Q: What is the OKDHS Aging Services Division and what does it do?
A: The Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) Aging Services Division (ASD) is the state’s lead agency for addressing the needs of aging Oklahomans. ASD administers Older Americans Act (OAA) programs and funding, as well as the Home and Community Based (ADvantage) Waiver, which supports the independence and quality of life of Oklahomans age 60 and over and their families. ASD delivers many of its services through 11 area agencies on aging and more than 200 partners statewide.
Q: What is an area agency on aging and what services are available?
A: ASD works with the 11 area agencies on aging (AAAs) in Oklahoma to provide Older Americans Act (OAA) services around the state. Current statewide OAA services include:
- Information and assistance;
- Long-Term Care Ombudsman program;
- Congregate and home-delivered meals;
- In-home assistance;
- One-on-one assistance for life decisions;
- Legal assistance;
- Caregiver assistance;
- Health promotion;
- Nutrition education;
- Resources for grandparents raising grandchildren; and
AAAs also partner with other organizations to promote and provide other services to seniors such as eyeglasses, dentures, help with utility costs, home modification and immunizations.
To find an AAA in your area, call the Senior Info-Line at 1-800-211-2116 or the OKDHS Aging Services Division at (405) 521-2281. You can also visit the OKDHS website www.okdhs.org, click on “Programs and Services” then “Services for Older Persons.”
Q: I am currently caring for my elderly mother 24-hours a day. I love my mother but sometimes I find myself getting tired. What can I do to be a better caregiver?
A: Many Oklahomans care for their parents or an elderly relative and it is very hard work. Respite Care provides a temporary break from caregiving duties. If you’re eligible, you can receive vouchers to pay another caregiver for respite care. You can use respite hours in whatever way best meets your personal needs, such as visiting family or friends, running errands or just catching up on much-needed rest. The Respite Care program has no income limit for persons caring for someone 60 years of age and older.
For more information about the Respite Voucher Program or to apply for services, call OASIS at 1-888-771-4500 or 405-271-4550. You can also visit the OKDHS website www.okdhs.org, click on “Older Persons” then “Respite”.
Q: My father is disabled and has trouble with things like cooking and getting dressed, but he wants to continue living by himself in his own home. Can he get services in his own home?
A: Your father may want to apply for the ADvantage program, a Medicaid-funded program that serves seniors age 65 and older and adults with physical disabilities age 21 and older. ADvantage members receive services in their homes such as personal care, home-delivered meals, prescriptions, specialized medical equipment and supplies and skilled nursing. These in-home services can help your father stay at home instead of going to a nursing home. The ADvantage program does not provide 24-hours care and your father must be able to remain safely in his home.
You can help your father apply for ADvantage. After he applies, a nurse will perform a medical assessment and a case worker will review his financial eligibility. If your father is both medically and financially eligible, a case manager will coordinate a care plan with him to meet his needs.
To apply or for more information, please call the ADvantage Careline at 1-800-435-4711 or visit your local OKDHS Human Services Center.
Q: What services are available for older Oklahomans through the OKDHS Aging Services Division?
A: The OKDHS Aging Services Division administers many different programs and services for older Oklahomans:
- Adult Day Services are delivered at sites across the state and provide subsidized day services for elderly adults and adults with developmental disabilities.
- ADvantage Program provides Medicaid long-term care services through private agencies at home instead of a nursing home. Meals are also delivered to some ADvantage consumers. The program saves taxpayers $300 million a year by serving frail elders and adults with disabilities at home instead of a nursing home.
- Legal Services are provided through ASD Legal Services Developer who works with Legal Aid Services of Oklahoma, Inc. and area agencies on aging. They help protect the rights of older Oklahomans and inform service providers, partners and the general public on issues affecting older Oklahomans and make referrals for legal services.
- Oklahoma Senior Corps Programs provides volunteer opportunities for persons 55 years and older through Retired Seniors Volunteer Program, Senior Companion Program and the Foster Grandparent Program.
- Personal Care Program provides a personal care attendant to help with daily living activities such as bathing, grooming, getting in and out of bed, meals and light housekeeping for persons with those needs. This optional Medicaid service is provided by licensed home care agencies and serves children and adults.
- Respite services provide vouchers to caregivers age 60 and over, or grandparents 55 years or older raising grandchildren, to take a break from full-time caregiving and pay someone to provide temporary care.
- Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program is a grant-based program providing low-income seniors with a purchase credit to buy fresh, locally-grown produce at farmers’ markets.
- Senior Nutrition services, delivered through area agencies on aging and local providers, serve meals to older Oklahomans and those with disabilities at meal sites and through home deliveries.
