With its pleasant, sunny weather, very low cost of living and nearly 3 dozen scenic state parks, it’s not surprising that Oklahoma is becoming an increasingly popular retirement destination. According to the 2022 Senior Living Report, Oklahoma ranks 18th in the nation in the health care category for factors such as high patient satisfaction and accessible mental health care, and it ranks 12th for its diverse senior housing options.

Currently, those aged 65 and over make up a little over 16% of the state’s nearly 4 million residents, and the senior population is expected to grow considerably in coming years. Oklahoma has numerous nonprofit organizations and programs to provide support and help seniors make informed decisions regarding their long-term care, as well as high-performing hospitals, such as Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City and St. Francis Hospital in Tulsa. On average, older adults in Oklahoma pay $3,855 per month for assisted living services, making it among the most cost-effective states in the nation for this type of care.

This guide provides more information on care costs in Oklahoma, as well as details on available resources, options for paying for care and the regulations that assisted living facilities in the state must follow.  

The Cost of Assisted Living in Oklahoma

The Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey reports that assisted living facilities in Oklahoma charge $3,855 per month on average for services. This is several hundred dollars lower than the national median of $4,500, making it one of the most affordable states in the country for this level of senior care. Rates in Arkansas tend to be a little lower, with seniors paying $3,760 on average. In Texas, care costs are a little higher than in Oklahoma at $3,998 per month. Seniors in New Mexico pay $4,498 for assisted living services, and in Kansas, the average cost is a little above the national median at $4,580 per month.  

$3855

Oklahoma

$4500

The United States

$4580

Kansas

$3760

Arkansas

$3998

Texas

$4498

New Mexico

Assisted living costs tend to be low in most cities in Oklahoma, although rates in the state’s capital of Oklahoma City are relatively high at $4,800 per month. In Enid, costs are more competitive at $3,980, and in Tulsa, the second-most populous city in the state, rates are on par with the Oklahoma median at $3,855. The average cost of assisted living in Lawton is the lowest in the state at $3,561 per month.  

$3855

Tulsa

$3980

Enid

$4800

Oklahoma City

$3561

Lawton

Assisted living is among the most affordable senior care options in Oklahoma at $3,855 per month. Older adults may be able to save money by obtaining care in a daytime community setting for $1,495, but because this rate doesn’t include other living expenses, it may not be cost-effective for everyone. Those who obtain care in their own homes pay $4,862 for both basic home care and specialized home health care. Nursing homes provide the costliest care, but rates are still affordable compared to national averages at $5,475 for shared rooms and $6,083 for private accommodations.  

$3855

Assisted Living

$4862

Home Care

$4862

Home Health Care

$1495

Adult Day Health Care

$5475

Nursing Home Care (semiprivate)

$6083

Nursing Home Care (private)

Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in Oklahoma?

SoonerCare, Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, provides essential health care coverage for income-qualifying individuals. While the program covers nursing home and in-home care, it doesn’t cover assisted living services directly. Instead, it pays for residential care under the ADvantage Waiver Program. This program is available to those who need the type of care provided in nursing homes but want to live at home or in an assisted living facility. Eligibility for the waiver is established by a Department of Human Services caseworker and depends on factors such as your financial and medical needs. 

SoonerCare is an entitlement, meaning that individuals who meet the eligibility guidelines are guaranteed coverage. However, the ADvantage Waiver Program has limited funding, and those who qualify for enrollment may be placed on a waiting list until a slot is available.  

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in Oklahoma? 

SoonerCare’s ADvantage Waiver offers robust coverage for long-term services and supports for those who qualify for nursing home-level care but are able to receive services in a less restrictive setting. This program covers many of the services assisted living residents receive, which can reduce the financial burden of long-term care. 

Assisted Living Waiver Programs in Oklahoma 

ADvantage Waiver Program 

The ADvantage Waiver Program helps people aged 65 and over and those with physical disabilities aged 21 and over live at home or in Medicaid-approved assisted living facilities instead of nursing homes. While it doesn’t pay for room and board, it covers services such as: 

  • Housecleaning and laundry  
  • Help with daily living activities including personal care, mobility and meal preparation
  • Disposable medical supplies
  • Hospice care
  • Case management
  • Physical, speech and occupational therapy
  • Specialized medical equipment
  • Prescription drugs
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Emergency and nonemergency medical transportation  
  • Restorative and supportive assistance  

To obtain services, you must also meet financial and need-based guidelines. You must be assessed as requiring the level of care provided in a nursing home but want to live in a noninstitutional setting, such as a private home or assisted living facility. 

