Aging & Disabilities
Human Services oversees operations and activities of programs that serve older adults and their families and people with disabilities, as well as provides leadership for a regional transportation coordination program.
For more about LSCOG Human Services please contact the Human Services Director at 803-649-7981.
Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center
Lower Savannah Council of Governments operates South Carolina’s only Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center (ADTRC). The Resource Center’s purpose is to inform and assist people in our region about a myriad of topics related to aging, disabilities, family care-giving, benefits, resources and transportation options that support independent, healthy and engaged community living. The center serves Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties. This center is innovative in that it combines programs relating to public and human service transit with information and assistance to link to other health and human service related resources, benefits and options. People call the center throughout each day with requests and questions in many diverse areas. ADTRC staff help people to schedule rides for medical appointments, errands, to get to work throughout the region and answer questions about how to use local public transit systems. They help to negotiate service issues that arise between transit passengers and transit providers and advocate for unmet needs for transportation in underserved areas. Staff answer questions about aging issues, long term care, family care-giving and a number of benefits and resources, including Medicare. LSCOG also purchases services for seniors and transportation services from local service providers in each county of the region, and works to coordinate among agencies serving the public. TO REACH THE ADTRDC CALL 1-866-845-1550 or visit the transit web page.
The Programs and services of the ADTRC including the following:
Area Agency On Aging (AAA)
Lower Savannah Council of Governments is the officially designated regional agency charged with responsibilities under the Older Americans Act. The AAA/ADTRC works in partnership with the South Carolina Lieutenant Governor’s Office on Aging. The Area Agency on Aging:
- Conducts needs assessments
- Develops plans for networks of in-home and community based services to serve older adults and their families
- Contacts with local service provider agencies in each county to provide the services called for in the plan, using Older Americans Act and State funds, matched with local funds
- Oversees programs like home delivered meals, group dining, home living support, transportation and wellness services in Aiken, Allendale, Bamberg, Barnwell, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties
- Acts as a focal point for information, networking and advocacy for and on behalf of older adults
- Carries out a wide range of functions related to advocacy, planning, coordination, inter-agency linkages, information sharing, brokering, monitoring and evaluation
For more information on the Area Agency on Aging contact the Aging and Disability Programs Manager at 803.508.7033 or toll free at 1.866.845.1550.
Elderly Legal Services
The South Carolina Legal Services Corporation is the provider for Title III B Elderly Legal Services. This program provides citizens of the region (Age 60 or older) with legal services to address their needs in the areas of:
- Income protection
- Health care
- Long term care
- Housing issues
- Protective services
- Defense of guardianship
- Protections from abuse, neglect or exploitation
The Title III Legal program must concentrate their services to low income, minority seniors in rural areas; however, as an Older Americans Act program seniors cannot be turned down for service simply due to their monthly income. Seniors seeking assistance can call the LTC Ombudsman at the ADTRC toll free at 1-866-845-1550, Option 4, locally at 803-508-7033, Option 4 or SC Legal Services? telephone intake line toll free at 1-888-346-5592 to request assistance.
Long Term Care Ombudsman Program
The long term care ombudsman is an advocate for residents. Duties of the ombudsman include:
- Routine visits to nursing homes and residential care facilities
- Provide information to consumers and family members
- Conducts complaint investigations, including investigations of allegations of abuse, neglect and exploitation, to ensure that residents rights are being honored by the facility staff and that the care and services needed are being provided
- Provides training on various topics to facility staff members to improve the quality of services provided to the residents
The Friendly Visitor Volunteer Program furthers the Long Term Care Ombudsman’s mission and program requirements by providing companionship, interaction and education about residents’ rights through the volunteers routine friendly visits with residents in the assigned facility. Volunteer Friendly Visitors have extensive training prior to beginning their volunteer work and are supervised by the Regional Long Term Care Ombudsman staff.
For more information on the Long Term Care Ombudsman contact the LTC Ombudsman at 803.508.7033 or toll free at 1.866.845.1550.
For Respite Care for an individual between the ages of 19-59, contact the SC Respite Coalition.
Health Care Advanced Directives Information and Education
Staff members provide information and assistance to individuals in the development of advanced directives ensuring that medical professionals and loved ones are aware of the individuals wishes at life’s end. For more information on the Advanced Directives contact the LTC Ombudsman at 803.508.7033 or toll free at 1.866.845.1550.
Human Services Information and Assistance
In 2003, LSCOG became South Carolina's first Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC), in partnership with our state unit on aging, now located in the Lt. Governor’s Office on Aging. Now there are ADRCs in states all around the country and every region in South Carolina. In 2010, Lower Savannah Council of Governments (LSCOG) expanded the ADRC to include transportation options thus becoming the Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center (ADTRC). The ADTRC offers help to the public in planning for or finding benefits, resources, options counseling and services to meet their needs relating to older adults, family care-giving and physical and developmental disabilities. Individuals seeking information on various human service programs can contact the Lower Savannah ADTRC by telephone anytime during regular business hours or in person at our Aiken office simply by making an appointment with one of our human service staff members. To provide easier access to the citizens of our region, ADTRC staff often travel to various centralized locations of the region to meet with citizens for individualized assistance or to provide information on such topics as long term care or available resources and benefits for older adults and people with disabilities. For more information and assistance contact the Information and Referral Specialist at 508.7033 or toll free at 1.866.845.1550.
