The strong majority of likely voters in Oklahoma (87%), across party lines, support home- and community-based services that enable older Oklahomans to live independently at home, according to the most recent quarterly poll conducted by SoonerPoll.  This critical, lower-cost care that seniors and their family caregivers, count on includes home delivered meals, aides, transportation, and more.

“At a time when our state government needs to pinch every penny, it’s important to recognize that home- and community-based services keep our seniors at home—where they want to be—and at the same time, saves taxpayers money by preventing or delaying more costly nursing home care that is usually paid for by Medicaid,” says Sean Voskuhl, state director of AARP Oklahoma, which serves 400,000 members 50 and older.”

Bill Shapard, SoonerPoll Founder, adds, “Likely Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly support home and community based services for older Oklahomans and caregiving families, regardless of party, age, gender or income level.  These services not only warrant support from voters and are good for Oklahomans, but they also save taxpayer dollars.”

How important or unimportant is it that services are available in Oklahoma to help older adults live independently, such as home health care, personal care, and caregiver relief?

1. Extremely important 51.3
2. Very important 36.0
3. Somewhat important 9.5
4. Not very important 0.8
5. Not at all important 1.4

 

Doyle Gadberry, from Norman, cares for his wife Evelyn, although he has mobility issues as well.  The Gadberry’s receive home- and community-based services that help them both live independently in their home and out of more costly institutional care.  The Gadberry’s have three children, but they all live several hours away so the couple relies on help like visiting nurses, light housekeeping and delivered meals.  When asked how they would adapt without these programs, Mr. Gadberry responded, “Honestly, I just don’t know.  I don’t think we could do it.  We’d be up the creek without a paddle.”

“Clearly, home- and community-based services are essential for older Oklahomans, like Doyle and Evelyn Gadberry, and they’re also critical to sustaining caregiving families,” says Voskuhl.  “Right now, 524,000 Oklahomans provide unpaid assistance for their parents, spouses, and other loved ones, which can be stressful and exhausting. The estimated value of this care is a staggering $6 billion annually.”  Home- and community- based services also include “respite care,” which provides some relief for family caregivers so they can continue helping their older loved ones stay safely, at home for as long as possible.

According to SoonerPoll, the majority of Oklahoma voters, across party lines, believe it is important to have the following services available to help older adults live independently, and their family caregivers:

  • End of life or hospice services
  • Well-trained certified home health care providers
  • Visiting nurse services, such as an RN who comes to your home after a hospitalization
  • Special transportation services such as one for seniors or persons with disabilities
  • Home delivered meals
  • Congregate meals such as senior lunch programs
  • A central place for caregivers to go to get information and resources
  • Senior or Community Centers
  • Relief for caregiving families to help seniors and their caregivers
  • Chore or homemaker services where someone comes in to do light housekeeping or cleaning for low-income and older persons
  • State-certified centers that provide health service and social activities

About the Poll

SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma’s public opinion pollster, asked these questions of Oklahoma likely voters as part of the SoonerPoll Quarterly Poll.

The scientific study was conducted from February 9-12, 2016 with 410 likely Oklahoma voters selected at random statewide from a dual frame of both landline telephone and cell phones. The sample was weighted by age, congressional district and gender in order to reflect the Oklahoma likely voter population for a general election.

The sample reflects the traditional demographical profile of the Oklahoma likely voter with roughly half of respondents identifying as conservative and attending religious services once or more per week. The study has a Margin of Error (MoE) of ± 4.84 percent and was commissioned by the AARP.

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