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Memory Care in South Carolina

South Carolina is a popular place to retire, thanks to its mild climate and beautiful beaches. The state has an estimated population of 5.28 million, and around 18.6% of residents are aged 65 and over. Seniors are in the high-risk group for developing memory loss disorders such as Alzheimer’s and other dementias. According to the CDC, the number of deaths from Alzheimer’s-related causes increased by 7.61% in South Carolina from 2016 to 2020. This increase is in line with data that shows that Alzheimer’s is now the seventh-leading cause of death across the United States.

Residential dementia care is an important part of caring for seniors with memory loss disorders in South Carolina. Memory care facilities in the state provide a safe environment where seniors receive 24/7 care and support from highly trained caregivers. This guide assists readers looking to connect with statewide agencies that provide support to families and seniors affected by dementia and gives an overview of the average costs of memory care in South Carolina and neighboring states.

The Cost of Memory Care in South Carolina

Note: Memory care residential services are typically delivered inside assisted living communities and normally cost 20-30% more than those facilities. Since there is no authoritative source for current memory care pricing, rates shown below are 25% above assisted living care prices as shown on Genworth’s 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

At $4,515 per month, South Carolina’s memory care is competitively priced compared with neighboring states. Rates are about 12% higher in North Carolina, at $5,013, and the difference is even greater in Tennessee, where the monthly average is $5,131. In Georgia, memory care costs are very similar, at $4,419 each month.

Prices across South Carolina’s cities vary, with residents in popular beachside cities paying more than in places further inland. Memory care in Spartanburg, located in the northeastern part of the state, is right below the state average, at $4,500, and nearby Greenville’s costs are similar at $4,679. In Hilton Head Island, rates increase exponentially, to $5,625 per month, nearly $1,000 above the $4,515 state average. Myrtle Beach’s prices are also higher at $5,088. Charleston, the largest city in the state, has a similar average monthly cost of $4,931. The lowest memory care costs can be found for $3,329 a month in Sumter, located in the central part of the state. 





Myrtle Beach


Hilton Head Island






Other long-term care services available to South Carolina seniors include daily care provided at adult healthcare centers for $1,408 a day, all the way to nursing homes with clinical care, which cost $7,285 on average each month for a shared room. Residency in an assisted living facility, where assistance with daily living activities such as grooming, dressing or mobility is provided, costs $3,612. Seniors who wish to receive services in their homes pay between $4,433 and $4,481 a month on average, with professional medical care costing more than home care services such as cleaning, cooking or ADL assistance.  

Adult Day Health Care


Assisted Living


Home Care


Home Health Care


Memory Care


Nursing Home (semiprivate)


Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in South Carolina?

Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in South Carolina.

While South Carolina’s Aged Blind and Disabled (ABD) program, administered through its Healthy Connections Medicaid program, does not cover the cost of room and board at memory care facilities, for those who meet its eligibility requirements, it may pay for the cost of healthcare, personal care services and transportation. In addition, the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) provides similar services for those living in certain areas of the state who need care but can still live safely within the community. South Carolina’s Community Long Term Care waiver may also be an option for seniors still living at home who want to delay moving to a nursing home.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in South Carolina?

Seniors who meet South Carolina Healthy Connections’ financial and medical criteria may be eligible to receive certain services, such as rehabilitation therapies, emergency devices, personal care and transportation while living in a memory care facility. The PACE program offers a comprehensive array of services tailored to meet the needs of each individual recipient. In addition to requiring specific income and medical criteria, this program is contingent upon the recipient living in one of eight South Carolina counties. The Community Long Term Care waiver delivers similar services but in a home setting as opposed to a residential facility. 

