Living in South Carolina: What are the Options for Senior Citizens?

Senior citizens, or retirees, are defined as those aged 65 and older in South Carolina. Although 29% of South Carolinians over the age of 55 are still a strong part of the workforce, many seniors have taken the time to enjoy their retirement years. Those still in their 60s probably haven’t packed up to move to a retirement home just yet, as many seniors choose to stay in their current homes.

However, there are many different living arrangements options for senior citizens, and some seniors’ living arrangements may need to change as they get older. Here are three options for living arrangements for seniors in South Carolina.

Independent Living

Nearly 90% of senior citizens want to live independently, particularly by staying in their current homes. This is known as aging in place, and it’s possible for many seniors to do, regardless of their age. Successfully aging in place requires seniors to be able to remain safe, comfortable, and independent to have the best outcomes. This could mean that some have to make minor renovations to their homes to allow all three of these things to happen, but it’s worth it because this living arrangement promotes a positive quality of life.

Seniors in South Carolina can also live independently outside of their homes— in a retirement community. South Carolina is home to many retirement communities, as it’s a popular place to retire. Other than providing cooking, cleaning, and transportation services, these are fully independent living facilities that serve the 55 and older community. Seniors get to enjoy a variety of amenities and activities with those their age, all for an average of $1,880 a month.

Assisted Living

For those seniors who may not be able to live a fully independent life, South Carolina has more than 330 assisted living facilities. Some retirement communities may provide help with transportation and housework, but assisted living also provides help with eating, dressing, and other activities of daily living. Some types of assisted living facilities, such as nursing homes, even provide medical care.

Unfortunately, assisted living facilities tend to have higher incidents of elder abuse and neglect, in South Carolina and the U.S. as a whole. This is due to a combination of employee burnout (many nursing homes are understaffed) and the fact that residents of assisted living facilities have less mobility and are “easy targets”. Still, assisted living is the better option for those who can’t live independently safely and comfortably. The key to avoiding abuse and neglect in assisted living facilities is to know the signs and to choose higher-quality facilities— which typically provide better care.

Living with Family

Those who don’t want to put their aging family members in an assisted living facility have the option of moving their loved ones into their homes. This is another popular living arrangement for seniors because they get to be close to their families and their family members have greater peace of mind. Seniors moving in with their family works best when the home is large enough for them to have a space to themselves, particularly their own bedroom and ideally their own bathroom as well.

However, caregivers are just as susceptible to burnout as assisted living workers are— especially if their aging loved one isn’t fully independent. This burnout can also lead to the same type of elder abuse and neglect seen in some nursing homes. Fortunately, South Carolina has both adult day care centers and respite care for those who need care for their aging loved ones throughout the day and/or evenings and for those who may need a longer break, respectively. Adult day care centers can cost about $2,000 a month, while respite care can range from $6,000 to $11,000 a month.

There are many living options available for seniors in South Carolina— choosing the right one just depends on each individual’s needs and what is the safest option for them. Seniors who are fully (or mostly) independent can successfully age in place as long as they’re safe, comfortable, and have a great support system around them. Those who need help with several activities of daily living should be placed in a quality assisted living facility that puts their health and safety first. Finally, seniors can move in with their families if they feel that is the best option for everyone, but caregivers must seek help if they ever start to feel like the task they’ve taken on is too much.

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