The state of Oklahoma is in the South Central United States and is often referred to by its nickname, the “Sooner State.” The population of Oklahoma is close to 4 million residents, making it the 28th most populous in the nation. The area of the state puts Oklahoma 20th in the nation, with a size of 69,897 square miles and it has a population density of 55.2 people per square mile, making Oklahoma 35th in the country in regards to population density. Over 65% of the population of the state lives within either the Oklahoma City or the Tulsa metropolitan statistical areas and Oklahoma City is both the largest city as well as the capital of the state. Bordering Oklahoma are Arkansas and Missouri to the east, Kansas to the north, Colorado to the northwest, New Mexico to the far west, and Texas to the south and near west. This state is one of the most geographically diverse of the states in the nation, and is only one of four to have more than ten distinct ecological regions. Oklahoma has 11 distinct ecological regions and has more per mile than any other state. In the 77 counties that make up the state of Oklahoma there are four different primary mountain ranges, 200 lakes, 50 state parks, six national parks, two national protected forests or grasslands, and 500 named creeks and rivers. This is a state that was founded due to the removal of Native Americans from their ancestral lands and more than 25 different Native American languages are spoken here, third only to the states of California and Alaska. Oklahoma has the 24th highest percentage of senior citizens in the country, with approximately 13.5% of residents age 65 or older. Is this state, with beautiful nature and plenty of rural areas, a destination that should be on a senior citizens short list of places to retire?
Costs of Assisted Living in Oklahoma
The median cost of care in an Assisted Living Facility in Oklahoma is $2,803 per month, which is $825 lower than the national average. This is likely due to the fact that the cost of living in Oklahoma is lower than it is nationally. Furthermore, costs may vary within one facility due to the needs of the residents within a facility and the staffing number and education/experience of said staff within the assisted living facility. Across Oklahoma alone, the costs of assisted living facilities vary from $2,298 in Lawton, Oklahoma to almost $3,278 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma median for Adult Day Health Care averages $1,300 per month or over $15,500 per year in Oklahoma. Another choice that is common for caring for a senior is Home Health Care. A Home Health Aide in Oklahoma costs, on average, close to $4,000 a month, around $47,000 annually. Care in an Oklahoma Assisted Living Facility is cheaper than having a Home Health Aide in Oklahoma and an Assisted Living Facility provides 24-hour care as well as professional nurses around the clock, something that would be prohibitively expensive to provide in your own home. A semi-private room in an Oklahoma Skilled Nursing Facility costs around $53,000 per year, and a private room will cost $60,225 annually.
By the year 2030, the forecast is that the cost of Assisted Living in Oklahoma will be close to $51,000 per year. The cost of Nursing Home Care in Oklahoma will increase to approximately $80,000 for a semi-private room and over $91,000 for a private room by 2030. These estimates are based on the regulations in place now and it is expected that the regulations will increase by 2030.
Within the state of Oklahoma, the costs of Assisted Living Facilities vary as well, for instance, these are the most recent average costs of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in Oklahoma:
- Lawton, Oklahoma - $2,298;
- Oklahoma City, Oklahoma - $3,238; and
- Tulsa, Oklahoma - $3,278.
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Oklahoma
Seniors who live in Oklahoma should keep certain things in mind when considering whether to retire in Oklahoma:
- Oklahoma has lower cost of living that the U.S. average;
- Violent and property crimes in the Oklahoma are a bit more widespread than the national average. The chances of become a victim of a violent crime in Oklahoma is 1 in 237 and 1 in 35 for property crimes. There are around 19 crimes per square mile in Oklahoma as compared with the national median of 32.85;
- Oklahoma is looked upon as a moderately tax-friendly state for senior citizens;
- Oklahoma is well-known to be unpredictable when it comes to weather and Oklahoma City ranks #2 in the nation when it comes to unpredictable weather. Much of the state, called the “I-44 Tornado Corridor” runs from OKC to Tulsa, Oklahoma;
- Shortage of Public Transportation – many of the cities in the Sooner State have no public transportation at all and those that do have limited transportation; and
- Health Care – Oklahoma has some good schools and universities which tend to lead to good hospitals (and this state has its share of good hospitals) but the doctor to patient ratio is very low – 76 physicians per 100,000 residents. It also ranks 43rd nationwide for doctors per capita as 72 of its 77 counties are federally designated shortage areas for primary health care professionals.
