Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month

South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control issued a Press Release reminding everyone that June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month. DHEC is emphasizing the important role quality care plays in the lives of those impacted by Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

According to a recent report from the Alzheimer’s Association, there were 95,000 South Carolinians aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s in 2020. The number of those living with Alzheimer’s is expected to rise to 120,000 by 2025, an estimated increase of 26.3 percent.

As the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease increases, so does the need for safe and reliable care for those living with the disease.

DHEC’s Healthcare Quality team regulates many facilities that offer memory care services such as community residential care facilities and nursing homes. These facilities are overseen by the Bureau of Community Care. This division is responsible for ensuring these South Carolina facilities comply with state and federal health and safety standards.

“The Bureau of Community Care places a high focus on ensuring residents in South Carolina nursing homes are being protected and provided with the highest applicable quality of care,” said Amber Capers, Interim Director for Nursing Home Oversight for DHEC’s Bureau of Community Care. “Our goal is to ensure residents are protected and treated with dignity and respect while ensuring their continued rights within the regulations we enforce.”

Beyond providing routine and emergency support for facilities, another way DHEC supports this vulnerable population is through the Nursing Home Civil Money Penalty (CMP) Reinvestment Project.

CMPs are monetary penalties imposed by the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) against nursing homes that have failed to maintain compliance with federal requirements. A portion of CMPs collected are returned to the state and may be reinvested or used for projects supporting activities that benefit nursing home residents and that protect and improve their quality of care and quality of life.

To learn more about current CMP Reinvestment Projects in South Carolina, visit the DHEC website.

DHEC encourages the public to learn more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, including knowing the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s and risk factors that impact brain health.