COLUMBIA, S.C.  (AP/SCRN/WVOC) - Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell is warning lawmakers to prepare for South Carolina's on-coming “gray tsunami.” 

McConnell told a joint session of the Legislature on Wednesday the state's senior population is expected to double over the next 15 years, to nearly two million people. 

“We need to spend the next five years getting a plan in place that will provide adequate and affordable health care and long-term care for our state's senior population,” he said.  “Failure to anticipate what lies ahead will cause both a human tragedy and a budget calamity.”

As lieutenant governor, McConnell oversees the state Office on Aging.     

He says a long-term plan must focus on programs to help seniors live independently in their own homes.

McConnell says home-delivered meals and other helping-hand programs cost taxpayers $1,400 per person yearly, compared to $52,000 for nursing home care through Medicaid. 

The lieutenant governor has requested an additional $4.7-million for home-based programs in the next state budget.

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