It may be called the graying of South Carolina.
The state’s population over 60 now numbers about 950,000. According to the Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging that number is expected to grow to 1.8 million by the year 2030. Lawmakers are concerned about the state being prepared for the growing demand of services needed for seniors.
Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell has been invited to address the General Assembly in Joint session on Feb. 12 on the state of aging in South Carolina.
Richland County Sen. Darrell Jackson says he hopes the Lieutenant Governor’s “State of Aging” address will be a call to action for lawmakers.
“The state of aging is going to be such a major part of what we need to be addressing as a state from a budget standpoint and from a socialization standpoint. We need to get a handle on it.”
The Office on Aging is asking lawmakers for $4.7 million more next year to keep up with the needs. Those funds would go for the expansion of various services for seniors to stay in their homes including Meals on Wheels, food services at senior centers, and transportation for medical services. Jackson is confident that McConnell will drive home the point that the state has an obligation to take of its seniors.
“It is something that I would like for my colleagues to hear, and the goal would be having heard the message we would then develop policies so that we may be proactive.”
Jackson points out that there are growing numbers of persons over 60 from out-of-state choosing South Carolina as the place to retire, and that will add to the number of seniors that must be served. A democrat Jackson says now is the time to develop bipartisan legislative initiatives to make sure these growing number of seniors are taken care of well into the future.
“I think McConnell or maybe it was someone else has said that this would be like a tidal wave coming into this state if we don’t address this. It is going to be something that would be very devastating to us if we are not on top of it.”
Jackson says how the state serves the growing population of seniors is very much a bipartisan issue and sees lawmakers working together in order to hammer out solutions.