Know your facts

  • Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dear Editor,
The Lieutenant Governor's Office on Aging and Disability is not a resource we all can benefit from. I am a single mother with a 7-year-old son named Michael who is severely disabled and spastic quadriplegic. After studying the brochure and exploring their website (www.scaccesshelp.org) it clearly states that this department intends to address in a cursory manner some of the many complicated issues that confront South Carolina's senior citizens.
The Office on Aging and Disability is federally funded through the Older Americans Act and The State of South Carolina. The Older Americans Act requires that each state submit a State Plan on Aging in order to be eligible for federal funding. This plan provides a blueprint for how The Office on Aging will manage The Older American Act programs, services and other activities. The Lieutenant Governor's office then distributes these funds to ten regional Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC's)/Area Agencies on Aging (AAA's) who then contract with local providers for services, social adult care services, respite and disease prevention/health promotion.
So, if you are disabled and your only caregiver is a Senior Citizen then and only then can you benefit from some of these resources such as vouchers for in-home respite care, ramps for your home, emergency evacuation information and assistance, transportation, Assistive Technology, etc. 
These services are subjected and selective per qualification.
The young and not so young, disabled individuals of South Carolina require comprehensive education and rehabilitation to improve health and quality of life. This will result in fewer medical procedures, decreased family stress with greater function, and greater participation in the community. We need to enhance community infrastructure by forming collaborative partnerships in order to improve the education of healthcare professional's, educators, families and community members.
That being said:
Due to The Older Americans Act Funds the federal government is quite clear on how these monies are to be spent. If your disabled individual is NOT over 55 years old, or is NOT in the care of a senior, The Office on Aging will divert you to The Department of Disability and Special Needs and The Family Connection of South Carolina Inc. After speaking with Jennifer Van-Clive, Program Coordinator for the Office on Aging and Disability, ”children and adults with disabilities still have to report to the Department of Disability and Special Needs for services and outreach resources. Her department focuses on seniors and seniors with aging disabilities.”
We applaud all the efforts and supports this office provides and have faith this department will continue to enhance the quality of life for seniors in South Carolina, BUT PLEASE: KNOW YOUR FACTS
Shawnetta Lewis        
527 Orangeburg Rd D-3

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