Memory Care in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, about 16% of the 4 million residents are aged 65 and over. This demographic accounts for the majority of Alzheimer’s cases in the state and is projected to grow significantly in the coming years. Currently, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death statewide, with a nearly 180% increase in the number of Alzheimer’s deaths between 2000 and 2019.
Oklahoma is a prime option for those seeking long-term residential dementia care services. The state’s overall cost of living is about 15% below the national average, which is also reflected in the memory care cost of $4,819 per month. The generally warm climate may appeal to those who rely on mobility aids or enjoy therapeutic outdoor activities. The state has a broad range of resources for older adults with dementia, including early-stage engagement programs, support groups and educational workshops, as well as high-performing medical facilities, such as St. Francis Hospital and Ascension St. John Medical Center in Tulsa and Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City. It also has numerous memory care facilities that provide compassionate specialized care for those living with dementia.
Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
This guide highlights important information for seniors and families considering memory care services in Oklahoma, including the cost of care, public benefits that may help cover monthly rates and local nonprofit organizations that serve those with dementia.
The Cost of Memory Care in Oklahoma
Note: In Oklahoma, memory care services are administered in licensed assisted living facilities. Memory care rates aren’t available through any authoritative data sources, but on average, seniors pay 20-30% more for this level of care compared to standard assisted living. To calculate the following estimates, we add 25% to assisted living rates in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.
In Oklahoma, memory care costs $4,819 per month, making it among the most economical states for this type of care. Nationwide, seniors pay $5,625 per month for services. In Kansas, rates exceed averages in Oklahoma and the nation as a whole at $5,725, and in New Mexico, seniors pay $5,623. Care costs in Texas are more affordable but still expensive compared to rates in Oklahoma at $4,998. In Arkansas, rates are a little more affordable at $4,700.
The United States
Monthly memory care rates are low in most of Oklahoma’s major cities, coming in near or below the state median. In Lawton, rates are the lowest statewide at $4,451. Memory care costs in Tulsa are consistent with the state average at $4,819, and in Enid, seniors pay $4,975. Oklahoma City, the state’s capital and most populous city, is the costliest location, with average rates above the state and national medians at $6,000.
Senior care costs in Oklahoma are competitive compared to rates in the rest of the nation, and older adults have several options to choose from depending on their needs and budgets. Nursing home care is the costliest option at $5,475 for shared rooms and $6,083 for private units. Residential memory care services are considerably cheaper at $4,819. Seniors in the early stages of dementia who obtain care in their own homes pay $4,862 for either basic home care or specialized home health care. Assisted living is comparable to memory care but doesn’t include dementia services and costs $3,855 per month. Adult day health care is the cheapest option at $1,495.
Home Health Care
Adult Day Health Care
Nursing Home Facility (semiprivate room)
Nursing Home Facility (private room)
Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in Oklahoma?
Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma.
Qualifying seniors in Oklahoma may pay for memory care services through the state’s Medicaid program, called SoonerCare. While this program doesn’t cover services directly, it has a provision for long-term care via the ADvantage Waiver Program, which pays for community-based residential services for those who need a nursing home level of care.
Unlike SoonerCare, which is an entitlement program that guarantees coverage for everyone who meets eligibility guidelines, the ADvantage Waiver Program has limited enrollment. Qualifying individuals may be placed on a waiting list until slots become available.
What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Oklahoma?
Through the ADvantage Waiver Program, SoonerCare pays for many of the services individuals receive in memory care, including personal care, housekeeping and meals. This waiver program is available to those who qualify for nursing home level care but want to live in a noninstitutional setting. While residents are still responsible for paying for room and board, the waiver program’s coverage for long-term care services can reduce their out-of-pocket memory care costs.
Memory Care Waiver Programs in Oklahoma
ADvantage Waiver Program
The ADvantage Waiver Program may pay for memory care services for those in residential care communities licensed as assisted living facilities. Some services this waiver covers include:
- Housekeeping and maintenance services
- Laundry and linen services
- Disposable medical supplies
- Durable medical equipment
- Skilled nursing
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy
- Restorative and supportive services
To be eligible for services, applicants must be at least 65 years old or disabled, and they must reside in a Medicaid-approved memory care facility as an alternative to a nursing home. They must also meet financial eligibility requirements to qualify for SoonerCare.
Seniors can apply for this waiver by visiting their local Department of Human Services office and filling out an application in person. Alternatively, they can call the ADvantage Administration office at (800) 435-4711. To establish eligibility, a nurse asks the applicant questions regarding their medical history, current needs and social activities.
