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Advocates will Turn SC State House Purple on March 6, 2024

Advocates will Turn SC State House Purple on March 6, 2024
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March 11, 2024
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For one inspiring day each spring, the grounds and the lobby of the South Carolina State House overflow with purple — the color of the Alzheimer's movement.

On Wednesday, March 6, 2024, Alzheimer's Association advocates gathered for the South Carolina Chapter's annual State House Advocacy Day. While at the capitol, advocates asked their legislators to support the Department on Aging budget request of $1.1 million to establish a Dementia Care Specialist Program with a dedicated staff person to support families facing a dementia diagnosis in ten regions across the state.

>> Email your state legislators today to add your support!
“We know that this will be a busy day at the State House for legislators and advocates alike,” said Cindy Alewine, Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, South Carolina Chapter. “Fittingly, our annual event coincides with Mental Health Advocacy Day and the work of the Hospital Association. From the physical and mental well-being of caregivers to the increasing burden on healthcare systems, dementia is a costly and growing public health crisis that our state must address with interventions that support individuals and families facing a diagnosis.”
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2023 Alzheimer's Disease Facts and Figures report, there are 95,0000 South Carolinians living with Alzheimer’s and an estimated 216,000 family members or friends providing unpaid care for them. By 2050, the number of South Carolinians age 65 and older with Alzheimer’s is projected to increase by 26% to 120,000. In 2022, Alzheimer’s and other dementias cost American taxpayers an estimated $321 billion, and the cost is projected to rise to nearly $1 trillion by 2050.
The proposed Dementia Care Specialist Program to be housed at the South Carolina Department on Aging would support individuals living with dementia and their caregivers in order to ensure the highest quality of life possible while living at home. Specialists would provide community outreach, promote programs that safely engage individuals with dementia in local social activities, conduct education for caregivers and family members and connect families to local resources, such as respite and sitter service.
“Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia is a life-changing diagnosis for individuals. It also has a profound effect on the South Carolina caregivers who provide 355 million hours of unpaid care each year for their loved ones, often at the expense of their own health and financial standing,” said Alewine. “Dementia care specialists are fiscally responsible investments that can help reduce the burden on families — as well as on taxpayers.”
As of 2020, Medicaid costs topped $652 million for the care of people with Alzheimer’s in South Carolina. Meanwhile, per capita Medicare spending on people with dementia is $26,789 (in 2022 dollars).  The proposed Dementia Care Specialist program would be a cost-effective way to assist individuals with dementia to remain in their homes and communities, if that is the most appropriate setting, versus more expensive levels of care.
In 2023, Governor McMaster signed into law the Alzheimer’s State Plan Act, which requires the South Carolina Department Aging to maintain a strategic, evidence-informed plan to address Alzheimer’s and related dementias, with annual reporting on progress presented to the legislature each year and a plan updated required every five years. The current Alzheimer’s State Plan for 2023-2028, published in March 2023, has a special focus on supportive services in the community to bring resources to those caregiving for the person with dementia. Dementia Care Specialists support this goal and the outcomes of sustainable community support for people living with dementia and caregiving for their loved ones.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most critical public health issues in America, with one in three seniors dying with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. The Alzheimer’s Association and the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement are working with policymakers to address the dementia crisis and ensure there is a coordinated response to Alzheimer’s in every state.


Alzheimer's Association

The Alzheimer's Association leads the way to end Alzheimer's and all other dementia — by accelerating global research, driving risk reduction and early detection, and maximizing quality care and support. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's and all other dementia.™ For more information, visit or call the 24/7 Helpline at 800.272.3900.

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