As a senior, your income is limited. Life can be expensive, and Charleston is a little more expensive than the national average for things such as groceries, utilities, and housing. You can contact numerous programs, agencies, and nonprofits for assistance with necessities such as food, utilities, housing, transportation, companionship care, and even social activities.
Meals on Wheels of Charleston provides freshly prepared meals and a friendly visit to help seniors live independently in their homes. This program offers regular visits to also perform a safety check.
Seniors may also qualify for South Carolina Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). With this program, participants can purchase foods such as bread, cereals, non-alcoholic beverages, fruits, vegetables, fish poultry, beef, dairy products, and more. You can apply for SNAP benefits online, in person at the local county office, or by mail/fax sent to your local county office.
If you enjoy visiting the local farmers market, you can apply to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP), which allows low-income senior citizens to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and other community agriculture programs.
If you need assistance with housing, there are agencies and nonprofits that will help. Charleston’s Housing and Community Development is a good place to start with help. There are other agencies including Charleston Area Senior Citizens (CASC), which partners with Catholic Work Camp to provide minor home repair for low-income residents of Charleston County. Home Works is a United Way agency that works with retired and low-income residents to repair homes. These repairs are done with collaboration from both city and county governments.
Seniors who can’t afford their full utility bills can contact the South Carolina Weatherization Assistance Program, which improves energy efficiency in homes to reduce bills and ensure health and safety. South Carolina Comprehensive Energy Assistance program also provides help with utility bills.
The Ansonborough House offers senior living in downtown Charleston as part of the Charleston South Carolina Area Seniors program. These facilities can fill up quickly, so you can check with other senior communities. Most of these offer low-income housing options for seniors since this is a common issue.
Charleston offers several free or low-cost social options for seniors. There are groups that provide social programs, benefits assistance, day trips, transportation, exercise, and more. The Lowcountry Senior Center offers daily events and programs for adults 50 and older. This facility is full of 250 classes each month such as crafts, exercise, games, dances, and lectures. Transportation is also offered, if needed.
For those seniors who are unable to leave the home, Senior Companion Program offers support to frail elderly from other older adult volunteers. This program provides companion visits along with light housekeeping duties.
You can find other free or reasonable Charleston resources through the South Carolina Agency on Aging, Charleston Area Seniors, and Catholic Charities. Contact these groups to make the most of your time and your budget in the Charleston area.
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