S.C.’s caregivers need help, and those seeking office should take notice

The year of the next presidential election has finally arrived.

South Carolinians have been hearing for months from White House hopefuls as they’ve barnstormed from one end of the state to the other, as we also prepare for our own state’s elections this year.

While many issues relevant to South Carolina voters are being discussed, one topic that hasn’t received enough attention is the multitude of challenges faced by our state’s caregivers. We place an enormous amount of importance on family and taking care of loved ones here in South Carolina, and the next president should make caregiving a major priority if he or she hopes to carry the Palmetto State’s nine electoral votes.

South Carolina is home to well over 700,000 family caregivers, according to data from 2023. These are folks who have chosen to sacrifice their own time and energy to care for someone who can no longer care for themselves. They spend thousands of hours helping relatives and friends in need do everything from getting dressed to eating, taking medicine, buying groceries, paying bills, and getting to medical appointments on time.

While this is truly selfless, it can also be extremely tiring, time-consuming, and financially exhausting for the caregiver. The financial burden is often taken on by caregivers directly from their own personal savings for the many expenses that age and sickness bring, ranging from paying for groceries, trips to the doctor, and covering the cost of medications and necessary medical equipment. Caregivers face a heavy load, and more needs to be done on the part of our lawmakers to help ease the burden.

The good news is that in election years, South Carolina always ends up in the national spotlight thanks to our early primary elections. Candidates, media, and influencers alike have flocked to the Palmetto State during primary season. Our state is a critical part of the road to the White House, and anyone hoping to lead our nation needs the support of South Carolina voters. Those candidates, including our own former Gov. Nikki Haley, should use this as an opportunity to support federal legislation and policies that will help caregivers here and across the country.

This isn’t just an issue for presidential candidates, however. Those seeking to represent us in our nation’s capital must also commit to prioritizing South Carolinian caregivers. The issue affects many of our families in the present day, and will touch so many more in the future. While the spotlight may be on presidential candidates, it’s never too early for those seeking federal elected office to lay out how they intend to support caregivers here in the state.

South Carolina’s caregivers have offered more than their fair share of work to make sure their loved ones are supported. It’s time for our nation’s leaders to support them and give back in the form of strong policies in favor of caregivers.

Rita Allison is a former member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, representing District 36.

This article originally appeared on Greenville News: Those seeking public office shouldn’t overlook S.C.’s caregivers

Leave a Comment