Guide to Independent Living in South Carolina
South Carolina has plenty of features that seniors in independent living may appreciate, such as a low living cost of 88.5 as compared to the national average of 100 — and no taxes on retirement income. The 65-and-over age group comprises 18.2% of the population, which is higher than the national average. There are world-class hospitals in the state, including MUSC Health University Medical Center, which is ranked one of the best for geriatrics. The state also sees plenty of sunny days throughout the year that active seniors can enjoy, along with only about one inch of snow annually.
Seniors who don’t require assistance with everyday activities may find independent living communities a good fit. These communities often have ample amenities on-site, and they typically provide everything from laundry and housekeeping services to a fine dining experience. Seniors can participate in many planned activities and outings, and there are usually common areas for socializing.
There are cost estimates and comparisons for independent living in this guide, along with comparisons to other care types. It also contains a list of free or inexpensive resources and services that all seniors may find helpful.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in South Carolina?
Note:There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
South Carolina’s average independent living cost is about $2,348 per month. The national median is higher at $2,925, as is North Carolina’s $2,607 average monthly cost for independent living. Florida is also higher at $2,600, while Tennessee comes in at $2,668. Georgia’s monthly cost estimate for independent living is lower at $2,298, while Alabama’s average independent living costs are $2,277 per month.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in South Carolina’s Top Cities
Independent living costs vary by location in South Carolina. The city with the lowest cost per month is Sumter at $1,731, while the highest is Hilton Head Island at $2,925. Myrtle Beach independent living costs around $2,646 per month, while Charleston has a monthly estimated cost of $2,564. Greenville is middle-of-the-range at $2,246. One of the more affordable cities is Florence, with an approximate independent living cost of $2,246.
Hilton Head Island
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Seniors considering independent living may want to think about other long-term care types, all of which vary in cost based on services provided. While independent living costs $2,348 monthly on average, adult day health care costs around $1,408 per month and is an option for seniors in need of minimal care during the day. There’s assisted living for $3,612 per month for those who need help with everyday activities in a residential setting, along with semiprivate nursing facility rooms for approximately $7,285 per month for seniors requiring a higher level of care. South Carolina seniors who remain at home can access homemaker services for around $4,433 per month and home health aide services for around $4,481.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in South Carolina?
The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in South Carolina to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in South Carolina.
For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.
How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in South Carolina
Seniors in independent living have a variety of flexible financial options when it comes to managing expenses. Along with savings, cash, and retirement income, there are some other ways for South Carolina seniors to pay for monthly independent living costs without breaking the bank.
- Life insurance: Depending on policy details, seniors may be able to cash out their policy value in part or full.
- Long-term care insurance: Some long-term care insurance plans cover certain independent living expenses. Coverage areas may include housekeeping and transportation, which can reduce overall monthly costs.
- Annuities: Payouts from an annuity can also be used to pay for independent living.
- Reverse mortgage: A reverse mortgage may be a viable option for eligible seniors. The payout depends on the amount of home equity and can be applied towards independent living expenses.
- Home equity line of credit: This type of credit line is secured by home equity. Seniors can use funds from home equity lines of credit for costs associated with independent living.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in South Carolina
Seniors in South Carolina can receive free and reduced-price services through various agencies and organizations throughout the state. Transportation, advocacy, referrals and senior education programs are just a few of the resources available.
|South Carolina Department on Aging (SCDOA)||(800) 868-9095 or (803) 734-9900||The SCDOA has many programs designed for South Carolina seniors. There are legal services and advocacy available through this department, along with financial assistance and nutritional programs. Referrals to other agencies and care providers are also handled through this office.|
|South Carolina AARP||(888) 687-2277||South Carolina AARP provides a variety of local services to seniors, including tax prep services and informative webinars, along with volunteer and employment opportunities. Seniors can access safe-driving courses and information on a wealth of topics pertaining to senior living.|
|SC Department of Veterans’ Affairs||(803) 734-0200||The SC Department of Veterans Affairs provides benefits and claims assistance to veterans of all ages. Seniors can locate their local VA office through this state website, along with mental health services and employment programs.|
|SCIWAY (Senior Citizen Education, Elder Learning)||[email protected]||Through the statewide SCIWAY online directory, seniors can find many educational programs at colleges and universities. Tuition exemption is available for South Carolina residents 60 and over, and there’s a wide range of classes from which to choose—including programs made for senior students.|
|South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT)||(855) 467-2368||At the SCDOT website, residents can find their local public transit system. From there, seniors can determine if they’re eligible for reduced-price or free fares through their local provider.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for South Carolina Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from scdhec.gov/covid19, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.
This data has been most recently updated on 2/13/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Yes|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Yes|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|