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As the first state in the nation to be granted a waiver from Medicaid that allows nursing residents to seek alternatives, Oregon now has more choices for senior care than any other state.

'Nationally we have the smallest percentage of elderly that receive their care in nursing homes,' said Mary Gear, administrator for the Office of Licensing and Quality of Care at the Oregon Department of Human Services.

Statewide, Gear said there are 1,700 adult foster care homes and 576 assisted living, residential facilities and nursing homes available to Oregon seniors. Some are run by non-profit agencies like religious groups and hospitals. The rest are for-profit facilities that either stand alone or are owned by corporate chains.

According to 2006 Census data, 476,865 Oregonians are age 65 years or older. Many live at home, 129,704 households are headed by people older than 65 in Oregon. Another 330,756 include at least one person older than 65.

The rest are in assisted living facilities, skilled nursing homes, residential care or adult foster homes.