After spending almost four years in a nursing facility, Carol Smith never thought she would gain back her independence and be able to live back in the community in a place of her own. Every day she felt more and more discouraged and had almost accepted that she would live out the rest of her life in in a nursing facility. Then she found out about the Oklahoma Living Choice Program.
As individuals age and face health concerns, the time often comes when a new level of care becomes necessary. However, that care does not need to be in a nursing facility but can be in their very own homes.
Smith was put in a nursing facility after she suffered a mental breakdown after losing her daughter to cervical cancer and also due to her grandkids moving across the country.
“I felt trapped,” said Smith, commenting on her time spent in a nursing facility. “Every chance I got to spend a day away with my family or friends, I would. I couldn’t cook for myself; had really no one to talk with; there were no activities that interested me; had things stolen; and just really felt out of place.”
Smith said one day she was handed a Living Choice brochure and her life changed forever.
Gregory Stockstell suffers from Type 2 Diabetes. He was homeless and living in downtown Oklahoma City when an infection in his right leg and kidney failure sent him to the hospital. Gregory ended up needing his left leg amputated. When he no longer needed hospital level of care, Stockstell was placed in a nursing home at the age of 53.
Stockstell said he was always an independent man that enjoyed the freedom of being able to go where he wanted to.
“I spent over two years in a nursing facility,” said Stockstell. “It felt like I was in a prison. I couldn’t just leave and take a walk or go get the things that I needed. The staff knew I was unhappy and needed my independence back, so they told me about the Living Choice Program.” The Oklahoma Living Choice Program helps Oklahomans who are ready to move out of a nursing home, rejoin the community and get back to a home of their own. The program will not only help find individuals a new home but also help them receive services like delivered meals, transportation, skilled nursing, therapy services, dental and vision services, counseling, personal care, medication management and more from home.
Carol is approaching her 1-year anniversary of being on the Living Choice Program. She has her own apartment, a counselor that comes twice a week, a nurse that comes once a week, and an aid that comes throughout the week to help Carol with tasks around her apartment and also runs errands to get things like groceries or prescriptions.
“I am so happy. I am able to do things on my own like cook for myself,” said Smith. “I can go to church with my granddaughter and now have my own place where my friends and family can come to visit so I never have a chance to get lonely. I got a fresh, new start at life.”
The Living Choice Program helps qualified individuals get furnishings for their new home; line up the individual’s help (nurse, counselors, physical therapist, aids; etc.); and just make sure the individual is taken care of during the transition process.
Living Choice staff also helped Smith and Stockstell get an Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency voucher so they could receive financial assistance for their rent.
“It is very rewarding to be able to help someone get their independence back, but most importantly, their dignity,” said Irene Perez, Living Choice Housing Specialist. “People in the nursing facility deserve the opportunity to live where they want while receiving services to help them stay healthy and safe.”
Both Smith and Stockstell said they would recommend the program to anyone who is ready to transition from a nursing facility back to the community.
Stockstell is now able to listen to his favorite 70’s music and turn the volume up as loud as he wants, and take a long walk on a nice day.
“I am now able to do what I want to and go where I want to go. I have my independence back,” said Stockstell, who is approaching his 8 months on the program. “It is such a good program, and they make sure I have everything I need from delivery of my medications to my nurse coming and checking on me.”
Smith is an avid reader and now says she can have her aide go pick up books from the library for her.
“I encourage anybody who is capable to take advantage of this program,” said Smith. “If they just believe in themselves and have confidence, they can do this! They can have their life…their independence back.”
If you or a loved one is ready to move out of a nursing home and rejoin the community and just get back to a home of your own, then the Oklahoma Living Choice Program is here to help you with the transition. Contact us today to find out if you qualify and how you can get back home. Call us at 1.888.287.2443 or visit us on the web at
Your home.Your community.Your choice.