DHS Telling Seniors ADvantage Waiver Program Going Away

Thursday, November 2nd 2017, 2:04 pm
By: Amy Avery

Some Oklahoma families are asking how the most recent budget cuts are going to impact senior care and what they can do to stop it.

Nearly 20,000 families across Oklahoma are receiving a letter from DHS in the next few days telling them the ADvantage Waiver Program, which helps keep seniors in their homes longer, is going to be eliminated effective Dec. 1 if the budget gap isn’t filled.

Now families are trying to figure out a way to help keep their loved ones close to home.

“I try to keep her with me as long as I can, you know you only have one mom,” says Ruby Murphy,

Ruby Murphy's mother Bonnie, has dementia and attends adult day care at Life Senior Services.

“They go on field trips and it just keeps her active, socializing. And for someone with dementia that means a lot,” says Murphy.

Soon, caregivers like Ruby, are going to receive letters telling them that DHS must eliminate the Advantage Waiver Program, which helps people like Bonnie, stay with their families.

“I don't want to put her in a nursing home,” says Murphy. “I just want to keep her with me as long as I can.”

DHS had to recently submit a revised budget plan that cut an additional $2 Million from adult day services and another $36 Million from the advantage waiver program.

“They will either be faced with going into a nursing facility or their caregiver may have to leave their job or the worst-case scenario they are left home alone with no one to care for them,” says President of Life Senior Services, Laura Kenny.

Life Senior Services helps seniors maintain their independence and connects families with services like meals, and in-home care, which are also on the verge of being eliminated.

“We really don't believe the community and the state understands what's about to happen and we know the impact it’s going to have,” says Kenny.

And for people like Ruby, who don't have anyone else to help, this could be devastating.

“This place just makes her active and alive more, It helps her and she loves it,” says Murphy. “Without this place, I don’t know what I am going to do.”

Life Senior Services encourages seniors and families to contact their local legislators to ask them to find a solution to help fix this problem.