COLUMBIA, S.C. (SCRN/WVOC) - Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell is asking legislators to set aside an extra $3-million in next year's budget to help South Carolinians who stay at home to care for elderly or disabled family members.
McConnell, who heads the Office on Aging as part of his responsibilities, unveiled a new statewide plan this week for what's known as respite care.
Currently, the state offers $500 vouchers for a caregiver to pay someone else to be with their family member for a day.
But he says caregivers are afraid to use that voucher to take an often much-needed break because they're worried they might need the voucher if an emergency comes up.
So McConnell says he wants a caregiver to get four vouchers per year.
He says it saves the state money in the long term to help keep caregivers from burning out and helps keep elderly patients from becoming the state's responsibility.
“It's a good cost-cutter,” McConnell says. “It's a great thing to do for the families across South Carolina. It allows families to stay together and it ends up being pro-active on the front end and preventing high costs on the back end.”
The plan would also create a website which links caregivers with non-profit groups that can offer the care for a day.
And it tries to encourage churches to become more involved in the process.