July 23--South Carolina Rep. Bakari Sellers is nowhere near needing senior care, but he's already mapped out six steps focusing on senior needs.
Sellers, D-Denmark, is currently campaigning for the state's lieutenant governor seat; and as part of his campaign, he visited the Aiken Area Council on Aging on Tuesday to share his "South Carolina Senior Plan."
Standing next to the Aiken Area Council on Aging's Executive Director Scott Murphy and members of the Aiken County Democratic Party, Sellers outlined his six-step plan ranging from expanding the Senior Homestead Exemption to creating a senior fraud task force.
South Carolina residents 65 years and older make up about 15 percent of the population, according to the U.S. Census. That number continues to grow, which is why expanding care is so important for not only seniors, but also their caregivers, according to Sellers.
Part of his plan is to expand senior transportation with public and private money with the help of the S.C. Department of Transportation and the Human Services Transportation Committee.
This is a rather important need, Murphy said.
"We have one out of three seniors who are transit dependent," Murphy said. "Many are trying to reach into the inner city for services; they need access. These are things that will allow them to be independent and stay in their homes, which is a less-costly endeavor."
Sellers said he also wants to provide tax relief for caregivers who provide in-home senior care, provide home and community-based services for the elderly and expand the Senior Homestead Exemption to give seniors a tax relief when paying their property taxes.
Lastly, Sellers said he wants to transform the Office on Aging into a mouthpiece on behalf of Alzheimer's patients, their families and Alzheimer's research.
"We have a great deal of people in our community who care for people going through early dementia, but also care for people who have Alzheimer's and (are) battling with those diseases," Sellers said.
Sellers became the youngest serving member of the House of Representatives in 2006.
Sellers will face former Attorney General Henry McMaster in the November general election.
For more information about Sellers's campaign, visit www.sellers2014.com.
Maayan Schechter is the local government reporter with Aiken Standard. Follow her on Twitter @MaayanSchechter.
Copyright 2014 - Aiken Standard, S.C.