When a senior elects to live alone, it is not uncommon for their loved ones to feel concern about their safety. These feelings may be shared by the senior as well, especially if they are relocating to a new city or town. The senior and his or her family might consider investing in a robust medical alert system in order to guard against some of these safety concerns. Many systems now offer geofencing, fall detection, additional contact information and increased connectivity to first responders and police officers.
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the 27th largest city in the United States, with approximately 638,000 persons calling the town home. Of those folks, 11.3 percent are aged 65 and over. This equates to approximately 72,000 people, and the numbers are expected to grow in line with the rest of the state, which saw this particular demographic surge 1.5 percent over the past five years. This could leave the capital city stretched thin when it comes to emergency responders.
Oklahoma City ranks well overall for emergency response times at the moment. At present, the average wait time in an Oklahoma emergency room is ranked 11th fastest in the nation at just 17 minutes. If the senior incurs a broken bone, the average emergency response time is only 47 minutes and the wait to be admitted for more long-term care is just over an hour at 66 minutes. The longest a senior would have to wait is for discharge, which averages 90 minutes.
It is highly advised that a senior who is living further afield from Oklahoma City invest in a medical alert system, as some travel times in ambulance can take over 20 minutes due to the wide-open spaces in and around the state.
Despite the vast number of hospitals in and around the Oklahoma City metro area, the entire network did not receive high marks from U.S. News and World Report or McKinsey and Company. Both reports surveyed the 38 hospitals in the area and did not rank any nationally for geriatric care. Only four of those centers received a high-performance ranking for any procedure.
The most common condition treated in the area is colon cancer, followed closely by hip and knee replacement procedures. The city received subpar marks for overall specialty care in cancer, cardiology, diabetes and orthopedics, but did score better when it came to pulmonology and urology.
Despite middling marks and reviews for medical facilities in Oklahoma City, many seniors find the area to be extremely affordable. The number of activities on offer was also rated extremely well, which further boosted how seniors felt about the overall quality of life in and around the greater metropolitan area. The state’s Aging Services Division also offers a vast area of programs to further promote getting seniors active in their local communities. Some of the plans include adult day services, grand families programs, long-term care ombudsman services, councils, pharmacy connection hotlines and personal care plans.
Oklahoma City in particular sees a high number of deaths resulting from heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease and accidents. Thus, seniors may be interested in fall-detection medical alert systems or those equipped with GPS.
The senior population is being well taken care of by the state’s Aging Services Division, but older adults are encouraged to take a more active and empowered role in their quality of life. To that end, Oklahoma City offers a volunteer corps program and even a council on aging that is composed of 30 members that serve in an advisory role for the state. Older adults may still want to invest in a medical alert system or monitoring device, given the anticipated stress and strain on the city’s healthcare network, Medicare system and Medicaid offerings.