How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Oklahoma
SoonerCare is primarily for low-income individuals and has financial eligibility guidelines applicants must meet to qualify. Single applicants can have an annual income of up to $17,131 and up to $2,000 in countable assets. These include cash, money in bank accounts and investments. The individual’s primary home, one vehicle and personal belongings don’t count toward the asset limit. For married applicants, the income limit is $23,169 and the asset limit is $4,000. If only one spouse is applying for coverage, the non-applicant may be eligible for a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance and up to $137,400 in assets.
Exceeding these limits doesn’t necessarily make someone ineligible for Medicaid. While the program has a 60-month look-back period that prevents people from gifting or selling assets below market value to qualify, individuals may be able to spend down their assets or deposit excess income in a qualified income trust to meet the limits.
2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Oklahoma
(Only One Person Applying)
$2,000 for applicant
$137,400 for non-applicant
(Both People Applying)
$2,000 per applicant
In addition to meeting financial guidelines, applicants must be at least 65 years old or have a disability. They must also be U.S. citizens or legal residents and permanently reside in Oklahoma. SoonerCare is an entitlement, meaning that seniors who meet all eligibility guidelines are guaranteed coverage.
How to Apply for Medicaid in Oklahoma
Older adults can apply for Medicaid, as well as other public benefits, online through the OKDHSLive! portal. Alternatively, they can visit their nearest DHS office to get answers to questions about Medicaid benefits and the ADvantage Waiver program and fill out and submit a paper application.
Information You Will Need
Before applying for Medicaid, seniors should make sure they have supporting documents on hand to help verify their eligibility. These may include:
- Social Security number
- Birth certificate
- Proof of state residency
- Income verification letters or tax forms
- Proof of assets
- Proof of life insurance assignment
- Family trust documents
- Funeral trust documents
- Policy numbers for existing health coverage, including Medicare
How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid
Oklahoma residents have access to several programs and services to aid them in understanding Medicaid benefits, applying for coverage and appealing denied claims. The following table highlights some statewide resources that may help older adults obtain health insurance coverage and reduce their out-of-pocket memory care costs.
Oklahoma residents can contact the SoonerCare Helpline for free personalized assistance with accessing Medicaid coverage and the ADvantage Waiver Program and help with finding a memory care facility that accepts payment from this program. The helpline can also provide information about the process for appealing denied coverage and claims.
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority operates the Medicaid program in the state. Through this website, seniors can access the MySoonerCare portal, which provides more information on income guidelines, a Member Toolkit and how-to videos that cover topics such as finding primary care providers and uploading supporting documents. The site also has a tool to help individuals locate SoonerRide transportation services in their region.
The DHS ADvantage Administration provides services for seniors in memory care through the ADvantage Waiver Program. On the organization’s website, individuals can learn more about this waiver and apply for benefits.
Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in Oklahoma?
The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in Oklahoma. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.
For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Oklahoma.
Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care in Oklahoma
Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Memory Care affordable.
How to Apply
How It Works
Aid and Attendance
Learn more and apply online at va.gov.
Veterans who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Memory Care.
Learn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.gov
If you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Memory Care. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) Insurance
Learn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at acl.gov.
Seniors who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Memory Care. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Memory Care will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.
Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Oklahoma
Oklahoma seniors and families have access to numerous statewide nonprofit organizations and programs that help them find dementia services in their communities. Through the following resources, individuals can connect with financial and legal experts, options counselors and referral services. These resources can also help families find local support groups and early-stage engagement activities.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association serves nearly 130,000 families in the state's 77 counties. Through this chapter, older adults and families can participate in free virtual education programs that cover topics such as effective communication strategies, healthy living tips and Alzheimer’s warning signs. The chapter operates virtual and in-person early-stage engagement programs facilitated by trained individuals, as well as support groups for seniors and families affected by dementia.
The Oklahoma Dementia Care Network is housed within the Department of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. This statewide program connects seniors and families with organizations and programs and oversees community-based education programs for dementia support and care. It operates virtual classes for caregivers and nursing homes and has resources for local memory care facilities.
The Oklahoma Healthy Brain Program outlines actionable steps to help individuals protect their cognitive health, address signs of memory decline and meet the needs of informal caregivers. It has educational initiatives to promote Alzheimer’s awareness in the community and serves as a single point of contact for accessing dementia services and supports. It also maintains a list of regional, state and national dementia resources for seniors and families.