Financial Information for Oklahoma Seniors
Oklahoma has a state income tax that is a bit confusing and it separated into two main categories. The first being single taxpayers or couples who are filing separate returns and the second for married joint filers, widows and widowers who qualify, and those who file as head of household. Taxes are due annually on April 15th or the next business day should April 15th fall on a weekend.
Oklahoma’s state sales tax is 4.5% and the state participates in the Streamlined Sales Tax Initiative (SSTI). A resident of Oklahoma who has resided in the state for the entire year and who has a total gross household income of $20,000 or less can file for sales tax relief. This tax relief extends to a dependent, an Oklahoma senior citizen, or those who are physically disabled and make up to $50,000 per year.
Oklahoma taxes all real and tangible personal property which is taxed at between 10%-15% of fair cash value. There is a homestead exemption of $1,000 as long as the person was living in the property as of January 1st of that year. There is also a property tax freeze that is available to some older Oklahomans.
Oklahoma has no inheritance tax and there is no estate tax in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma is a tax-friendly state for seniors because retirement accounts withdrawals in Oklahoma are only partially taxed, wages are taxed at 5.3%, private and public pension in Oklahoma is partially taxed and income from Social Security earnings is not taxed at all. Oklahoma has a lower cost of living than most other states and it is lower than the United States average, with housing being the biggest difference. Out of 100 points, Oklahoma ranked lower than the national average with a cost of living of 84.20. Oklahoma rated lower than the average overall (84) and in the categories of: grocery (94.4), health (96), housing (62), transportation (96), utilities (92), and miscellaneous (94).
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Oklahoma
Oklahoma has some amazing attractions and history that could very interesting for its elderly residents. Here are some ideas of things that senior citizens may enjoy in Oklahoma:
- National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum – located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – this is a large museum that is known for its collection of Western Art;
- Totem Pole Park – located in Foyil, Oklahoma. This is a small park located in Foyil that is free to visit. Seniors can also find the largest Totem Pole here;
- Arcadia Round Barn – located in Arcadia, Oklahoma. This round barn is an attraction that is on the old Route 66. It was built in 1898 and was, at one point, the most photographed landmark on Route 66. Tours are available and it is open to the public daily from 10 am until 5 pm. It is the only true round barn on Route 66;
- Chickasaw Cultural Center – located in Sulphur, Oklahoma. This 109-acre location allows Oklahoma seniors to explore museums with interactive exhibits on Chickasaw traditional dancing, tribal history, and the Chickasaw language. It is near the Chickasaw National Recreational Area;
- Bricktown, Oklahoma – located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Bricktown is a neighborhood in Oklahoma City that was the former site of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show.
- Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum – located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma – a memorial to the 168 people who died and the countless others that were injured during the terrorist attack at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building during the Oklahoma City Bombing on April 19, 1995;
- Fort Washita Historic Site – located in Durant, Oklahoma. Established in 1842 in the Choctaw Nation, Fort Washita was the southwestern-most military post of the United States. The mission of the men was to protect the Choctaw and Chickasaw Indians who had been forced into the Oklahoma territory. It was abandoned on May 1, 1861 by U.S. forces and occupied the next day by Confederate troops from Texas. The site is on the National Register of Historic Places and is designated as a National Historic Landmark;
- Fort Sill National Historic Landmark and Museum – located in Fort Sill, Oklahoma. This is the only active Army installation of all the forts that were built during the Indian Wars and it has played a role in every major American conflict since 1869. It is a U.S. National Historic Landmark and is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places;
- Tulsa Garden Center – located in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Seniors can visit this horticultural and environmental education center that has inlaid stone steps and a rose garden with 9,000 rosebushes; and
- Sequoyah’s Cabin – located near Akins, Oklahoma – a historic log cabin and historic site that was the home of the Cherokee Indian Sequoyah who created a written language for the Cherokee Indians. This area is now owned by the Cherokee Nation. It is a National Historic Landmark and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
Some cities to consider for Oklahoma Senior Living
Here are some cities or towns that have ranked highly in different categories that are helpful to every senior living in Oklahoma:
