Adult Care in Oklahoma - The Administrator

by Ron Jackson, Staff Reporter Published: November 27, 2009
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photo - Jacqueline Parks, executive director at Metropolitan Better Living Center, poses under a picture of her mother Juanita Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. Juanita Davis started the Metropolitan Better Living Center.  By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
Jacqueline Parks, executive director at Metropolitan Better Living Center, poses under a picture of her mother Juanita Davis on Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009. Juanita Davis started the Metropolitan Better Living Center. By John Clanton, The Oklahoman
It’s October. Come January what will we do? Do I open the doors knowing we can’t pay for it? What do I do? “These are people who depend on us for food. They depend on us for safety. They can’t be left alone. If we close, probably 70 percent of them will be institutionalized in a nursing home, and that will end up costing the state even more money. If they are left home alone, they’ll burn down the house trying to cook something on the stove.”

Parks said she prays that local, state and federal politicians will help shoulder the financial burden.

“We can finance a basketball court, but we can’t help take care of those who took care of us?” Parks said. “We will be judged by how we take care of those who can’t take care of themselves. We will be judged.”

If anyone can survive, it is Parks. She learned from a savvy veteran in the adult day care industry – her mother, Juanita Davis. Davis, now 87, opened what would become Metropolitan in 1991 at the 10th Street Seventh Day Adventist Church in Oklahoma City. At the time, she operated with two clients and no money.

Davis quickly began making the rounds, pitching her mission to anyone who would listen.

“We pinched pennies until we had enough pennies,” said Davis, who continues to write grants for her daughter. “I remember when we landed our first (DHS) contract for $25,000. We were dancing in the parking lot we were so happy. Yes, the Lord has been good to us.

“I’ve always believed the Lord will provide.”

Parks wonders now if state legislators will.

Adult day centers haven’t received a daily rate increase since 2002. Centers presently receive a $45 reimbursement per client based on a six-hour day, and administrators estimate it costs $55 a day to care for an individual.

“I’m very, very concerned about what will happen,” Parks said. “Don’t tell me the money isn’t there. Its gotta be there. Not all of these people have options. Help has to come from somewhere. If they are left home alone, I fear something tragic will happen.”



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