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Almost 2 million residents of the state of South Carolina are eligible for senior discounts. In other words, more than 37 percent of the state’s population is over the age of 50. Let’s take a look at the state of older adults in South Carolina and how they compare to their counterparts across the U.S.
South Carolina’s median age of 39.7 is more than a full year higher than the U.S. median age of 38.5, and the state’s median age has risen by the seventh-highest rate among all the states, 5 percent.
The state’s life expectancy, on the other hand, is lower than the national rate, and senior-led households in South Carolina have below-average annual income levels, and adults 55 and older are less likely to be working.
*Includes Black, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or individuals of one or more other races, and Hispanic/Latinx people of any race.
Senior Living Costs in South Carolina
Boasting a housing index of 92.60, South Carolina is cheaper than average when it comes to cost of living. You can get a one bedroom apartment in South Carolina for an average of $634 a month (the U.S. average being $825 a month), or a two bedroom apartment for an average of $767 a month (the U.S. average is $1027 a month).
Wondering what the monthly costs of living are like for seniors in South Carolina? To start, the average home health care costs are approximately $3,623 a month. Home health care services enable the elderly to live in their own homes while receiving help to keep the house clean, run everyday errands, and prep meals.
Seniors who need a supervised place to stay and socialize in during the day while their caregivers are busy tending to their other obligations can look into an adult day care facility in South Carolina. The average cost to stay at an adult day care facility in the state is $1,192 a month. Since adult day care does not include round the clock care, it's best for those who are mostly independent.
Assisted living facilities are available throughout South Carolina to provide older people more assistance with their day to day tasks. For an average monthly cost of $2,865 a month, seniors get access to get personal care and health services.
Lastly, nursing homes in South Carolina operate to provide 24/7 supervision and care to seniors who are not able to live independently and do not have a caregiver to help take care of them. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $6,418 a month, while a private room is about $6,844 a month. Residents can expect to receive personal care, medication, housing, supervision, round the clock skilled nursing care, and therapies and rehabilitation.
South Carolina's Senior Living Options
When compared to all fifty states, South Carolina is ranked 38th in Long-Term Care and 36th in the country’s health rankings. Twenty-six percent of the state’s seniors live alone. This makes the need for quality housing options for these and all seniors very important and, fortunately, South Carolina offers a plethora of senior living options.
Depending on individual circumstances and needs, seniors in South Carolina can opt for independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Find out more about each option below to get an idea of which one would suit your lifestyle best.
There are more than 180 independent living facilities statewide in South Carolina. Independent living is ideal for elderly individuals who are healthy and active, and don't require 24/7 nursing care. The average costs of independent living facilities in this state range anywhere from $511 to $3,250 a month. The lowest independent living costs in the state are found in the Florence area, while the more expensive facilities are in the Hilton Head Island-Bluffton-Beaufort metropolitan area.
Seniors who prefer apartment style living can choose from a variety of 55+ or 65+ apartment communities, which usually also offers great amenities like fitness centers, walking trails, pools and jacuzzis, meeting rooms, and more for residents to utilize.
Retirement Communities in South Carolina
There are many reasons to consider moving to the gorgeous, fascinating and historical state of South Carolina as you are ponder where you want to live out your retirement. The entire state is filled with antebellum structures and stunning mansions which demonstrate the Southern charm of plantation culture. And, entire sections of Charleston remain intact due to preservation laws that have long been in effect.
But, South Carolina offers more than southern charm for those who choose to retire to the Palmetto State. According to 2010 United States census data, 14% of South Carolina’s residents are seniors. This means that should you decide to retire to South Carolina, you’ll discover lots of new friends your age and you’ll find that the state already has an infrastructure set up and prepared to handle the needs and desires of seniors.
As we have already discussed, South Carolina’s housing index falls below the national average. This is good news for many since 8% of senior households in South Carolina have an annual income less than $10K and 28% survive on less than $20K; however, the median household income for a South Carolina senior is $2.9K per month with the average Social Security Income being more than $1.4K per month. Twenty-five percent of the state’s residents who are 60 and above receive assistance through the food stamp program.
South Carolina provides employment opportunities for seniors as well. More than 94.4K of the state’s seniors continue to work as they follow their retirement dreams.
South Carolina is home to more than 330 assisted living facilities, which operate to provide seniors with attentive caregivers, healthcare, and access to local and social activities. Residents can expect to get assistance with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour staffing to ensure safety. It costs anywhere from $930 to $5,910 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in this state. Similar to independent living facilities, assisted living costs tend to be higher in the metropolitan areas and lower in the suburban towns.
There are 160 memory care facilities in South Carolina to tend to seniors living with dementia related ailments. Memory care facilities do an incredible job at reducing the frustrations of memory loss, with professional staff always on hand to assist seniors who are lost from wandering, and to assist with completing daily tasks like personal grooming and taking medications. Memory care facilities cost $50,003 per year on average, with the most expensive ones in the Hilton Head Island area that cost $73,260 a year. Florence has the lowest cost memory care facilities, averaging $35,383 a year.
South Carolina has been very proactive in handling it's aging population, building communities that specifically cater to senior lifestyles and needs, and allows them to be closer to their children and grandchildren. For seniors needing extra care, they'll have 630 senior living providers to choose from.
Adult daycare centers provide assistance to seniors, including three meals a day and assistance with daily tasks such as personal grooming, exercise, and more. The most expensive adult daycare centers are located around the Hilton Head Island metropolitan area, costing an average of $20,280 a year. Spartanburg has the lowest average costs for adult daycare centers, averaging an impressively low $12,350 per year, which is far below the national average of $23,400 per year.
Hospice care is designed to give terminally ill seniors a better quality of life during their final days. Hospices have trained staff to administer medications that mitigate the pain and suffering that often accompanies terminal illnesses. Seniors will also find chaplain services and counseling for themselves and their families. There are 165 hospices in South Carolina, which can be paid for with Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurances.
Respite care facilities are often of great use to seniors and their primary caregivers, when their caregiver is family such as a spouse or son/daughter. Caring for a disabled senior can be very trying, and the caregiver will need time off to recharge and to be able to take care of their other life responsibilities. Respite care in South Carolina is below the national average, coming in at a low $67,525 a year. However, there are some costly respite care facilities in the state, at a high cost of $11,130 a month.
U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 1-Year Estimates Subject Tables (2010, 2017 and 2018)
Annual rental cost, Zillow Rent Index, States
Job openings, pulled from Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com in April 2020
Employment and wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 publication
Household income and population figures, U.S. Census Bureau, most recent publications on all topics