Memory Care Waiver Programs in South Carolina

Aged Blind and Disabled Program

The Aged Blind and Disabled Medicaid program delivers Medicaid benefits to those who are 65 and older, blind or disabled. Recipients must meet the Medicaid income and asset limits to qualify, though there are ways to set aside extra income and spend down excess assets. While this program doesn’t cover memory care room and board, it helps cover the costs of medical-related expenses such as:


  • Occupational or physical therapies
  • Assistance with daily living tasks such as grooming, bathing and eating
  • Medical transportation 


Seniors must follow the Medicaid application steps to apply for the ABD program and can apply online through Healthy Connections or by printing the applications and either mailing them to South Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services or submitting them in-person at their local county office. 

Program of All-Inclusive Care of the Elderly 

PACE is a combined Medicare and Medicaid program that provides services and supports to seniors living in their communities so they don’t need nursing home placements. Services include personal care, emergency devices, transportation, medical care and therapies. To qualify, you must:


  • Be 55 or older
  • Reside in a PACE service area (currently offered in eight South Carolina counties)
  • Be certified as needing a nursing level of care by the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services
  • Be able to live safely in the community with PACE’s services

How to Know If You’re Eligible for Medicaid in South Carolina

Qualifying for South Carolina Healthy Connections, or Medicaid, depends on your citizenship status, residency, age or current health status as well as specific income and asset limitations. In general, Medicaid qualifications include:

  • Being a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or legal alien
  • Being 65 years or older, blind or have a permanent disability
  • Being a full-time resident of the state of South Carolina
  • Possessing no more than $8,400 in total assets, when applying as an individual
  • Earning no more than $13,590 income per year, when applying as an individual

2022 Basic Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in South Carolina

NameIncome limits*Asset limits
Single Applicant$13,590$8,400
Two-Person Household (Only One Person Applying)$13,590$8,400
Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

*Per year    

Seniors 65 and older who meet other criteria but whose income or assets exceed limitations have options for becoming eligible. Those with incomes in excess of the specified Medicaid cap may put their extra money into a trust, which is then no longer considered countable income. Trusts must have the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services listed as the remainder beneficiary. They are overseen by trustees, who are appointed to use the money only for very specific purposes related to long-term care, such as covering the cost of room and board. Once established, these trusts cannot be changed or closed.

Assets in excess of the allowed limits can be “spent down” on purchases related to home care, such as home modifications such as wheel ramps; stair lifts; vehicle modifications; home improvements to plumbing, electricity or water heaters; paying off debt; or prepaying funeral costs and burial expenses. 

How to Apply for Memory Care in South Carolina

Seniors applying for the ABD Medicaid program in South Carolina can go through the Healthy Connections website or print and complete the paper copy version as well as the other additional applications available online. Printed applications can be mailed to: SCDHHS-Central Mail, P.O. Box 100101, Columbia, SC 29202-3101.

Applications can also be delivered to the local Healthy Connections county office.

Information You Will Need

To apply for South Carolina Medicaid, you must show all income from the previous 5 years before the date of submission as well as all assets during the same time period. A letter from the Social Security Administration that shows the amount of gross Social Security income and any deductions is also needed. Life insurance, health insurance policies and all tax forms are required as well.

Additionally, you should have the following documents on hand before applying:


  • Copies of titles to any property owned or sold in the past 5 years
  • Government-issued ID that verifies residency status and citizenship
  • Copies of any prepaid funeral expenses or burial arrangements
  • Five years’ worth of investment activity, including any open or closed bank accounts, investments and trusts 
  • Documents pertaining to your estate or care, including a will and power of attorney

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

Several resources are available to help families applying for Medicaid. Wisconsin’s Aging and Disability Resource Centers can provide more insight into what criteria must be met for eligibility, and they also can provide screenings to confirm financial and physical eligibility for the Long-Term Care Programs. Application assistance is also available by calling ACCESS, the online application portal.   