Medicare Benefits Counseling
Lower Savannah ADTRC Benefits Counselors help Medicare beneficiaries access and navigate the Medicare program by providing accurate, free, non-biased and individualized information and counseling on Medicare and its related programs. Counselors assist beneficiaries as they select the best choice of coverage for themselves based on income, medication taken and pharmacy preference, among other factors. Their expertise covers:
- Medicare Supplemental Insurance
- Low Income Assistance Programs
- Retiree coverage
Counselors also work to prevent and report Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse to keep others from taking advantage of seniors and people with disabilities.
The Senior Medicare Patrol Program recruits volunteers to help Medicare beneficiaries become better health care consumers. SMP staff and trained volunteers help Medicare beneficiaries read and understand their Medicare Summary Notices, identify false claims, report illegal billing practices, protect their identity and avoid scams. SMP staff and volunteers reach out to Medicare beneficiaries through one-on-one counseling, community events and presentations to groups and organizations.
Family Caregiver Support Program
The Family Caregiver Support Program provides support for family members caring for loved ones. This assistance includes:
- Education on care giving
- A caregiver newsletter with helpful tips
- Occasional breaks from care-giving responsibilities
- Grants for a variety of services to help prevent caregiver burnout
In the United States, family members provide 80% of the long term care given. Demands of care giving may be physically, emotionally and financially exhausting. Many family members may not identify with the term caregiver, but view themselves as just a spouse, a daughter, a son or a friend. A person of any age who is primarily responsible, on an unpaid basis, for coordinating, overseeing or giving care for someone close is considered in our program to be a family caregiver.
The Family Caregiver Support Program helps the following caregivers:
- Caregivers giving care to an infirm loved one age 60 or older;
- Caregivers responsible for the care of individuals of any age with Alzheimer's disease or related disorder;
- Grandparents or relative caregivers age 55 or older (not parents) who are raising a related child age 18 or younger; and
- Grandparents or relative caregivers age 55 or older of adult children (between the age of 19 and 59) with a disability.
For more information on the Family Caregiver Support Program contact the Family Caregiver Advocate at 803.508.7033 or toll free at 1.866.845.1550.
For Respite Care for an individual between the ages of 19-59, contact the SC Respite Coalition.
SC Respite Coalition
PO Box 493
Columbia, SC 29202
Information, Referral and Assistance
This program can assess an individual’s needs, help determine options and an appropriate course of action, direct the individual to useful programs or services, and contact providers or agencies to help the individual access needed services when necessary.
For more information about the Information, Referral and Assistance program call the Information, Referral and Assistance Coordinator at 803.649.7981.
Medication Assistance Program (MAP)
Lower Savannah ADTRC staff and volunteers assist individuals who have no prescription insurance benefits with in person help to find pharmaceutical company programs which may provide free or low-cost medications prescribed for them by their physicians. The program is a life-saver for medically indigent people who lack the means to pay for their prescription medications. Since the program started in late 2004, Lower Savannah staff members have helped citizens obtain over $8.4 million in savings on prescription medications. The program currently operates in Aiken and is supported by the United Way of Aiken County. FOR MORE INFORMATION CALL 1-866-845-1550.
To qualify for the program, new clients must meet the following requirements:
- Must be an Aiken County Resident
- Must have no insurance or other prescription coverage
- Must have a total household income below $18,000 for singles, $24,000 for couples, or $35,000 for a family of four
Information Needed for the Initial Interview
- Original prescription written for a 90-day supply and 3 refills, if medically appropriate. (Each medication must be written on a separate prescription sheet one per page.)
- Physician name, address, and phone number (usually on prescription).
- Social Security Card.
- Photo ID.
- Proof of income for ALL household members. This may include previous years federal tax returns (1040), Social Security benefit statement, child support statement, SSI benefit statement for under aged children, last months pay stubs, etc. Specific documentation needed will be identified during initial phone consultation.
For more about the Medication Assistance Program call the MAP coordinator at 803.508.7033.
Local Transit System Development and Management
LSCOG is the Direct Recipient of federal and state funds for the operation of the Best Friend Express and Dial-a-Ride transit services in the urbanized portion of Aiken County. LSCOG contracts with a local transit provider for the operation of both services. LSCOG helped to plan and start up transit service in Allendale and Bamberg Counties, and takes calls from the public for rides in both systems. The COG also helped to develop and start up new public transit services in Calhoun and Orangeburg Counties the Cross County Connection. This service is a combination of fixed routes and demand response service to accommodate seniors, people with a disability and for other purposes. Fixed routes connect St. Matthews and Orangeburg and serve the downtown area of Orangeburg, including a campus loop which includes service for students at two downtown area Universities.
This web based data-base of services, benefits and resources to help older adults and people with disabilities is maintained by the S. C. Lt. Governors Office on Aging. Lower Savannah ADTRC staff helps to provide updated information on services and resources listed in the data base. There are sections on SC Access for information about many resources as well as direct information on the agencies which provide them. One can access this website at www.scaccesshelp.org.
Using federal transit ARRA funds, LSCOG was able to add a wing onto its office building to accommodate the Aging, Disability and Transportation Resource Center in 2010. ARRA funds through the SC Department of Transportation in 2012 enabled the construction of a $3 million transit facility in downtown Orangeburg to house the two-county transit system and serve as a connection point for passengers transferring from one vehicle to another, to purchase tickets and to get out of inclement weather while waiting to board a bus.