"We are at a point now where we have the longest waiting list [about 4,100] I think we've ever had for home- and community-based services, and that's a direct result of not having the state resources," Stensland said.
State leaders are aware of the problem. "In these most challenging economic times, we must be ever so diligent in seeking ways to be efficient and cost-effective," Lt. Gov. Ken Ard, R, said in a written statement to the AARP Bulletin. "This will allow us to ensure that our greatest generation has its challenges met … Seniors should know that we understand and take seriously this important responsibility."
Sen. Thomas Alexander, R-Oconee, chairman of the Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee, said, "Home- and community-based services are preferred and could save the state money. That's welcome news for a budget writer when you can help people live independently with a better quality of life and save money."
Until the state provides more funding for home- and community-based services, South Carolina residents like Clark are left to wonder where they will spend their final days.
"Hopefully, I'll be the smart one to go to an institution where they'll take care of me," the 57-year-old man said. "But would you rather be in your own home with your own stuff in the final analysis? Yes, I think so."
Katrina Goggins is a freelance writer based in Columbia, S.C.