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Adult Care in Oklahoma - The Ambassador

by Ron Jackson, Staff Reporter Modified: November 28, 2009 at 11:12 pm •  Published: November 28, 2009

The general population doesn’t see adult day care as a viable option yet for the aging or handicapped. That’s why we have to educate people.”

Eight years ago Weaver sat on a state Continuum of Care Task Force to explore options for Oklahoma’s aging population. Research by the committee led to at least one, bone-rattling conclusion.

“If all the people eligible to go into a nursing homes in the near future go into nursing homes, the state will go broke,” Weaver said. “That doesn’t mean we don’t need nursing homes. We do. Nursing homes play a very important role in our aging health care. But not everyone needs to be institutionalized. That’s where adult day care can be a vital, more affordable option.

“Family caregivers can place their loved ones in an adult day care while they work during the day, and then take their loved ones home at night. Not everyone needs 24-hour care. Right now, I imagine there are a lot of people who feel they are either being forced to institutionalize their loved ones early or simply leaving them home unattended while they work.”

Weaver believes education can ultimately result in everyone pulling in the same direction – the legislators who hold the purse strings and the increasing number of Oklahomans who will need the service. He foresees a future where smaller, rural centers in places such as Woodward and Elk City are created in an incubator fashion by larger, established centers.

And he hopes Oklahomans are quick learners.

“The tsunami hasn’t hit yet,” Weaver warned. “And when it does the cost is going to be astronomical.”