South Dakota Overview
Caregiver Support Services in the United States and especially in South Dakota are “hit and miss.” Programs and services vary dramatically between states and communities.
Support services are primarily organized through regional offices of the Division of Adult Services and Aging in the Department of Social Services. Since 2000, federal money has been authorized by the Older Americans Act and provided to states, who use it to help improve the lives of older people and their families. Several types of programs are provided under this umbrella, including the National Family Caregiver Support Program which is intended to 1)provide information about available services, 2) assist caregivers in gaining access to the services, 3)provide individual counseling, organization of support groups, and caregiver training, 4) respite care, and 5) supplemental services on a limited basis. This sounds good, but the funding of the Older Americans Act has been a victim of the Washington gridlock and political wrangling.
The chronic lack of funds means that South Dakota has had very few resources to fulfill the spirit of the National Family Caregiver Support Program. They have tried to make the best use of the limited resources by providing online links to available services through the Aging and Disability Resource Connections (referred to as ADRC) and staffing five regional call centers (located in Rapid City, Pierre, Watertown, Mitchell, and Sioux Falls.) For caregivers, this is primarily links to information service provider businesses and advocacy organizations. Even our largest communities have few caregiver support programs with training and respite care options. The smaller towns primarily rely on nursing homes. Basically, families are responsible to try to sort through stacks of brochures/pamphlets that do not address the unique challenges they are facing.