- State Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program assists residents in nursing home, assisted-living or residential-care facilities by receiving complaints and attempting to resolve them
- Transportation services provide transportation to medical appointments, shopping and other social services for the state’s frail elderly or persons with disability through area agencies on aging, local providers and the Federal Transit Administration’s Section 5310 program.
Other available programs include homemaker, chore and medication management.
For more information about these programs, call the Senior Info-line at 1-800-211-2116 or the OKDHS Aging Services Division (405) 521-2281.
Q: My friend was recently granted custody of her grandchildren. She has trouble with one of the kids and she recently told me how exhausted she feels sometimes. I try to help her as much as I can, but neither of us really knows where to turn. What services are out there?
A: The number of grandparents raising grandchildren has grown rapidly in Oklahoma. To help meet their needs, the number of support groups for grandparents is also increasing. Support groups can offer emotional support, guidance, assistance, advice, resources and connections. Many support groups offer child care so that both grandparents and their grandchildren have a chance to participate in the group.
The Respite Voucher Program also provides a temporary break for grandparents raising grandchildren. If your friend is age 55 or older, she can receive vouchers to pay another caregiver for respite care. Respite hours can be used for things like visiting family or friends, running errands or just catching up on much-needed rest.
For more information about the Respite Voucher Program, call OASIS at 1-888-771-4500 or 405-271-4550. You can also request a copy of “Starting Points for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren” by calling the OKDHS Aging Services Division at 405-521-2281.
Q: My father is very ill, and we’re coming to the point where difficult medical and legal decisions need to be made. I’ve never done this before and I have a lot of questions.
A: You are not alone. The OKDHS Aging Services Division helps many Oklahomans every year with guidance in elder rights, end-of-life issues, guardianship and other legal matters. You can find helpful information and documents, such as “Advance Directive” and “Do Not Resuscitate” forms on the OKDHS website. Go to www.okdhs.org, click “Older Persons” then “Legal Assistance.” You can also find help by calling the Senior Info-Line at 1-800-211-2116 or the ASD Legal Services Developer at 405-522-3069.
Q: My elderly aunt lives in a nursing home and the last time I visited, I found her on the floor with no one around to help her get up. I’m afraid she isn’t getting the care she needs. What can I do?
A: The OKDHS Aging Services Division has a statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman program to advocate for residents of nursing homes, assisted-living and residential-care facilities, to resolve problems and bring about change to improve care.
Long-term care facilities (nursing homes, assisted-living and residential-care facilities) must respect residents’ rights, which include the right to:
- Appropriate medical care;
- Civil and religious liberties;
- Dignity, respect and courtesy;
- Freedom from abuse and restraints;
- Personal belongings;
- Complain without retaliation;
- Spousal visits; and
- Control over their money matters.
Any resident, relative or friend of a resident may call 1-800-211-2116 to file a complaint with the Long-Term Care Ombudsman at the nearest Area Agency on Aging. The Ombudsman will attempt to resolve those complaints within the facility. The Ombudsman has the authority to explore problems and recommend corrective action to the facility. For more information about the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, visit www.okdhs.org, click on “Older Persons”, then click “Long-Term Care Ombudsman” then “Ombudsman Program.”
Additionally, the Oklahoma Department of Health licenses all long-term care facilities (nursing homes) and has a wealth of information on its website www.ok.gov/health/Protective_Health/Long_Term_Care_Service (Link opens in new window). You may also contact the Department of Health Long Term Care office at 405-271-6868. If you believe state or federal laws have been violated, you may want to file a complaint with the Department of Health. To file a complaint, call 1-800-747-8419 or e-mail LTCComplaints@health.ok.gov. Your complaint will be confidential unless you choose otherwise.
Medicare provides information to help you decide what nursing home will best meet your loved one’s needs. The “Nursing Home Compare” feature on its website allows you to search by state, county, name of facility or proximity to a certain local area. Visit www.medicare.gov (Link opens in new window), click on “Facilities and Doctors” and then click “Compare Nursing Homes.”
Q: Has the Oklahoma Do Not Resuscitate law changed recently?
A: Yes, the Oklahoma Do Not Resuscitate law changed Nov. 1, 2010, and provides that if a person is incapacitated and under the care of a health care agency, the representative may revoke the Do Not Resuscitate consent by written notification to a physician or other health care provider of the health care agency or by oral notification to the attending physician. The newest Do Not Resuscitate form may be found on the OKDHS website, www.okdhs.org. Click on “Older Persons” then click “Legal Assistance” to find links to the forms.