- Grove, Oklahoma – located in Delaware County, Oklahoma. The population of Grove, Oklahoma is almost 7,000 residents of which around 29% are seniors age 65 or older. Last year, Grove ranked #4 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #59 of 101 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Oklahoma,” and #48 out of 82 of the “Safest Places to Live in Oklahoma;
- The Village, Oklahoma – located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. The Village is a city which is fenced by Oklahoma City and is where the main headquarters of Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores aresurr. The population of The Village is nearing 10,000 residents, of which over 16% belong to the 65+ senior community. Last year, The Village ranked second out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #11 out of 31 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Oklahoma City Metro,” and #20 out of 31 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Oklahoma City Metro;”
- Nichols Hill, Oklahoma – located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma. Nichols Hill was originally developed as an exclusive area in 1929 and it is where the Oklahoma City Golf and Country Club are located today. The population of Nichols Hill is approximately 4,000 of which close to 19% of the population are older Oklahomans who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Nichols Hill ranked fifth out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma," #5 out of 101 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Oklahoma,” #5 out of 28 of the “Safest Suburbs in Oklahoma City Metro,” and #6 out of 31 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Oklahoma City Metro;”
- Bartlesville, Oklahoma – located mainly in Washington County, Oklahoma. The population of Bartlesville is approximately 37,000 of which almost 20% (18.5% to be exact) are age 65 or older. Last year, Bartlesville ranked #18 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #4 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Live in Oklahoma,” #4 of 63 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Oklahoma,” #9 out of 101 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Oklahoma,” and #9 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Oklahoma;”
- Ada, Oklahoma – located in, and the county seat of, Pontotoc County, Oklahoma. Ada is the home to East Central University as well as the headquarters of the Chickasaw Nation. It is an Oklahoma Main Street City, an Oklahoma Certified City, and a Tree City USA member. The population of Ada, Oklahoma is approximately 17,500 of which around 17% belong to the Oklahoma 65+ senior community. Last year, Ada ranked #21 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” and #18 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Live in Oklahoma,” and #23 out of 104 of the “Most Diverse Places to Live in Oklahoma;”
- Chandler, Oklahoma – located in, and the county seat of, Lincoln County, Oklahoma. Chandler is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Area. The population of Chandler is estimated to be around 3,300 people with around 19.5% of the population are senior citizens who are at least 65 years old. Last year, Chandler ranked #12 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #46 out of 82 of the “Safest Places to Live in Oklahoma,” and #28 out of 63 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Oklahoma;”
- Ardmore, Oklahoma – located in, and the county seat of Carter County, Oklahoma. The city is 90 miles away from both the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The population of Ardmore, Oklahoma is estimated to be around 25,200 of which around 19% are seniors 65 years of age or older. Last year, Ardmore ranked #42 out of 101 of “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #48 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Live in Oklahoma,” #19 of 104 of the “Most Diverse Places to Live in Oklahoma,” and #47 out of 101 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Oklahoma;”
- Harrah, Oklahoma – located in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, and a part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area. The population of Harrah, Oklahoma is approximately 6,000 residents, with around 14.5% of residents who are 65 or older. Last year Harrah, ranked #7 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #14 out of 82 of the “Safest Places to Live in Oklahoma,” #6 out of 28 of the “Safest Suburbs to Live in Oklahoma City Metro,” and #13 out of 52 of the “Safest Suburbs in Oklahoma;”
- Mustang, Oklahoma – located in Canadian County, Oklahoma. It is part of the Oklahoma City Metropolitan Statistical Area and is known as a bedroom community for Oklahoma City. The population of Mustang is approximately 20,300 with close to 8.6% who are part of the 65+ senior community. Last year, Mustang ranked #20 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #17 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Oklahoma,” #9 out of 28 of the “Safest Suburbs in Oklahoma City Metro,” and #5 out of 31 of the “Best Suburbs to Buy a House in Oklahoma City Metro,” and
- Ponca City, Oklahoma – located in both Kay and Osage County, Oklahoma. The population of Ponca City is approximately 25,000 with almost 18% of that population age 65 or older. Last year, Ponca City ranked #22 out of 101 of the “Best Places to Retire in Oklahoma,” #26 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Live in Oklahoma,” #15 out of 63 of the “Best Suburbs to Live in Oklahoma,” #57 out of 104 of the “Best Places to Buy a House in Oklahoma,” and #31 out of 101 of the “Healthiest Places to Live in Oklahoma.”