S.C. Lawmakers Restore Millions for Family Caregivers

Thousands of South Carolinians who are caring in their homes for loved ones with illnesses or disabilities will be able to get some help, after state senators voted Wednesday to restore $2 million to the state budget. Gov. Nikki Haley had vetoed the money that would be used for respite care.

Respite care provides a break to those caregivers so they can run errands, get some rest, or just have a break from providing round-the-clock care.

Amy Davenport cares for her 29-year-old daughter Stephanie, who has a neurological disorder. "She's what they call total care, as far as dressing and toileting, bathing, eating, taking medication," she says.

She says having someone come in to provide care temporarily gives her a much-needed break. "Families have a very hard time, when you have a child with a disability, or a parent, or anyone else that takes your care, those marriages have a lot of strain on them, so for us it's a good time of refreshing, reconnecting," she says.

Davenport was at a "Respite Summit" for caregivers and state agencies in Columbia while the Senate was voting on the governor's vetoes.

SC Respite Coalition director Susan Robinson says respite keeps people out of nursing homes, so it saves taxpayers much more than the $2 million cost of the respite vouchers.

"A quarter of the population is involved in some sort of caregiving," she says. "That does not mean they all need respite. But if a quarter of American families and South Carolina families are doing some form of caregiving, if even 1 percent of them need respite it is a colossal number of people."

You can find out more about respite care in South Carolina at www.screspitecoalition.org


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