'Silver Tsunami' Hitting South Carolina and all of America. Most People Unprepared.

South Carolina, like many states, is getting walloped with the 'silver tsunami.' An increasingly aging population places stress on families and finances. Planning will help.

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'Silver Tsunami' Hitting South Carolina and all of America. Most People Unprepared.
5 Min Read September 10th, 2015 Updated:September 10th, 2021

America is getting older, and the U.S. Census Bureau says South Carolina has one of the largest 65-plus populations in the country. South Carolina is expected to see substantial growth in the number of older adults placing pressure on families and social services. 

The South Carolina Institute for Medicine and Public Health convened a task force on long-term health care comprised of more than 60 health care providers, advocates, and researchers several years ago. They examined aging issues and made actionable recommendations. 

The impact of aging is a national issue, but some states are seeing a more significant impact because of higher percentages of older people living in the state. 

The Silver Tsunami has arrived. And it’s not slowing down.

“South Carolina has seen and will continue to see unprecedented growth in the number of older adults in our population, with increased health, social and daily living needs. We are not nearly ready to meet them.”

Professor Anna Scheyett, University of South Carolina 

The report, published by the South Carolina Institute of Medicine & Public Health in June 2015, said individuals of all ages could find themselves in need of long-term health care services due to the limitations caused by physical, cognitive, or chronic health conditions.

“Older adults, though, are more likely than most to need such services due to the limiting effects of aging. In fact, an estimated 70% of those over 65 will need Long Term Health Care in their lifetime. In 2014, an estimated 734,537 South Carolinians were age 65 and older, a number that is set to grow dramatically with the rise of the Baby Boom generation. By 2029, when the youngest Baby Boomers reach age 65, it is expected that our state’s population of older adults will exceed 1.1 million, resulting in 1 in 5 South Carolinians being over the age of 65.”

A report published by the South Carolina lnstitute of Medicine & Public Health in June 2015

“Our current system is disjointed, confusing and simply lacks the capacity to meet the current — much less future — demands. Older adults deserve to live with dignity in their homes for as long as possible and, if needed, in safe and comfortable residential settings. Family members deserve support in ensuring that their loved ones are well-cared for.”

 Professor Anna Scheyett

There are now about 1.1 million people age 60 and older in South Carolina. By the year 2030, more than 1.5 million residents in South Carolina will be aged 60 or older, which is about one in five residents. Health-related services and families will be overwhelmed. In fact, that is already the case and has been made worse due to the consequences of COVID-19.

Traditional health insurance, including Medicare and supplements, does not pay for most long-term care services and supports. Medicaid will pay for long-term care, but you must have little or no income and assets to qualify. 

Unless an individual has Long-Term Care Insurance, family members either become caregivers or use a loved one's assets to pay for professional care.

Family members are not usually prepared or trained for the job of being a caregiver, and the role places tremendous stress and anxiety on the entire family.

Long-Term Care Insurance is available; however, you cannot purchase a policy if you already have poor health or require care. LTC Insurance is usually purchased in your 40s or 50s as part of retirement planning; however, it is too late for many families in South Carolina and the rest of the country.

Cost of LTC Services Expected to Climb

Long-term health costs are costly and getting more expensive every year. For example, in Charleston, South Carolina, one year of in-home care is already averaging $49,192 a year, according to the LTC NEWS Cost of Care Calculator. In twenty-five years, that cost is expected to run about $116,000 a year.

Don't forget assisted living, memory care, and nursing home care which is also getting more expensive, placing huge financial burdens on families - South Carolina Long-Term Care | LTC News.

Planning Has Huge Benefits

South Carolina, like most states, has an active Long-Term Care Partnership Programs in place. If you own a Partnership Long-Term Care Insurance policy, you get additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection, or what regulators refer to as "asset disregard" - What is a Long-Term Care Partnership Policy? | LTC News.

The partnership program is designed to encourage more people to purchase these insurance policies and reduce the financial and emotional stress placed on families.  

The partnership program is a collaboration between the state government and insurance companies. Under this program, applicants who purchase qualifying Long-Term Care Insurance policies can access Medicaid coverage while retaining assets they would normally be required to spend on their long-term health care.

