I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Charleston, SC

Well-loved by locals and tourists alike for its rich American history, natural beauty and remarkably friendly people, Charleston effortlessly captivates retirees who desire sophisticated Southern living. South Carolina’s biggest city has 14.6% or over 20,000 of its residents who are seniors 65 and older. Aside from its commitment to promoting healthy lifestyles, the Holy City is home to four hospitals, including MUSC Health University Medical Center, which is nationally recognized as the Palmetto State’s top hospital.

Charleston’s warm coastal climate is perfect for exploring scenic beaches, tranquil parks and well-preserved architectural landmarks towered over by prominent steeples. Over a dozen indoor and outdoor museums cater to history buffs, art enthusiasts, nature/garden lovers and other seniors with diverse interests. You can go around downtown on a horse carriage, take a ferry to Fort Sumter or simply stroll along the Battery, Waterfront Park and several cobblestone streets with stately homes.

As a peninsula and port city, Charleston is also famous for its Southern seafood fare. The city’s midrange cost of living makes occasional visits to oyster bars and waterfront restaurants of different cuisines an enjoyable treat. World-class entertainment can be experienced at the Dock Street Theatre and during the 17-day Spoleto Festival USA.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Charleston, SC

Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey shows that Charleston has similar home care and home health care costs at $4,767 per month. For most providers, home health care typically costs more due to the addition of clinical services, such as medical supervision, medication management and skilled nursing.

The estimated monthly home care costs were calculated by Genworth based on a service schedule of 44 hours per week. Actual costs may vary according to the number of hours you require for in-home care. You may calculate your expected monthly cost based on Charleston’s average rate for either home care or home health care, which is $25 per hour.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

In South Carolina, Charleston is the most expensive area for in-home care. If you prefer more affordable coastal areas, Myrtle Beach saves you approximately $600 per month on either home care or home health care, which costs $4,147. The Hilton Head Island area costs $4,385 for either care option, nearly $400 less than Charleston. South Carolina’s inland areas mostly have affordable in-home care costs below $4,000, except for state capital Columbia, where home care and home health care costs are $4,242 and $4,290, respectively.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care and home health care are on the expensive side compared to other senior care options in Charleston. These options may cost more if you need longer care hours and higher clinical support. The priciest care option is nursing home care at $7,330 per month, costing over $2,500 more than in-home care. Assisted living is significantly more affordable at $3,600, nearly $1,200 less while covering accommodations, meals and 24-hour supervision. The cheapest care option is adult day care at $1,343 per month, providing hourly or daily social programs and limited medical support in a nonresidential setting.

III. How to Find Home Care in Charleston, SC

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Charleston, SC.

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Remember that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong choice – it comes down to choosing a provider that you feel comfortable with and who’s capable of meeting your specific needs. No matter which provider you choose, you should always have a formal arrangement with your expectations and the payment rate in writing. Doing so will prevent confusion or potential disagreements down the line so that the focus remains on helping the person receiving care.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Charleston, SC

Trident Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
Trident AAA contracts with providers of home and community-based services that are mandated by the Older Americans Act. These services include in-home care, nutrition programs, senior transportation, health promotion activities and legal services. As an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center, the agency’s Regional Information Referral and Assistance Specialist Program helps Charleston seniors and their caregivers make informed long-term care decisions. Trident AAA also administers the Family Caregiver Support Program and has local State Health Insurance Assistance Program counselors to provide information and assistance on Medicare-related concerns.

Who Is Eligible?
The Eligibility Screening and Assessment Coordination Program of Trident AAA takes a holistic approach in identifying the needs of seniors in Charleston. Participants undergo comprehensive assessments to determine the services they’re qualified to receive, including home care and home-delivered meals. Referrals to other programs and services are also provided.

How to Get Started
You may call (843) 554-2275 to schedule an assessment, talk to a SHIP counselor, request assistance on SNAP applications and make other inquiries. Also, check out the Trident AAA’s Aging and Disability Resource Directory for a list of available senior-friendly services in Charleston.

Charleston Area Senior Citizens, Inc.

