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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.

The Cost of Senior Living in Oklahoma

Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living.

Note: Memory care is typically provided in communities licensed as assisted living facilities, and in general, costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living services. No authoritative cost data is available for this type of care, so we estimated memory care rates by adding 25% to assisted living fees in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Seniors in Oklahoma have a range of long-term care options, letting them choose the setting that best fits their needs. Independent living communities are for active adults who don’t need personal or skilled nursing care but want a low-maintenance environment where they can relax and have time to explore interests. Assisted living is for those who need help with some daily living activities such as meal preparation, personal grooming and meal preparation. Memory care is a type of assisted living that accommodates the needs of those with dementia. Nursing home care provides personal care and skilled nursing services in a more clinical environment. Some communities provide multiple levels of care in one setting, enabling older adults to age in place even as their needs change. 

The Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey indicates that Oklahoma is a generally affordable state for accessing all types of long-term care. Independent living is the cheapest option at $2,506 per month. Seniors in assisted living pay $3,855 for monthly care, and those in memory care facilities pay higher rates of $4,819 for care. Nursing homes charge $5,475 per month for skilled nursing and personal care services. 

$3855

Assisted Living

$2506

Independent Living

$4819

Memory Care

$5475

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Oklahoma 

Seniors in Oklahoma pay $3,855 per month for assisted living services, which is well below the national average rate of $4,500. In Arkansas, rates are about $100 lower at $3,760 per month. In Texas, older adults in assisted living pay $3,998, and in Kansas, care costs are consistent with the national average of $4,500. 

$3855

Oklahoma

$4500

The United Statess

$4580

Kansas

$3760

Arkansas

$3998

Texas

The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma 

Nursing home rates in Oklahoma are competitive at $5,475 per month, which is nearly $2,500 lower than the national median of $7,908. In Arkansas, nursing home residents pay $6,083, and in Arkansas, rates are even higher at $6,08. Texas has some of the lowest nursing home rates in the nation at $5,125.  

$5475

Oklahoma

$7908

The United States

$6296

Kansas

$6083

Arkansas

$5125

Texas

Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Oklahoma?

For many older adults, long-term care costs exceed retirement income and can be burdensome. Fortunately, qualifying individuals may enroll in SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, for partial or full coverage for long-term care. The amount of coverage a senior gets for long-term care depends on the program they’re enrolled in and the setting they live in.  

SoonerCare provides full coverage for older adults in nursing homes, picking up where Medicare leaves off to ensure residents have access to the services they need without jeopardizing their financial stability. To get this coverage, applicants must undergo a medical eligibility determination to verify their need for services. This process includes an evaluation of their needs and whether they may qualify for home- or community-based alternatives.  

Oklahoma’s Medicaid program has provisions for assisted living and memory care services, but this level of care isn’t paid for under the regular program. Instead, SoonerCare beneficiaries must enroll in the ADvantage Waiver Program. This program is for those whose care requirements qualify them for nursing home care but who want to remain in a community setting. Similar to regular Medicaid, applicants undergo a determination process that verifies their need for services. 

Because independent living is for older adults who are independent, it doesn’t include personal care or medical services. For that reason, this type of care isn’t covered by Medicaid. Seniors may have other options for funding independent living services, including reverse mortgages, long-term care insurance and annuities.  

Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Assisted Living in Oklahoma?  

 
 
Medicaid Coverage Level Type of Medicaid Coverage Entitlement?*  
Assisted Living Partial Medicaid Waivers No 
Independent Living None N/A N/A 
Memory Care Partial Medicaid Waivers No 
Nursing Home Care Full Medicaid  Yes 

*Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” then participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.  

Medicaid’s Coverage for Assisted Living & Memory Care in Oklahoma 

Oklahoma’s Medicaid program doesn’t cover long-term residential care services directly. Instead, it pays for services under a waiver or a provision that lets the federal government waive rules that typically apply to Medicaid. 

ADvantage Waiver Program 

The ADvantage Waiver Program is available to seniors who need the scope of care that nursing homes provide but who want to live in an assisted living facility or nursing home instead. Those enrolled in this waiver are required to pay room and board, but they may get coverage for other services, depending on their specific needs. Some services this waiver covers include: 

  • Housekeeping and laundry 
  • Personal care 
  • Disposable medical supplies 
  • Case management 
  • Hospice 
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapy 
  • Specialized medical equipment 
  • Emergency and nonemergency medical transportation 
  • Restorative and supportive assistance 
  • Prescription medications 
  • Skilled nursing services 

To qualify for this waiver program, applicants must undergo an assessment that verifies their need for nursing home level care. They must also meet financial guidelines.

To apply, seniors can call the ADvantage Administration office at (800) 435-4711 or visit their local Department of Human Services office. 