The Oklahoma Care Planning Council has an up-to-date database of medical and senior care providers throughout the state. Through this website, seniors and families can get more information about reverse mortgages, veterans’ benefits, medical alert systems and government programs such as Medicaid and Medicare. The website also publishes articles covering topics related to aging and long-term care, including tips on paying for care expenses, recognizing elder abuse and estate planning.
Oklahoma has 11 Area Agencies on Aging, each of which has a designated service area. Through their local AAA, seniors and families can find dementia resources including memory screenings, support groups and early-stage engagement activities. The AAA can also help individuals connect with financial and legal professionals to help them navigate dementia-related issues such as estate planning, assigning guardianship and managing assets.
The Long-Term Care Ombudsman visits memory care facilities throughout the state to ensure compliance with regulations and a high standard of care for residents. Families can consult with the ombudsman for information on memory care facilities in their area, residents’ rights and options for covering costs. The ombudsman can also visit residents in memory care to verify they’re receiving the services in their care plans, and they can investigate concerns about substandard care.
SHIP is a statewide program that provides free Medicare counseling. Seniors and families can speak with a SHIP volunteer for information on Medicare benefits, private Medicare plans and long-term care insurance. SHIP counselors can also help individuals review and understand medical bills and address billing errors.
COVID-19 Rules for Memory Care in Oklahoma
The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including oklahoma.gov/health. 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.
Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?
Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?
Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?
Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?
Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?
Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?
Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?
Outings & Social Activities
Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?
Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?
Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?
Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?
Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?
COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents
Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?
Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?
Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?
Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?
Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?
Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?
Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Oklahoma
In Oklahoma, memory care facilities are licensed as assisted living centers and designated as special care providers if approved for Alzheimer’s care. The Oklahoma State Department of Health is responsible for regulating and inspecting these and other long-term care facilities.
Scope of Care
Memory care facilities can accept residents who require assistance with activities of daily living, as well as Alzheimer’s care, but do not require constant nursing care or otherwise exceed the level of care provided in a facility. The facility must provide accommodation, activities, food, security and supervision.
Admission Policy and Planning
Assisted living and memory care residents must be given a contract that clearly outlines the facility’s admission and discharge policies, grievance procedure and services provided. If memory care is offered, the contract must include specifics about the care and other services related to Alzheimer’s disease that the facility provides, as well as itemized costs where appropriate.
All facilities that provided assisted living or memory care must have the appropriate staff to administer medication, and all medication must be ordered by a physician. Staff must receive appropriate training before administering medication. A registered nurse or pharmacist must be part of the monthly review process for resident medications.
Employee Checks and Training
Oklahoma requires no definitive ratio of staff to residents. However, secure facilities must have at least two staff members on duty, and this applies to all memory care facilities and units. Additionally, the state requires that an appropriate number of staff are available at all times based on resident needs. Employees who work in memory care or are expected to encounter residents with Alzheimer’s must be sufficiently trained, and all staff must pass background checks.
Medicaid covers the cost of care received in participating assisted living and memory care facilities for residents who are approved for the ADvantage and ALSO programs. However, residents must pay room and board costs.
How to File Complaints
Residents, family and members of the public can submit an online report or call the statewide Adult Protective Services hotline at 1-800-522-3511 to report suspected abuse or negligence in a memory care facility.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does memory care cost in Oklahoma?
The average cost of memory care in Oklahoma is $4,398 per month, which is approximately 15% less expensive than the U.S. median.
Does Oklahoma Medicaid pay for memory care?
Yes. However, the state Medicaid program will cover the cost of care only — not the room and board fees — and the individual must qualify for this service as part of the ADvantage Program.
What are activities of daily living?
Activities of daily living include a number of routine daily self-care tasks, such as showering, dressing, preparing meals, eating and transferring to a wheelchair.
What types of facilities offer memory care?
Memory care is most often provided in a secure unit of an assisted living facility or in a stand-alone facility. Some adult day care programs offer services for those with Alzheimer’s, although this is usually only appropriate in the earliest stages of the disease.
What types of therapies are offered in memory care facilities?
Physical, occupational and speech therapies are provided in many assisted living and memory care facilities. Therapies offered with Alzheimer’s care often include cognitive stimulation, validation, music and art.
How Many Memory Care Facilities Are in Oklahoma?
There are 74 memory care facilities in Oklahoma that provide a home for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of memory loss. Since Oklahoma is largely a rural state, its number of memory care communities reflects a relatively low population. These communities are licensed and regulated by the Department of Health as special care providers in assisted living centers. Read More