The Older Americans Act (OAA) is a federal program that gives money to each state to provide assistance to elderly Americans who live outside of nursing homes. The goal is to help them remain living independently in their homes. In South Carolina, the federal money is distributed to 10 local agencies. These are referred to as Area Agencies on Aging (AAA). Each local agency establishes a series of programs with the funds they have been granted. Some agencies provide assistance themselves, while others choose to sub-contract out the hands-on assistance to local providers.
The services each Area Agency on Aging provides differs in each region of the state. Typically, they include home delivered and / or congregate meals, information and referrals, transportation assistance, and caregiver support and training.
One should not expect services provided under the Older Americans Act to meet all of an aging person’s needs. OAA services can contribute but are not a solution in and of themselves.
When seeking assistance from SC AAA’s under the Older Americans Act funding, one needs to think both of eligibility criteria and prioritization to constituents.
Any senior resident of South Carolina aged 60+ is eligible to receive assistance under the Older Americans Act. However, funding is finite. Each agency receives a limited amount of funding each year and therefore each agency is forced to prioritize who within the counties they serve receives services. Also, they will determine if there will be sliding scale fees for services.
Minorities, especially those with limited English skills, rural area residents, particularly those with limited options for other assistance in their geographic areas, and lower income seniors are prioritized for services. Prioritization is at the AAA level, not statewide.
Did You Know?
South Carolina also offers support services for seniors in their homes and in assisted living communities through a Medicaid program called the Community Choices Waiver. While the eligibility requirements are more restrictive than the Older Americans Act, the services are much broader and can possibly cover all an aging individual’s care needs. Read more.
Benefits and Services
Each Area Agency on Aging offers different benefits in their region. Not all of the following are available in all areas.
- Caregiver training
- Congregate meals
- Home delivered meals
- Home living support – assistance with activities of daily living and activities of instrumental daily living, such as mobility, toiletry, dressing, light housekeeping, and preparing meals
- Information and referral services
- Medicare / insurance counseling
- Respite care – allows the primary caregiver a break from caregiving duties
- Transportation or transportation assistance (typically for medical appointments and other essential activities)
How to Apply / Learn More
South Carolina residents in need of assistance or their caregivers should contact the AAA that serves the county in which they live. Note that in SC, Area Agencies on Aging are also referred to as Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ARDCs).
Region I – Appalachia Area Agency
Counties: Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Oconee, Pickens, and Spartanburg
Region 2 – Upper Savannah Area Agency
Counties: Abbeville, Edgefield, Greenwood, Laurens, McCormick and, Saluda
864-941-8069 or 800-922-7729
Region 3 – Catawba Area Agency
Counties: Chester, Lancaster, York, and Union
803-329-9670 or 800-662-8330
Region 4 – Central Midlands Area Agency
Counties: Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, and Richland
803-376-5390 or 866-394-4166
Region 5 – Lower Savannah Area
Counties: Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun, and Orangeburg
Region 6 – Santee-Lynches Area Agency
Counties: Clarendon, Kershaw, Lee, and Sumter
Region 7 – Pee Dee Area Agency
Counties: Chesterfield, Darlington, Dillon, Florence, Marion, and Marlboro
Region 8 – Waccamaw Area Agency
Counties: Georgetown, Horry, and Williamsburg
Region 9 – Trident Area Agency
Counties: Berkeley, Charleston, and Dorchester
Region 10 – Lowcountry Area Agency
Counties: Beaufort, Colleton, Hampton, and Jasper