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma 

Currently, about two-thirds of nursing home residents in Oklahoma rely on Medicaid to cover care costs. This program covers around-the-clock nursing care, dietary services, prescription medications and diagnostic services, along with other skilled services the resident needs. Medicaid is a payor of last resort, meaning that it only pays for services after other health insurance plans, such as Medicare and Medigap, have paid their respective portions.  

Eligibility for Medicaid in Oklahoma 

To qualify for Nursing Home Medicaid or the ADvantage Waiver Program, Oklahoma seniors must meet income and asset guidelines. While these are distinct programs, they share financial eligibility limits.

Regardless of whether the individual is seeking coverage for nursing home or residential care, they may have up to $30,276 in annual income and up to $2,000 in countable assets. In a two-person household with one applicant, only the individual’s income is considered. The applicant may hold up to $2,000 in assets and their spouse can have up to $137,400. If both members of a two-person household are applying, they may have a combined annual income of up to $60,552 and a combined countable asset amount of $4,000. The Department of Human Services tells the applicant how much of their own money they can retain, how much can be transferred to their spouse or dependents to prevent impoverishment and how much must go toward care costs.  

2022 Oklahoma Medicaid Income Limits  

 
 
Income Limits* Asset Limits 
Single Person $30,276 $2,000 
Two-Person Household
(Only one applicant)  
$30,276 (for applicant) $2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant 
Two-Person Household
(Two applicants)  
$60,552 $4,000 

*per year 

Applicants must also meet eligibility requirements outside of financial criteria. To qualify for Medicaid, applicants must: 

  • Be at least 65 years old, blind or disabled 
  • Be U.S. citizens or legal residents 
  • Be permanent residents of Oklahoma 
  • Require a nursing home level of care 

Applying for Medicaid in Oklahoma 

Oklahoma residents can apply for Medicaid in person at the closest DHS office. Those who prefer to apply online can do so at OKDHSLive! 

Before You Apply 

To ensure a smooth and efficient application process, the individual must be able to provide documentation that supports their need and eligibility for services. Before beginning, seniors should have key documents on hand, including: 

  • Birth certificate 
  • Social Security card 
  • Proof of state residency 
  • Income verification letters or tax forms 
  • Bank statements 
  • Proof of assets 
  • Funeral trust documents 
  • Proof of life insurance assignment 
  • Policy numbers for other health insurance coverage, including Medicare 

How to Get Help 

Seniors in Oklahoma can get more information on Medicaid’s coverage for nursing homes and residential care services through several programs and agencies. The following table highlights top resources in Oklahoma to help older adults navigate the enrollment process, understand their coverage and get help with appealing denied claims.  

 Contact What You Should Know 
SoonerCare Helpline (800) 987-7767 The SoonerCare Helpline is staffed with live agents who answer callers’ questions and concerns about Medicaid, including benefits, how to submit an application and the appeals process. 
Oklahoma Health Care Authority (405) 522-7300 The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has an easy-to-navigate online portal where site visitors can find Medicaid-registered health care and transportation providers in their regions. It also provides detailed information on SoonerCare and its waiver programs. 
DHS ADvantage Administration (800) 435-4711 The DHS ADvantage Administration provides the Soonercare waiver that pays for assisted living and memory care services. It has a toll-free number seniors can call for more information on what the program covers and how to find certified ADvantage health care providers. 
American Council on AgingOnline Contact FormThe American Council on Aging publishes up-to-date information on Medicaid eligibility criteria and waiver programs in Oklahoma. It also has details on how individuals can qualify if their income or assets exceed limits.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Oklahoma?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, independent living, or memory care. Unlike nursing homes, these care types are not considered to be “clinical settings” and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, those who live in these communities can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.

When it comes to nursing home care, it gets much more complicated. Medicare does provide limited coverage for a qualified stay in a nursing home,but there are strict rules and requirements of which you should be aware. This benefit is available to seniors who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge.

Once you’ve met the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (per benefit period). While the first 20 days are covered in full, there is a daily coinsurance rate that must be paid starting on day 21. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.


Medicare CoverageMedicare Coverage DurationCoinsurance Requirement?
Assisted LivingNoneN/AN/A
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CareNoneN/AN/A
Nursing Home CareLimited100 Days Per Benefit PeriodYes – After 20 Days

What Nursing Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Nursing Home Care Services Aren’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

Medicare Support & Resources in Oklahoma 

Medicare’s coverage limits and processes can be confusing, but fortunately, several agencies and programs help Oklahoma residents make informed decisions regarding their coverage. The following resource table highlights Medicare resources for seniors in Oklahoma. 

