Lt. Governor Glenn McConnell visits Bamberg
Written by Jerry E. Halmon   

As President Pro Tem of the South Carolina State Senate, and one of the most powerful members of the South Carolina Legislature for over 31 years, Senator Glenn McConnell gave little thought to the state’s Office on Aging.

“All I knew about the Office on Aging was that it was a line in a 900-page document called a state budget,” Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell told a room full of senior citizens and staff members of the Bamberg County Office on Aging in a visit Wednesday morning to the Thomas N. Rhoad Center in Bamberg.

“I never dealt deeply into it,” said McConnell, whose was serving as Chairman of the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee, until an ethics violation forced the previous Lt. Governor to resign, requiring McConnell to take his place by state law.

McConnell told the group that after “much study” it became clear of the “great things” the Office on Aging was doing and the things not being done. He stated that he learned of the 48 percent cut the agency has experienced over the years, while other agencies “grew and grew.”

McConnell noted the primary goal of the Office on Aging is to, “delay the migration up to the most expensive level of affordable care and to prevent it if possible.” McConnell, who represented Senate District No. 41 in Charleston, stated in his opinion “home and community-based” services is the answer to how South Carolina can get its hands around the aging issue.

According to McConnell, the aging population will double in number over the next 20-years, so it is imperative that something be done about the issue now. “We’ve got to stop and think of a new way to do what we are doing.” He stated that nursing home care is 45 percent more expensive than home and community-based care, adding, “I haven’t found a senior yet that asked to be signed up for a nursing home, seniors want to stay home.”

McConnell noted that centers like the Thomas Rhoad Bamberg County Office on Aging Center gives seniors, “an opportunity to work with one another and socialize with one another.” He said that senior citizens are “giving people too. They have paid their dues across the decade and aren’t looking for a hand out, but a helping hand.”

McConnell said he wanted to thank the volunteers and staff of the Bamberg County Office on Aging on behalf of the State of South Carolina “for what you do.” He said, “I’m here to learn what you can do and can’t do for a lack of resources,” he said.

He concluded with a quote by Sir Winston Churchill, “You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.”

McConnell then delivered meals to four homes for the Office on Aging 'Meals on Wheels' program. He ended his day in Bamberg by visiting the Uni-Health Post Acute Care Nursing Home.