply
To get started with seeking care through a South Carolina Area Agency on Aging, use the phone number or website instructions associated with the AAA in the corresponding geographical area. Application procedures may vary from one location to another.

Family Caregiver Support

Operated through the South Carolina Department of Aging, the Family Caregiver Support program is intended to support family members who offer in-home care. While not specifically related to hired outside in-home care, this program can assist more informal caregivers. As the department points out, if family members were paid like in-home caregivers, the annual cost would equate to over $7.4 billion a year.

The Family Support Program offers numerous tools for family caregivers, including training, connection with existing community services that can offer financial or other forms of support, and respite options. This includes a respite grant that provides family caregivers resources to hire professional services temporarily. The average grant is around $460 but can vary based on area and personal financial needs.

Who Is Eligible?
Anyone who provides home care for a senior in need can apply for care. A senior is considered someone over the age of 60. To learn more, contact local Area Agency on Aging branches. Resources can vary from one location to another.

How to Apply
As with many senior-related issues in South Carolina, application criteria can vary between agencies. Contacting local AAA branches can provide more information on applying as well as any applicable application policies.

More Ways to Pay for In-Home Care

While the above programs help many people finance in-home care, they will not cover all costs for everyone. There are other ways to pay for in-home care, including out-of-pocket arrangements with siblings, annuities, reverse mortgages, private insurance, and more. Read Caring.com’s Guide to In-Home Care Costs to learn more about these alternative payment options.

Free and Low-Cost In-Home Care Resources in South Carolina

For those seeking a more affordable way of life as a senior, there are several other options available that can minimize the financial burden. This can include transportation and meal programs. Some of the additional available services in South Carolina include:

ContactServices Provided
Long-Term Care Ombudsman1-800-868-9095The Long-Term Care Ombudsman program can manage complaints from seniors or their families regarding neglect or abuse in a care situation.
The Emergency Food Assistance ProgramContact your local TEFAP agencyAvailable for those with income at or below 150% of the poverty level, TEFAP provides access to food banks and other food resources
State Health Insurance Assistance ProgramContact your local Area Agency on AgingSHIP, also known as I-Care, is an insurance counseling resource available to anyone eligible for Medicare benefits
Transportation ResourcesContact your local transportation beneficiary resourceMedical transportation resources, as well as other community transportation options, are available to seniors who cannot drive

In-Home Care Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

Not everyone is permitted to act as an in-home caregiver in South Carolina. Oversight of caregivers is provided by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The below chart summarized the rules and regulations regarding care agencies.

Scope of CareA home care provider is any entity, whether for profit or not for profit, that makes or provides provisions for in-home care, including any service that includes physical, occupational, or speech therapy, medical social services, home health aide services, or other forms of medical therapy.
Care Plan RequirementsCaregivers must create a care plan and receive all the appropriate training required to carry out the tasks required.
Medication ManagementIf applicable, caregivers must offer medication assistance to home care clients.
Staff ScreeningBackground checks are required of all personnel working in a care capacity. Caregivers are required to be able to pass random drug screenings which, at minimum, must be in the form of a five-panel test.
Staff TrainingStaff members are required to be trained in all areas related to performing care. Staff training certificates are required to be dated and signed by both those providing and receiving training. At minimum, training should include basic first aid, medication assistance, mental and physical disability training where possible, confidentiality policies, and documentation and record keeping.
Medicaid CoverageMedicaid programs can be accepted for care when patients qualify for such care in their policies. This will depend on individual care requirements.
Reporting AbuseAbuse in elder care capacities should be reported to the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program at 1-800-868-9095. Abuse can be reported by care agencies, seniors, or their families and advocates.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does In-Home Care Cost in South Carolina?

In-home care in South Carolina costs, on average, $3,813 per month, according to Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey. This is lower than the national average of $4,200. Home health care is only marginally more expensive with an average price of $4,000. Some of the cities in the state, like the greater Charleston area, have prices around $400 more than the state average.

Are There Financial Assistance Programs for In-Home Care in South Carolina?

Yes, South Carolina does have financial assistance programs in place for in-home care. Seniors eligible for Medicare are permitted to receive select assistance under the PACE program, or Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Other financial assistance options may be available through the local South Carolina Area Agencies on Aging locations, but this will vary based on area and need. AAAs are about to connect seniors to local nonprofits that can offer further aid, both financial and otherwise.

Are There Transportation Assistance Programs in South Carolina?

Seniors who cannot drive may be eligible for transportation assistance. Transportation assistance is available for medical care appointments as well as community living obligations like shopping and dining. The program can also help seniors explore potential public transportation alternatives where applicable. However, not all areas in South Carolina have public transportation.

What Are “Activities of Daily Living”?

Activities of daily living, or ADL tasks, refers to the kinds of activities that are required for everyday life. This includes things like getting out of bed, dressing, and eating. ADL provided by in-home care professionals can also include companionship, homemaker services such as cooking and cleaning, and hygiene tasks like bathing. In-home care does not include medical assistance beyond basic first aid and medication assistance; seniors who need additional nursing resources may benefit from home health aide care.

What Is the Difference Between In-Home Care and Home Health Care?

The primary difference between in-home care and home health care centers on the presence of medical assistance. In-home care is focused on basic tasks of daily living, like bathing, dressing, food preparation, and light cleaning. Home care providers are not licensed to do more than offer rudimentary first aid. However, home health care offers more comprehensive nursing care for clients with more extensive needs.

Home Care Services in South Carolina (260)