ResourceContact  What You Should Know 
Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. (888) 534-5243 Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc., is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides free assistance with Medicare-related issues, including help with applying for benefits, resolving billing errors and denied claims and understanding how to guard against health insurance fraud and waste. This agency can also help with issues related to nursing home and residential care, including excessive or insufficient services. 
Oklahoma Senior Insurance Counseling Program (800) 763-2828 SHIP is staffed with trained volunteers who answer seniors’ questions about their Medicare benefits, coverage limits and out-of-pocket costs. Counselors can also help Medicare beneficiaries research Medigap and Medicare Advantage options in their cities, which may reduce what they pay for a nursing home, assisted living or memory care services.  
Medicare.gov  (800) 633-4227  The federal Medicare website has comprehensive information on the deductibles, premiums and coverage limits for Parts A and B. It also provides comprehensive information on the types of Medicare Advantage and Medigap plans, details on how to avoid late enrollment fees and what to look for in prescription drug coverage. 
Oklahoma Insurance Department (405) 521-2828 The Oklahoma Insurance Department regulates health insurance policies sold in the state and advocates for policyholders to ensure their claims are handled fairly. The website highlights the state’s external review process for those denied coverage or payment under their health insurance plan. It also has a list of resources that help older adults choose the right insurance coverage for their needs. 

Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Oklahoma?

Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Oklahoma. Below, we cover some of the common ways that seniors can make senior living options such as assisted living or memory care more affordable.


How to Get StartedWhat You Should Know
Aid and AttendanceApply online at va.gov.If you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.
Reverse MortgagesResearch and learn about the different types at ftc.gov.If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at acl.gov.While those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.

Free Senior Living Resources for Seniors in Oklahoma

Oklahoma has an extensive network of agencies and programs to help seniors connect with the services and supports they need to maintain their independence and financial stability throughout their retirement years. The following resources include agencies that provide social and recreational programming, community-based services and information and referrals.  

 Contact What You Should Know 
Area Agencies on Aging (800) 211-2116 Oklahoma is home to 11 Area Agencies on Aging. These agencies administer services under the Older Americans Act to those aged 60 and over, helping to promote their independence and safety. Seniors can contact their local AAA for help with obtaining transportation services, finding social and recreational programming in their areas and accessing information and referrals for community-based services. AAAs also provide options counseling to help older adults find the right level of care for their needs and goals.   
Long-Term Care Ombudsman (405) 521-2281 The Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program includes professional staff and trained volunteers who promote high-quality care in nursing homes, assisted living facilities and memory care facilities throughout the state. Ombudsmen visit local facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations, help residents understand their rights and mediate conflicts. The ombudsmen can also help older adults and families research long-term care options and ways to pay for services, and they can investigate concerns regarding the scope and quality of care. 
Oklahoma Senior Corps (405) 521-6240 The Oklahoma Senior Corps Program has volunteer opportunities for those aged 55 and over, helping them serve their communities in ways that fit their interests, schedules and abilities. The program includes RSVP, the Foster Grandparent Program and the Senior Companion Program. 
Oklahoma Alliance on Aging (405) 943-1895   The Oklahoma Alliance on Aging has a range of initiatives to improve older adults’ quality of life and access to care, including wellness screenings and long-term care options counseling. It hosts Senior Day annually, an event in which individuals get information on long-term care services available throughout the state. 
Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs (855) 701-6382 The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs publishes information on how to access state tax exemptions, join the Oklahoma Veterans Registry and apply for state and federal veterans’ benefits. It has office locations in counties throughout the state where veterans get one-on-one information, support and assistance with applying for benefits that may help cover nursing home and residential care. The department can also screen individuals for veterans’ home placement.  
AARP Oklahoma (866) 295-7277 AARP Oklahoma is a nonprofit organization that publishes up-to-date information on issues that affect older adults, including health insurance tips, legislative bills and decisions regarding when to collect Social Security. It also has a membership program that offers a range of benefits, such as discounts on travel and restaurants, daily lifestyle tips, access to the AARP Fraud Watch Network and a rewards program.  
Alzheimer’s Association Oklahoma Chapter (800) 272-3900 The Oklahoma Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association provides a broad range of resources to seniors and families affected by dementia, including a toll-free 24-hour helpline, a Community Resource Finder and a comprehensive online library with publications pertaining to Alzheimer’s. It also hosts in-person and virtual support groups and early stage engagement programs throughout the state, helping Oklahoma residents connect with others facing similar challenges. 

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Oklahoma Senior Living Facilities

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including oklahoma.gov and cdc.gov/coronavirus. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/13/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

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?No
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
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
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?No (Conditions Apply)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes (Conditions Apply)

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 (Conditions Apply)
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 (Conditions Apply)

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.

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.

Learn More About Senior Living in Oklahoma

For more information about specific types of senior living in Oklahoma read our Guide to Assisted Living and Independent Living.

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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