Matt McCann, a leading specialist in long-term health care planning, says that many people use partnership policies in South Carolina and other states to protect future retirement assets and guarantee they won't have to exhaust all their savings.

“Many people are concerned. They work hard to save for their future retirements. They fund their 401k’s and IRA’s, expecting that money to produce future retirement income. They feel it is an important part of retirement planning to protect these assets as make sure they are never a burden on their loved ones. However, planning for the costs and burdens of aging is more than just about money; it is about family. Affordable Long-Term Care Insurance can provide the answer for many.” 

Matt McCann, a leading specialist in Long Term Health Care Planning

The South Carolina Taskforce Report said as the baby boomers move into their older years, the cost of long-term health care both nationally and in South Carolina will be staggering. The report says many families are “forced by circumstances to confront the reality that they, a friend or a family member will need long-term care.”

The government is dealing with how they can keep up with the funding of aging programs, and Medicaid must offer for those who have little help or savings. Tax revenue is limited, and many taxpayers are unable to pay more and more taxes. 

Yet, aging is happening, and too many people ignore the problem until there are few if any, available solutions. 

Some people and companies can take advantage of federal tax incentives for Long-Term Care Insurance but often are unaware they exist. 

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About the Author

An LTC News author focusing on long-term care and aging.

LTC News Contributor James Kelly

James Kelly

Contributor since August 21st, 2017

Editor's Note

The "silver tsunami" is here and gaining steam, not just in South Carolina but nationwide. Being prepared for the costs and burdens of longevity is critical so you can enjoy a successful future retirement. 

However, planning for long-term health care is more than just about protecting your saving. Planning means access to your choice of quality care, including care at home. Planning means your loved ones won't have to be burdened with being your caregiver but instead can be family.

Start planning in your 40s or 50s. For many, affordable Long-Term Care Insurance is the solution.

Planning Tools Available on LTC NEWS

There are many available resources on LTC NEWS to assist you in learning about your options and finding the right option for you and your family.

You can compare the major insurance companies that offer Long-Term Care Insurance products here - Top Insurers for Long-Term Care Insurance | LTC News.

The Ultimate Long-Term Care Guide is an outstanding read to help you get a good overview of the topic area. There are also available tax incentives. See if these tax incentives are helpful - Long-Term Care Tax Benefits Guide.

Find all the resources on LTC NEWS - Resources for Long-Term Care Planning | LTC News.

Be sure to seek the assistance of a licensed and experienced Long-Term Care Insurance specialist. Be sure they work with the top companies, not just one, and fully understand things like:

  1. Underwriting - every company has its own rules.
  2. Partnership - Your state may have available Partnership LTC Insurance with additional dollar-for-dollar asset protection.
  3. Hybrid - Some plans combine life insurance or an annuity with long-term care benefits. They can be expensive, but they come with a death benefit.
  4. Policy Design - Many financial advisors and general insurance agents often recommend benefits too large than what you need. A specialist will understand claims and how policies get used.

Find a qualified specialist - Work With a Specialist | LTC News

Looking for Quality Caregivers? Need Help Filing an LTC Insurance Claim?

If a loved one already needs in-home care or owns a Long-Term Care Insurance policy and needs assistance filing the claim, LTC NEWS is here to help.

LTC NEWS provides free assistance with no obligation - Filing a Long-Term Care Insurance Claim | LTC News. You can also help find caregivers and get recommendations for a proper care plan, whether a person has a policy or not.

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Improve your website or blog's SEO and gain exposure and traffic at the same time by being a contributor to LTC NEWS.

Just write a story or ongoing column for LTC NEWS. Stay on topic with articles on health, aging, caregiving, retirement planning, long-term care, and other topics that interest adults over age 40. 

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Email your story idea or article: newsroom@ltcnews.com - LTC News Contributors | LTC News

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Benefits of Reverse Mortgages

There are many people today that have much of their savings invested in their home. With today's reverse mortgages, you can use the money in your home to fund a Long-Term Care Insurance policy, add retirement income, or even pay for in-home care if you need care now.  Learn more now - Reverse Mortgages | LTC News.

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