When a loved one is deteriorating in health, it can be a stressful time for the family. One contributing stress factor is when people begin to worry about how they are going to pay for nursing home care for mom or dad. The process may seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to pay for nursing home care in southern Oklahoma, including private insurance, Medicare, SoonerCare, and private pay.
When people are making the decision about whether it’s time to consider nursing home care for a loved one, you might hear someone say something along the lines of “I love mama too much to put her in a nursing home.” However, in a recent TED Talk, psychologist Susan Pinker laid out a persuasive counter-argument to this notion. She showed how studies have been conducted that determined what factors have the greatest effect on extending a person’s life. You might think that having a better diet or stopping smoking might have had the greatest outcomes. In fact, the top two things that elongated life are having close relationships and social integration. Yes, that means that for all the good you might be doing by riding your exercise bike each morning, you might be just as well off by grabbing a cup of coffee and donut with your neighbor.
Granted, there are numerous benefits to staying in one’s home, but as a person ages, they often become increasingly isolated. According to the research, face-to-face interactions with other people, like you might get in a nursing home setting, incites brain activity that increases trust and pleasure while decreasing stress and pain.
At the Wilson Nursing Center, seniors are able to find a community of like-minded folks with whom they can share experiences. Not only can this type of socialization extend life, as the research suggests, but it can also bring a great level of joy to individuals in the later stages of their life. Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the idea that loving someone deeply means keeping them at home. Maybe it’s time for you to consider nursing home care precisely BECAUSE you love mama that much.
Am I Eligible for Oklahoma Medicaid?
Around 70 percent of nursing home residents in the state of Oklahoma are on Medicaid, a federal and state-funded program for low-income individuals who lack adequate healthcare coverage. In Oklahoma, this program is operated by the Oklahoma Healthcare Authority (OHCA) and also goes by the name SoonerCare. SoonerCare has programs to provide benefits for people in various categories, including pregnant women and disabled children, but in this case we will focus on their program for Aged, Blind, and Disabled. Beyond covering most or all nursing home expenses, Medicaid may pay for many other healthcare related expenses, such as doctor's visits, prescriptions, hospital stays, and transportation to medical facilities. For a more comprehensive list of services covered by Medicaid in Oklahoma, click here.
With such an obvious benefit to a Medicaid recipient, the question becomes how to attain Medicaid in Oklahoma. Certain financial and age requirements must be met in order to qualify. In the case of Medicaid for the someone considering nursing home care, one must be over the age of 65 or have another qualifying medical condition, such as a permanent disability or blindness. Additionally, a person must be able to show that their income or personal assets are not greater than the program's limits. To find out if you or your loved one meets the criteria to be Medicaid eligible, contact the Department of Human Services (DHS). In Carter County and the greater Ardmore area, that phone number is (580) 490-3600, or you can visit their website here. Once approved, the Wilson Nursing Center would love the opportunity to visit with you about whether our facility can serve your longterm care nursing home needs. If you have further questions about how to become eligible for Medicaid in Oklahoma, the Wilson Nursing Center would be happy to assist you.
When Should I Seek Out a Nursing Home?
Knowing when to seek out a nursing home can be an extremely difficult decision. Whether you find yourself with rapidly declining health or you are a concerned family member looking out for the wellbeing of a loved one, it is important to identify some key components which will help you to determine if nursing home care is the next logical step.
Fortunately, we now live in a time with abundant healthcare options that can prolong one's life and independence. As long as an individual is able to safely live in his or her home, this is generally preferred. When the tasks of everyday living become too difficult to carry out, the first step is often to seek out some form of in-home assistance. Whether that's a friend stopping by to help with dispensing medications, having Meals On Wheels deliver food, or having a home health aide coming by to check blood pressure, these types of in-home care can delay the need for longterm nursing home care. However, nursing home care can be the next step if any of the following are occurring:
1. An individual is repeatedly falling.
According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries for older Americans. Declining strength and/or vision can result in an increased fall risk. The fear of falling can further isolate a person, leading to increased physical decline and depression. Although a nursing home cannot prevent all falls, a person can benefit from having a nursing home staff implement preventative measures and being present to assist when falls do occur.
2. Cognitive Impairment is Interfering with Daily Life
It is normal for mental functions to decline in one's later years. However, when that cognitive decline advances from simple forgetfulness to a level that is endangering an individual's life, it might be time to consider nursing home care. Dementia and Alzheimer's can leave a person vulnerable to wandering away from home, forgetting to take medications, or neglecting personal hygiene. A nursing home staff can greatly improve the quality of life of an individual suffering from cognitive decline by ensuring that the individual stays safe and adheres to a healthy way of life.
3. They need more care than you can provide
Oftentimes, the person who is in need of care is being watched after by a family member or by a spouse. This can become an exceedingly trying situation when the level of care required escalates to a point that exceeds what the caregiver is able to do. Whether it's due to physical limitations of no longer being able to lift the person or personal limitations of not having time to care for a loved one while maintaining other work/family responsibilities, a caregiver may find that placement in a nursing home is in the best interest of all parties.
If you find that you or your loved one meet the criteria of needing a nursing home, or you would like the opinion of a healthcare professional, the staff of the Wilson Nursing Center would be happy to visit with you to talk about next steps. Give us a call at (580) 668-2337.
The residents at the Wilson Nursing Center were thrilled to get to host trick-or-treaters from Wilson Elementary School this week. The kids' costumes were outstanding! We appreciate the students and teachers for coming over and brightening the day of our residents. Everyone had so much fun passing out candy.