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Guide to Senior Living in Oklahoma

Oklahoma is the Sooner State. Home to the densest concentration of Indian lands in the United States, Oklahoma has a rich culture that includes Native nations that still maintain government-to-government relations with Washington. The state’s history is one of the major attractions for visitors, from the Old West storefronts and museums staffed by senior volunteers, to the solemn memorial at the site of the former federal building in Oklahoma City, where each year many active seniors run in a commemorative marathon.

Seniors account for almost 16% of Oklahoma’s 4 million residents, and 154 senior living facilities operate throughout the state to care for them. Monthly costs at these facilities fall below the national average for all senior care types, according to the Genworth 2019 Cost of Care Survey. This guide is written for seniors seeking affordable senior living in Oklahoma. It goes over many of the costs seniors in the state are likely to pay for care in a local community, and it lists several of the most helpful resources seniors can use to support themselves before and after admission to a facility.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Oklahoma Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Oklahoma State Department of Health website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to residential care, assisted living facilities, adult day care nursing and skilled nursing facilities, and intermediate care facilities for individuals with developmental or intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs).

This data has been most recently updated on 7/15/20, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?Yes (conditions apply)   
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Yes 
Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?NA
Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?Yes
Are hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?Yes (conditions apply)
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?Yes
Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Yes, but they are discouraged from doing so
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?No
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes, with social distancing
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes, with social distancing

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors 

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Safety Measures for Residents 

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?Yes
Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?No
Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?Yes
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Yes

Paying for Senior Living in Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s relatively low cost of assisted living makes this one of the more financially attractive options seniors have open to them in the Sooner State. At just $3,518 a month, assisted living is significantly less expensive than both in-home care and home health services, which cost $4,195 and $4,242 a month in Oklahoma, respectively. The average cost of a semi-private room in a nursing care home is $4,867 a month. Only adult day care offers less expensive options for seniors in Oklahoma, at just $1,387 a month.


Assisted Living


In-Home Care


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Oklahoma

Assisted living in Oklahoma costs seniors in the state an average of $3,518 a month. This is more than $500 a month under the national average cost for similar services. Oklahoma’s average assisted living costs are also significantly less than those of several nearby states. Texas, for example, averages $3,750 a month for assisted living, while the same services in Colorado rise as high as $4,095 a month. Some adjacent states have less expensive assisted living services. Seniors in Arkansas pay a monthly average of $3,175 for board and care services in an assisted living facility, while the Missouri average is as low as $2,881 a month.




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The Cost of In-Home Care in Oklahoma

Oklahoma, although reporting rates below the national average, still stands with Missouri as a midrange state for in-home care prices when compared to states in the area. Both states have average monthly rates of $4,195. Oklahoma’s neighbors Texas and Arkansas report in-home care fees of $3,956 and $3,623, while Colorado shows a more expensive price of $4,957, which is $762 more than Oklahoma’s average.




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma

Senior residents of Oklahoma may, at some point, find themselves needing to move on from assisted living or in-home care into a nursing home. Luckily,  Oklahoma, along with Texas, has some of the lowest nursing home care prices in the area at $4,867 per month, a whopping $2,646 below the U.S. average. Arkansas ($5,505) and Missouri ($5,061) are also viable options; however, Oklahoma still has them beat. Seniors in Colorado pay nearly double Oklahoma’s monthly price for the same care, reaching $8,197.




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Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Oklahoma

ADvantage Waiver Program

The ADvantage waiver program provides Medicaid-eligible adults in Oklahoma with financial support for senior living at home or in an assisted living setting. Seniors who do not have an intellectual disability or other mental health issues are eligible for an ADvantage waiver if they meet the income and asset limitations of SoonerCare, are currently enrolled in the state Medicaid program for low-income adults or they have met the eligibility criteria for receiving SSI/SSDI.

