Assisted living centers in Oklahoma are licensed by the state’s Department of Health to serve older adults by providing room, board, personal care and assistance with activities of daily living. Centers may admit residents with Alzheimer’s disease, or another dementia, in Special Care Units. These units are often called “memory care” and must outline, in writing, how their services go beyond normal assisted living to address the needs of people with dementia. Steps must be taken, for example, to limit outside access by wandering residents, and dementia-specific training is required for staff.
Residents in memory care may also contract with outside healthcare providers for services including private nursing services, individualized health services, and hospice. (For information on how to help pay for these, see below.) Residents can also receive medication administration and intermittent nursing care from the center itself, but not 24-hour nursing care.
The average cost of memory care per month in Oklahoma is $4,627, which breaks down to about $152 per day and $55,524 annually. Every resident in Oklahoma assisted living should receive a contract with information including services provided. Make sure this document includes all costs and charges, including additional charges beyond room and board. Get the residence to be as specific as possible, and file this document as protection against unexpected billing. Assisted living, without the additional services required for memory care, costs Oklahomans about $3,536 per month and $42,432 annually.
The state’s most expensive place for memory care is Tulsa, where costs average about $5,743 per month or $68,916 annually. The most affordable city for memory care is Enid, for about $3,749 monthly or $44,988 annually. The state’s largest city is Oklahoma City, where memory care costs about $4,347 per month or $52,164 annually.
Within 30 days of moving in, a new memory care resident must be assessed for medical and personal needs using a standardized form provided by the state. Also, within 14 days a more comprehensive assessment must be completed, to further determine what a resident needs to thrive in the community. This comprehensive assessment must be redone every year.
Someone may not move into assisted living centers if:
– Medical or personal needs go beyond what the residence can provide
– Physical or chemical restraints are required
– Any danger is posed to self or others
If your loved one moves into memory care and then sees a drastic health change, this may not necessarily require moving out. The residence can work with your doctor to accommodate needs (if possible) by formulating a written plan and then reviewing the plan every three months. Without an agreed-upon plan, eviction may be necessary.
Anyone interested in moving into memory care in Oklahoma is entitled to a disclosure form that explains the types of services provided and any additional costs of those services. The form also explains the residence’s admissions process, details on structured activities that benefit residents with dementia, staffing and staff training, and safety features.
Unlike many other states, Oklahoma does not have a minimum square footage requirement for residents’ bedrooms. Regulations simply say that the design must be appropriate for the mental and physical disabilities of people who live there. The maximum number of people allowed in one bedroom is two. There needs to be a bathroom for every four people living in an assisted living center.
There is no staff-to-resident ratio in Oklahoma assisted living, except to say that there must always be enough people working to satisfy the particular needs of every single resident, and someone on staff must be awake at all times, including through the night. Any staff providing socialization, or leading activities including exercise, must be qualified through training. Any employees who work directly with residents must be trained in first aid and CPR. An administrator responsible for operations must be designated at every center. Administrators are certified and/or licensed by the state, and must have 16 hours of continuing education annually.
For people who want to remain in their house or assisted living community instead of moving into a nursing home, the Medicaid ADvantage Program Waiver provides financial assistance to cover costs including personal care, nursing, transportation, occupational therapy, and much more. Participants can have their options managed by the state or self-determined. Services within assisted living, like laundry and meals, are covered. To receive benefits, a person must be Medicaid-eligible. To apply, contact your local Department of Human Services office.
The state’s Personal Care Program is another Medicaid option that may be available to people living in memory care, though the scope of coverage is smaller than benefits provided under the ADvantage waiver above. Personal Care provides funds to help pay for caregivers who assist with activities of daily living. Applicants must be Medicaid-eligible. For more information, visit the state’s website. To apply, contact your local Department of Human Services office.
Veterans are statistically more likely to develop dementia. Relevant in all states including Oklahoma is the VA’s Aid & Attendance pension program for veterans and surviving spouses, which is an amount of money added to veterans’ and survivors’ basic pensions. Applicants must be at least 65 years old (or disabled) and require assistance with activities of daily living (ADLs) like eating, bathing, and mobility. The cash assistance from these pensions can be used as the recipient wishes, meaning it can go toward the cost of memory care. In addition, the cost of residential care can be deducted from one’s income, effectively reducing the amount of calculable income used to determine the benefit amount. The latest (2020) maximum amount a veteran can receive through A&A is $27,194 per year, and surviving spouses can receive as much as $14,761. Learn more here.
There are also veterans’ homes in Oklahoma, which are residential care facilities that provide long-term care for veterans. In addition to nursing home care, assisted living and memory care may be provided. Payment is made directly from the VA to the facility. State veterans’ homes are typically reserved for veterans whose need for care stems at least 70 percent from their military service. Because there is often a waiting list, contact a home before visiting to see if your loved one is eligible to live there.
Other ways to help pay for memory care include tax credits and deductions like the Credit for the Elderly and the Disabled, or the Child and Dependent Care Credit (if you can claim your elderly loved one as a dependent). Remember also that medical and dental expenses can be deducted, and that may include some assisted living costs.
A reverse mortgage may be a good option for a married person moving into memory care, if their spouse continues to live in the home. Should the spouse move from their home, the reverse mortgage would become due.
Elder care loans are for families to cover initial costs of moving into memory care, if you need a little help at first but can afford costs after the initial payments. For example, if one is waiting for a VA pension to be approved or waiting to sell a home.