To apply for this waiver, you can visit your local Department of Human Services office or call the ADvantage Administration office at (800) 435-4711. 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in Oklahoma 

To qualify for Oklahoma’s Medicaid program, you must be considered low-income. Individual applicants can have an annual income of up to $17,131, while couples who are both applying may earn up to $23,169. Income from all sources counts, such as Social Security and veterans’ benefits, pensions, rental property income, annuities and withdrawals from retirement accounts. Single applicants can have up to $2,000 in countable assets, and married applicants can have up to $4,000. Assets such as a primary residence, one vehicle and personal belongings don’t count toward this limit. 

If your income and assets exceed these limits, you may still be eligible for Medicaid. You might qualify by depositing excess funds in a qualified income trust or by spending down your assets. If your spouse isn’t applying for coverage, they may be eligible for a minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance, which could reduce your income to within the limit. They may also keep up to $137,400 in jointly owned assets.   

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in Oklahoma 

Annual Income Limits

Asset Limit 

Single Applicant 

$17,131 

$2,000 

Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)

$17,131

$2,000 for applicant

$137,400 for non-applicant

Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

$23,169

$2,000 per applicant

Along with meeting financial eligibility guidelines, applicants must also meet criteria related to age and residency. They must be at least 65 years old or have a disability, and they must be U.S. citizens or legal residents and permanent residents of Oklahoma.  

How to Apply for Medicaid in Oklahoma 

You can apply for Medicaid through the Department of Human Services. This can be done online at OKDHSLive! or in person at your nearest DHS office.

Information You Will Need 

To apply for Medicaid, you must be able to provide supporting documentation to prove your eligibility. This can include: 

  • Birth certificate
  • Social Security card
  • Proof of Oklahoma residency
  • Income verification sources or tax forms
  • Proof of assets
  • Family trust documents
  • Funeral trust documents
  • Proof of life insurance assignment
  • Policy numbers for existing health coverage, including Medicare or TRICARE  

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

If you have questions about SoonerCare and long-term care coverage, there are several resources that can provide information and guidance. Through the following departments and helplines, you can get one-on-one assistance with understanding Medicaid’s eligibility requirements and benefits, completing the application process and appealing denied coverage.  

Resource 

Contact

Description 

(800) 987-7767 

The SoonerCare Helpline provides free one-on-one help with learning about Medicaid’s benefits, eligibility guidelines and the application process. Callers can also get assistance with the online application process.

(405) 522-7300 

The Oklahoma Health Care Authority provides comprehensive information on Medicaid benefits and waiver programs. It also features a portal where individuals can find Medicaid-registered health care providers in their area as well as contractors who provide SoonerRide transportation services.

(800) 435-4711 

The DHS ADvantage Administration oversees the waiver program that covers assisted living services. Seniors can contact the agency to learn more about the program's coverage and for help with finding certified ADvantage providers. 

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in Oklahoma?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in Oklahoma. Assisted living facilities are considered to be a “residential setting” and not a “clinical setting,” (think nursing homes). While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care received in an assisted living community, it does 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 senior living in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in Oklahoma.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living 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 Assisted Living 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 Assisted Living.

Reverse Mortgages

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 Assisted Living. 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 Assisted Living. 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 Assisted Living will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in Oklahoma

There are several nonprofit agencies and programs that help you navigate your long-term care options and identify ways to pay for services. Through the following resources, you can connect with legal and financial advisors, options counselors and information and referral specialists. These resources may also help you find social and recreational activities in your area.  

Resource 

Contact 

Description 

(800) 211-2116 

There are 11 Area Agencies on Aging in Oklahoma. These independent nonprofit agencies are funded through the Older Americans Act and provide a range of free and low-cost services and supports to older adults in the state. Through their local AAA, seniors can access services to supplement what they obtain through assisted living, including nonemergency medical transportation, wellness screenings and options counseling. AAAs can also help seniors locate social and recreational programs in their communities.

(405) 521-2281 

The state's Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program advocates on behalf of seniors in long-term care facilities. Local ombudsmen visit facilities to ensure residents have access to key information, including a list of their rights, weekly menus and available social and recreational opportunities. The ombudsman can also investigate concerns regarding substandard care and other concerns.

(888) 534-5243 

Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma is a statewide nonprofit organization that provides free civil legal services to those aged 60 and over. Seniors can contact the organization for help with obtaining public benefits that may help cover assisted living services or addressing problems such as veterans’ or Social Security benefit overpayments. The organization can also help seniors understand assisted living contracts, assign powers of attorney or resolve issues related to inadequate or excessive care.

