Family Caregiver Support

Over 770,000 family caregivers in South Carolina provide 737 million hours of 'free' services to their chronically ill, disabled, or frail elderly loved ones each year. If their services had to be replaced by care workers paid $10.04 per hour, the cost would be almost $7.4 billion each year.

Are you a caregiver looking for support?

This page has information about our agency’s mission and programs. If you are a caregiver in need of support, please visit to find resources.

Caregiving Takes a Toll

On Individuals:

  • Unpaid family caregivers provide 80% of all long term care in the U.S.
  • Family caregivers are at higher risk for stress, depression, physical and financial problems, and increased mortality. These problems may impede their ability to give care now and support their own care needs in the future.
  • The caregiver's own physical health is an influential factor in the decision to place an impaired relative in a long term care facility.

On Our Economy:

  • The average caregiver foregoes $659,139 in salary and retirement benefits over the course of a lifetime.
  • U.S. businesses lose $11 to $29 billion per year due to decreased productivity by stressed working caregivers and replacement costs when employees resign to become full‐time caregivers.

How Our Programs Help

Most caregivers are ill‐prepared for their role and receive little or no support. Respite, counseling, and support are shown to reduce costs.

Respite is a short break from caregiving. Respite decreases the risk to caregivers, reduces the risk of acute hospital admissions, and helps prevent or delay costly placements in assisted living facilities or nursing homes. Counseling and support groups also improve health outcomes, decrease feelings of loneliness, and extend caregiving.

South Carolina Caregiver Support Program

South Carolina's statewide, consumer-directed model builds on current research and best practice to support family caregivers, who are the backbone of our long‐term care system in SC.

Administered locally by the ten Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), each AAA has a full‐time Family Caregiver Advocate who works directly with family caregivers, providing:

  • Information and assistance in accessing existing community services
  • Support and counseling
  • Caregiver training

Eligible caregivers may also obtain a mini‐grant to purchase respite or supplemental services from the provider of their choice.

Target Populations

  • Unpaid adults caring for someone who is frail or disabled (60 or older)
  • Unpaid adults caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Grandparents or relative caregivers (55 or older) raising a child 18 or younger
  • Grandparents (55 or older) caring for a disabled adult (19‐59 years)


  • Regional Family Caregiver Advocates worked one‐on‐one with caregivers, providing counseling, support, and help in gaining access to available community services. Many more caregivers received caregiver information.
  • Eligible caregivers receiving a mini‐grant were able to purchase services from the provider of their choice or arrange for a neighbor or family member to provide in‐ home respite. The average respite grant was $460.