ProgramContactServices provided
Healthy Connections(888) 549-0820South Carolina’s Medicaid program, Healthy Connections has staff who can help families with their application or answer general questions via their helpline. A listing of FAQs is also available online.
SC Thrive(800) 726-8774Connecting individuals to benefits, SC Thrive conducts benefit screenings to determine what resources may be available for seniors.
Area Agencies on AgingVarious by locationLocated in counties across the state, Area Agencies on Aging can connect families to SHIP counselors who can explain the differences between Medicaid and Medicare and answer questions about benefits and eligibility.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in South Carolina?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in South Carolina. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in South Carolina.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in South Carolina

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Memory Care affordable.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Memory Care.
Reverse MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Memory Care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Memory Care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Memory Care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in South Carolina

A number of low-cost or free resources exist in South Carolina to help those affected by Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Caregiver support and support groups as well as legal advocacy and advice are some of resources offered statewide. 

South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman800-868-9095Staffed by volunteers, the South Carolina Long Term Care Ombudsman advocates for individuals and families experiencing elder abuse or those who have concerns or complaints related to their care. Ombudsmen also provide education in person, virtually and through emails to the community about resident long-term care rights.  
Alzheimer’s Association — South Carolina Chapter800-272-3900The local branch of the national nonprofit, the South Carolina Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association offers early stage dementia programs, one-on-one counseling, caregiver respite, support groups and advocacy training.
Legal Assistance for SeniorsContact through local Area Agency on AgingThe Legal Assistance for Seniors program provides pro bono legal advice and representation to eligible low-income seniors who need legal help pertaining to long-term care issues, consumer fraud, estate planning or Medicaid and Medicare denials. 
South Carolina Department on Aging800-868-9095The state agency that ensures seniors have access to services and supports they need, the South Carolina Department on Aging connects families with health benefits counseling, disease management programs and family caregiver support in the form of respite, counseling and financial assistance. 
Alzheimer’s Resource Coordination CenterContact via websiteA combined state and local effort of agencies and consumers supporting those living with Alzheimer’s disease, the ARCC educates, informs and coordinates services to improve memory care for seniors and their families.  

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in South Carolina

Assisted living communities and facilities that provide memory care services for two or more non-related adults in South Carolina must be licensed by the South Carolina Board of Health and Environmental Control. These facilities are known as community residential care facilities (CRCFs), and CRCFs that offer Alzheimer’s care are referred to as Alzheimer’s special care units (SCUs).

Scope of CareFacilities can only admit and retain residents with needs that can be safely met at the facility based on the availability of skilled and unskilled staff, as well as any behavioral and/or medical issues presented by the residents.
Care Plan RequirementsNew residents must be assessed by a direct care staff member from the facility within 72 hours of admission to determine if the resident is suitable for long-term placement in the facility. Within 7 days, the facility must develop a customized individual care plan (ICP) for the resident, and that plan must be reviewed at least once every 6 months or less, particularly if there are changes in the residents' behavior or medical status.
Medication Management RequirementsMemory care staff who have been trained in medication administration by a licensed nurse may administer routine prescription medications such as oral and topical medications. Injectables including B-12 shots and insulin can only be administered by a licensed registered nurse, with the exception of an emergency injection (Epi-pen) to treat anaphylactic reactions.
Staff Screening RequirementsFacility administrators are responsible for screening all direct and indirect care staff to determine their suitability for employment in a memory care program.
Staff Training RequirementsEach facility must have a designated administrator approved by the state Board of Long-Term Health Care Administrators, as well as a designated staff member who is responsible in the absence of the administrator. Facilities that serve Medicaid members must also have a licensed nurse on site at least one day each week, and all memory care staff need to be trained in basic first aid, infectious disease control, medication management and the care of people living with memory loss.
Medicaid CoverageFacilities that accept Medicaid members must have a licensed nurse on-staff, and that nurse needs to be on-site at least one day each week.
Reporting AbuseAbuse should be reported to local law enforcement authorities or South Carolina's Long Term Care Ombudsman at 1-800-868-9095.

Frequently Asked Questions

Directory of Memory Care Facilities in South Carolina

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Memory Care in South Carolina

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The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

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