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

As South Carolina’s capital and first AARP member, Columbia is an ideal option for Southern urban retirement. Its great affordability, warm climate, friendly people and vibrant arts and culture contribute to a desirable quality of life for aging adults. Over 13,000 or about 10% of the city’s residents are 65 and older, and their health care needs are supported by Prisma Health, Providence Health and VA medical facilities, as well as community-based senior care providers.

Columbia’s 15-minute average commute lets seniors fully enjoy everything that a capital city has to offer. The tree-lined Main Street District has complimentary shuttle services to help them get around, while the Three Rivers Greenway has ADA-accessible trails to let them easily connect with nature. Arts enthusiasts can visit the Columbia Museum of Art and see diverse productions from the city’s many theater groups. For world-class entertainment, the Koger Center for the Arts and Township Auditorium have accessible seating and assistive listening devices available.

Lifelong learning opportunities are within reach in Columbia, as the University of South Carolina offers tuition-free courses for residents 60 and older. Richland Library supports homebound seniors through book delivery services, and its library social workers can provide free assistance with various public benefits such as Medicaid, Medicare Rx, SNAP and housing.

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

Based on the Genworth 2020 Cost of Care Survey, the average monthly costs for home care and home health care in Columbia are $4,242 and $4,290, respectively. Home health care normally costs more than home care because it covers ancillary services such as medication assistance and intermittent skilled nursing services.

The surveyed monthly in-home care costs by Genworth are based on fixed hourly rates and a weekly 44-hour schedule. Depending on the number of hours you require in receiving care at home, you can expect to pay below or above the provided monthly estimates. For a more precise calculation of your monthly care, use Columbia’s average hourly rates which are $22.25 for home care and $22.50 for home health care.

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

In-home care in Columbia is considered expensive compared to most other areas in South Carolina, costing about $100-$200 above the state averages for home care and home health care. A more affordable option in the Midlands region is Sumter at $3,909 for both in-home care options, cheaper than Columbia by around $330-$380. All other inland cities are more affordable as well, including Florence and Spartanburg which range below $4,000. Coastal city Charleston has the most expensive in-home care costs at $4,767, about $500 more than Columbia.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Columbia’s in-home care costs are comparable to assisted living, which is only slightly higher at $4,299 and already covers monthly accommodations, daily meals and round-the-clock supervision. Home care and home health care may cost higher than assisted living if you require more hours of in-home services. Adult day care at $1,274 is the most affordable option for those who have family caregivers or are able to receive care services outside their homes. And because nursing home care provides 24-hour specialized support, it is the most expensive care option at $7,148 per month.

III. How to Find Home Care in Columbia, 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 Columbia, SC.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

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 Columbia, SC

Central Midlands Area Agency on Aging

What You Should Know
The Central Midlands Council of Governments fulfills AAA responsibilities as required by the Older Americans Act and with guidance from the Regional Aging Advisory Committee. Its Family Caregiver Support Program provides caregiver counseling, education and training, as well as respite care and limited supplemental services for their care recipients. As the designated Aging and Disability Resource Center for Columbia, it provides a single entry point for accessing long-term services and supports. The Central Midlands AAA/ADRC also provides free Medicare counseling services through I-CARE (Insurance Counseling Assistance and Referrals for Elders) and administers the state’s SC Respite, Alzheimer’s Respite and Assisted Rides programs.

Who Is Eligible?
ADRC services are available to seniors 60 and older, adults and veterans with disabilities, and their families and caregivers, who reside in the Central Midlands AAA’s four-county service area. Subject to a waiting list, respite vouchers for FCSP, PACE, SC Respite, Alzheimer’s Respite, Community Long-Term Care and VA beneficiaries qualify caregivers of 60+ seniors and those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, as well as seniors who are raising children and caring for disabled adults.

How to Get Started
Call (803) 376-5390 to talk to an Information, Referral and Assistance specialist or to request I-CARE services. You may also refer to the Central Midlands AAA/ADRC’s Senior and Disability Services Directory for a list of local community resources and service providers.

Senior Resources, Inc.

What You Should Know
Senior Resources supports Columbia area seniors in three areas of care through nutrition, in-home services and active living programs. It administers the Meals on Wheels, Food Co-op and Senior Care Pantry programs, providing homebound seniors with hot meals, fresh produce and shelf-stable groceries. The agency’s Home Care program assists recipients with the activities of daily living and may provide walkers, wheelchairs and assistive medical devices when necessary. Other available services include Senior Wheels medical transportation, the Senior Companions volunteer program and Pet Pals monthly food supply for the companion pets of Meals on Wheels clients. Senior Resources also offers intergenerational engagement opportunities through the Foster Grandparents program and manages four community wellness centers for social and recreational activities.

Who Is Eligible?
Frail and homebound Richland County seniors are eligible for Meals on Wheels regardless of income, and at no cost or based on a sliding fee scale. All other supportive services are also offered for free or at reduced costs based on financial eligibility. The Senior Companions and Foster Grandparents volunteer programs qualify adults 55+ with monthly incomes less than $2,000.

How to Get Started
Get in touch with a Senior Resources social worker at (803) 252-7734 for assistance with obtaining services and resources based on your situation and needs.

Prisma Health SeniorCare PACE

What You Should Know
The SeniorCare Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly by Prisma Health supports frail seniors through adult day health services which include social and recreational activities, meals and snacks, nursing care, rehabilitative therapy and social services. PACE recipients may also benefit from primary and specialty care, laboratory and outpatient medical services, home health care and in-hospital care as part of a holistic care plan by a multidisciplinary care team.

Who Is Eligible?
PACE recipients must be seniors 55+ who are determined by the SC Department of Health and Human Services to require a nursing home level of care but are able to remain safely in their communities. They must be residents of Richland, Lexington and Greenville Counties, and select areas in Anderson and Pickens Counties.

How to Get Started
SeniorCare PACE has two locations in Columbia, one in neighboring West Columbia and another in nearby Chapin. You may enroll for PACE through referral by a family member, physician or case manager. For more information, call the Intake Department at (803) 931-8175 or send an email inquiry to [email protected].

Community Long Term Care Office – Area 5 (Columbia)

What You Should Know
The DHSS Regional Office in Columbia receives local applications for Community Long Term Care waiver programs under Health Connections (SC Medicaid). For eligible seniors who wish to remain at home, the CLTC Community Choices waiver may help them delay nursing home placement by providing personal care services, home-delivered meals, respite care and adult day health care with limited nursing services. It also covers personal emergency response systems, home safety modifications and limited incontinence supplies.

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

How to Get Started
You may apply for Health Connections and CLTC waiver programs online or by contacting the CLTC Area 5 office in Columbia at (803) 255-8208.

WCAI: Weatherization Assistance Program and LIHEAP

What You Should Know
Wateree Community Actions, Inc., administers the Weatherization Assistance Program and Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program in Columbia. WAP provides energy-efficient home improvements that lower their utility costs and improve the safety of low-income seniors, disabled adults and families. Weatherization services may include thermal insulation, air sealing and caulking, window and door repairs or replacements and installation of CFL bulbs. WCAI also provides bill payment and energy crisis assistance through LIHEAP.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility for WAP and LIHEAP are subject to income limits based on household size.

How to Get Started
Contact the WCAI Columbia office for LIHEAP/WAP applications at (803) 786-4250.