ADvantage waiver benefits are designed to help seniors who are medically qualified for placement in a nursing home find affordable options at lower levels of care. This may be in their own homes, the homes of loved ones or in a licensed senior living community. Benefits include:

  • Case manager support
  • Adult day care
  • Transitional care
  • Personal caregiver assistance
  • Advantage personal care therapy in adults day care
  • Nutrition screening and support, including meal delivery
  • Short-term skilled nursing care from a visiting RN
  • Physical and occupational therapy
  • Environmental modifications
  • Respiratory therapy
  • Hospice services
  • Speech/language therapy
  • Necessary medical equipment and supplies

Contact: Call 1-405-522-7300 to speak with a SoonerCare representative about applying for the ADvantage waiver. Application packets may be mailed to the program’s administrative office in Oklahoma City or submitted at a local SSA office.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Oklahoma

Note: All these rules typically apply to non-clinical senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. Nursing homes and other senior living facilities with a clinical setting may have additional or slightly different requirements and regulations.

The Oklahoma state Department of Health regulates senior living communities. Facilities must carry a valid license to operate with more than three full-time residents. These licenses are issued by the department, which formulates policy and inspects facilities for compliance statewide. Rules maintained by the department touch on the major issues affecting the quality of care for seniors in senior living, including admission standards, memory and Alzheimer’s care rules, medication management policies and staff training and retention standards.

Admission Requirements

Seniors going into senior living communities in Oklahoma must undergo a physical and mental health screening within 30 days prior to admission. The examining doctor must work with caregiver staff to develop a plan of care that touches on every element of the senior’s mental and physical health, and it must include a list of prescribed medications and therapeutic services a senior needs to remain healthy in the residential care setting. The medical assessment and care plan must be kept on file with the facility and updated at least annually, or after an observed change in the resident’s condition or level of function. Applicants for admission must have a doctor’s endorsement for care at a senior living facility, as opposed to nursing care or a higher level of treatment.

Seniors may not be admitted to a senior living community if it is determined by the doctor or other involved parties that any of the resident’s care needs may not be met by the admitting facility. Senior living facilities are expected to provide, at a minimum:

  • Personal care services
  • Nursing supervision as needed for short-term care needs
  • Intermittent or unscheduled medical services, including nursing care at the site
  • Safe medication administration in compliance with the resident’s care plan
  • Cognitive orientation and some therapeutic services for seniors with early-stage dementia
  • Physical assistance with transfer or walking

All facilities must include a copy of their provided services with their initial license application. A copy must also be made available to new residents and their responsible parties on admission, along with a comprehensive service contract that specifies costs and limits of care.

Memory Care Regulation

A licensed senior living facility in Oklahoma may choose whether or not to provide Alzheimer’s or dementia care, though it is barred from advertising behavior management care unless it is licensed to do so. Seniors admitted to a senior living community with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia must be housed separately from other residents at the facility in a special care unit. This unit must be secure and staffed to an adequate level for residents’ health and safety.

Medication Management

Senior living facilities must adopt written policies for the keeping, handling and administration of prescription medications. Schedule I narcotics are not permitted on the premises of a senior living community in Oklahoma, though hospice patients may be given Schedule II pain relievers for comfort care. All prescription medications must be handled in accordance with state regulations and stored securely and in measured dose packaging. Residents who are capable of managing their own medication may possess over the counter drugs in their units.

Medically certified staff members at a senior living facility may administer controlled substances within their scope of practice and in accordance with the residents’ care plans. Noncertified staff cannot administer medication, but they are allowed to provide reminders and assistance with preparing doses for immediate consumption. Residents who can safely self-administer medication may do so, though the facility must keep a current log of all drugs taken by each resident.

Staffing Requirements

Each licensed facility in Oklahoma must have an administrator and staff workers sufficient to look after residents’ needs. No specific staffing ratio is listed in state law, though administrators must be present often enough to directly oversee facility operations, and staff numbers must be high enough that residents get nearly immediate assistance as needed.

Administrators in Oklahoma must be at least 21 years old and hold at least one of these credentials:

  • A Nursing Home Administrator license
  • A residential care home administrator’s certificate of training completion
  • A nationally recognized senior living certificate of training and competency for senior living administrators

Staff members must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal and registry background check. Orientation and initial training must be completed within 10 days of hire with annual refresher training for staff members who provide face-to-face care services.