(405) 521-6240

Oklahoma Senior Corps provides exclusive volunteer opportunities to older adults within the state. It operates three programs, including Foster Grandparents, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program and Senior Companions. Participants choose how much and in what capacity they want to serve, and in-person and remote options may be available. In exchange for service, seniors may receive small tax-free stipends, supplemental insurance and invitations to recognition events, depending on the program they volunteer with.

(405) 943-1895

The Oklahoma Alliance on Aging works to improve older adults’ quality of life through education and advocacy services. It operates numerous community initiatives throughout the state, including health and wellness services and screenings. 

(855) 701-6382 

The Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs administers a range of benefits to older veterans in the state, including tax exemptions, free admission to state-owned parks and museums and health services. The department also helps veterans identify and apply for VA benefits earned through their service, such as pensions and Aid and Attendance supplements, which may be used to pay for assisted living care.

(800) 763-2828 

Oklahoma SHIP provides free, unbiased Medicare counseling, helping older adults make informed decisions regarding their health insurance coverage. This volunteer-driven program provides over-the-phone and in-person consultations to help seniors understand their Medicare coverage, compare Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans and address problems such as denied claims or canceled policies. SHIP counselors can also help seniors determine whether they qualify for public benefits such as Medicaid.

COVID-19 Rules for Assisted Living in Oklahoma

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including oklahoma.gov and cdc.gov. These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 3/16/2022, 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.

Visitation Policies

Rules for Oklahoma Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for Oklahoma Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

No

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for Oklahoma Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in Oklahoma

Assisted living facilities in Oklahoma comply with regulations set by the Department of Health. This department ensures high quality standards by enforcing rules related to care requirements, staffing, building requirements and abuse reporting. This table highlights some of the regulations that impact residents’ day-to-day lives.

OKLAHOMA LAWS AND REGULATIONS

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements 

Prior to admitting a resident, assisted living facilities must conduct a thorough assessment to ensure they provide the level of care the individual needs. Based on this assessment, which is conducted by a trained health professional, the facility creates a customized care plan.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements 

Assisted living facilities can only admit residents whose care needs are within the limits of what they provide. Those ineligible for admission include seniors who need physical or chemical restraints or pose a threat to their own or others’ safety. If a resident develops a disability or health condition and their care needs exceed what the facility provides, the facility can terminate their residency.

Assisted Living Scope of Care 

Assisted living facilities in Oklahoma provide help with daily living activities, nursing supervision, medication administration, social and recreational activities and housekeeping services. Facilities serve three meals a day according to guidelines set by a licensed nutritionist or dietitian.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy 

The Oklahoma Medicaid ADvantage Waiver Program covers assisted living services for qualified individuals. While this waiver doesn’t cover housing costs, it pays for many care services including skilled nursing, therapy and personal care. 

Assisted Living Facility Requirements 

Assisted living facilities must maintain a safe, clean and organized environment. There must be at least one toilet for every six residents and one bathtub or shower per 10 residents. Residents’ rooms must be at least 80 square feet in size, or at least 60 square feet per resident in shared rooms, and they must have comfortable mattresses, clean linens and personal storage space.

Medication Management Regulations 

Assisted living facilities can help with self-administered medications. This includes providing safe storage, distributing medications, observing residents taking their medication and maintaining records. Unlicensed staff may only help with medication administration if they’ve obtained the appropriate training from a university or trade school. A registered nurse or consulting pharmacist must review each resident's medication regimen monthly. 

Staffing Requirements 

Assisted living facilities are required to have administrators who oversee operations, nursing staff to carry out skilled services, dietary consultants, pharmacy consultants and nursing consultants if there are no on-staff nurses. There are no minimum staffing ratios, but facilities must have sufficient staff members on-site to meet residents’ needs. 

Staff Training Requirements 

Administrators must complete 50 hours of training that includes 15 hours on medication administration, supervision, record-keeping, recreation planning and requirements for reporting abuse. Direct care staff must complete 8 hours of in-service training within 90 days of their hire date and on an annual basis. Those who administer medications must complete an additional 8 hours of training that covers topics such as patient reporting and record-keeping. 

Background Checks for Assisted Living 

Assisted living facilities must screen prospective unlicensed staff, including volunteers and full- and part-time caregivers, by following the Long-Term Care National Background Check program. This includes a criminal background check and a search on the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Registry.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse 

In Oklahoma, all assisted living staff members are mandated reporters, meaning they’re legally required to report suspected abuse to the Department of Human Services. Staff, as well as residents, visitors and family members, can file a report online or by calling (800) 522-3511. Alternatively, they may contact local law enforcement.