What You Should Know
CASC administers the Meals on Wheels of Charleston program, which provides nutritious home-delivered meals daily and quick safety checks to homebound seniors. This agency has a Food Pantry Program and facilitates a Group Dining program at the CASC Downtown Senior Center every weekday for qualified seniors, where they are also offered recreational and educational programs. For seniors looking for affordable housing, CASC has Section 8 apartments for rent at the Ansonborough House, located in downtown Charleston.

Who Is Eligible?
Seniors who are at least 60 and with limited mobility may qualify for Meals on Wheels. The limited daily congregate meals offered under the Group Dining program prioritize low-income seniors who are frail or with multiple health conditions. Emergency food services at the Food Pantry are available to all Greater Charleston residents, regardless of age. Eligible Ansonborough House tenants must be families whose head, spouse or sole member is a low-income senior aged 62 or older, but priority is given to homeless elderly applicants, those at risk of becoming homeless and those currently paying more than 50% of their income for rent.

How to Get Started
Contact CASC at (843) 722-4127 to apply for Meals on Wheels and other food services, and call the Ansonborough House Property Manager at (843) 723-8613 for housing inquiries.

Community Long-Term Care Office – Area 10 (Charleston)

What You Should Know
The DHSS Regional Office in North Charleston handles applications for Community Long-Term Care, a South Carolina Medicaid program. The CLTC Community Choices waiver covers the costs of personal care, adult day health care, limited nursing services, respite care and environmental modifications, as well as personal emergency response systems and limited incontinence supplies.

Who Is Eligible?
CLTC recipients must be eligible for Medicaid.

How to Get Started
Applications for Medicaid and CLTC may be made online. For in-person applications or questions regarding other possible application requirements, visit the CLTC Area 10 office or call (843) 529-0142.

Palmetto CAP – Weatherization and LIHEAP

What You Should Know
The Weatherization Assistance Program and Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Charleston are administered by Palmetto Community Action Partnership. Free weatherization services include insulation, furnace tune-up, weather-stripping and caulking and other energy-efficient modifications to help homeowners save on utility costs. LIHEAP grants assistance with utility bill payments to a qualified renter or homeowner at most once per year and may also provide free minor heating and A/C repairs. Palmetto CAP has a General Emergency Assistance Program for rent, food, prescription drugs and vehicle repair expenses.

Who Is Eligible?
Low-income seniors meeting the Federal income eligibility guidelines are prioritized on weatherization applications and must live in single-family homes in Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester counties. The same income and residency criteria apply for LIHEAP, but applicants are assessed individually.

How to Get Started
Call (843) 720-5336 for applications and inquiries on the Palmetto CAP’s weatherization program. For LIHEAP, general emergency assistance, tax preparation assistance and other available social services, call (844) 769-6448.

Lowcountry Food Bank CFSP

What You Should Know
Dedicated to USDA nutrition for seniors in Charleston, the local Commodity Supplemental Food Program provides a free monthly supply of nutritious food items such as canned fruit, vegetables, meat, cheese, pasta, cereals and fruit juice. This food assistance helps vulnerable seniors prevent hunger and save their limited budget for other important needs.

Who Is Eligible?
To be eligible for CSFP in Charleston, residents must be 60 and older and meet USDA’s income guidelines.

How to Get Started
Visit or call your nearest CSFP distribution site to apply and inquire on when food boxes are available. For other inquiries, call Lowcountry Food Bank at 843 (747-8146) loc. 103.

Charleston Senior Centers

What You Should Know
Owned by the City of Charleston and managed by Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Lowcountry Senior Center in James Island and Waring Senior Center in West Ashley offer recreational, social and educational programs that enhance the health and wellness of 50+ adults. Flexible membership options include Basic (annual, without fitness center access), Gold (annual) and short-term (monthly).

Who Is Eligible?
Membership rates are different for Charleston County and out-of-county residents aged 50 and older. Scholarships and payment plan options are available to lower-income seniors.

How to Get Started
For more information about Charleston’s senior center programs, call LSC at (843) 990-5555 and WSC at (843) 402-1990.