Oklahoma Senior Living Free Resources

Oklahoma Agencies

Oklahoma Medicaid

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority coordinates benefits for the joint federal-state Medicaid program through its own state-level office, SoonerCare. Medicaid provides basic health insurance for seniors, children, adults with disabilities and seniors with low or fixed incomes. Benefits include free or low-cost preventive care, diagnostic services, medical procedures and some prescription drugs. Non-medical benefits are also available through Medicaid, such as nonemergency transportation and mobility aids for seniors with disabilities.

To qualify for Medicaid coverage, seniors in Oklahoma must meet the program’s income and asset limitations. These are based on the Federal Benefits Rate and change year over year. In 2020, applicants are eligible for Medicaid coverage with no share of cost if their countable assets are less than $3,000. This amount does not include a single vehicle or home, personal possessions or other minor items. Speak with a Medicaid planner to organize assets in a way that leaves open Medicaid eligibility in Oklahoma.

Contact: Apply online for SoonerCare, or request an application packet by calling 1-800-987-7767.

Area Agencies on Aging in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services operates several Area Agencies on Aging to help seniors in the state find and obtain the help they need to remain comfortable and safe in their communities. Open to Oklahoma seniors aged 60 and over, AAA offices provide referrals for social services and community events, which are regularly scheduled for senior centers and public venues all over the state. Seniors can find their local AAA office online.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Oklahoma

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs helps honorably discharged veterans and eligible surviving spouses find financial and medical resources to help manage the cost of senior living. Staff at a regional VA office provide referrals for counseling and medical care, including for pre-admission medical exams for seniors being admitted to a senior living community. Help is also available with recruiting caregivers and applying for veteran-specific programs on a local community level. Senior veterans can find an office nearby online.

Ardmore Veterans Center1015 S Commerce St.
Ardmore, OK 73401
(580) 223-2266
Claremore Veterans Center3001 W. Blue Starr Drive
Claremore, OK 74017-0988
(918) 342-5432
Clinton Veterans Center1701 South 4th
Clinton, OK 73601
(580) 331-2200
Lawton/Fort Sill Veterans Center501 S.E. Flower Mound Road
Lawton, OK 73501
(580) 351-6511
Norman Veterans Center1776 E. Robinson St.
Norman, OK 73070
(405) 360-5600
Sulphur Veterans Center304 E. Fairlane
Sulphur, OK 73086
(580) 622-7500
The Talihina Veterans Center10014 SE. 1138th Ave.
Talihina, OK 74571
(918) 567-2251

Social Security Offices in Oklahoma

The Social Security Administration offers seniors in Oklahoma assistance with locating and applying for several programs they may be eligible for. Assistance programs include Social Security, SSI/SSDI, Medicare and some low-income housing and nutrition aid programs. Seniors in Oklahoma can apply for these programs at a local Social Security office, which may be found online.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Oklahoma?

Assisted living in Alabama costs an average of $3,250 per month. This is less than the $4,051 national average.

Does Medicaid pay for assisted living?

Medicaid does not offer payment assistance with the monthly cost of board and care in a nonmedical setting. Medicaid offers basic health services for low-income beneficiaries, which can help with many of the secondary costs of senior care, but not board and care costs for assisted living.

Does Medicare pay for assisted living?

Medicare does not directly pay for any of the board and care costs of assisted living. Original Medicare does have two components, called Parts A and B, that cover the cost of inpatient care in a hospital and outpatient care at medical offices, plus a Part D benefit to help with prescription drug costs. Part C, sometimes called Medicare Advantage, is an alternative form of Medicare that is provided by private insurance carriers that often includes some coverage Original Medicare lacks. It is best to speak with a plan representative about what a policy covers before moving into an assisted living facility.

What are “activities of daily living”?

The term “activities of daily living” refers to several of the tasks seniors in assisted living communities need help performing on a near-daily basis. Typical activities include bathing, grooming, dressing and meal preparation. These activities are usually included in the normal responsibilities of a personal caregiver.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

Assisted living is a less medically intensive level of senior care than nursing care. Residents at an assisted living community generally self-administer their medication and manage many of their own affairs. Caregivers may help with activities of daily living and some chores, though they are nor typically allowed to provide medical interventions. Nursing home staff are usually able to administer medication and assist with residents’ physical and mental therapy.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Oklahoma

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Oklahoma cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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