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Guide to Senior Living in Michigan

Michigan is home to a fairly stable senior population of approximately 1.7 million people — more than 17% of the total population. Twenty-one of the state’s 83 counties have a median age of 50+, which leads to an increasing need for senior living options for retiring seniors. The percentage of seniors is expected to double by 2040 when senior-headed households will make up 37% of the population, according to an article in The Detroit News. Michigan does not tax Social Security benefits and offers some tax shelters for pension payments.

Seniors can expect a slightly lower expense for senior living in Michigan than they might nationwide. For instance, the average cost of assisted living in Michigan is $4,000 — just below the national average of $4,051. Despite these lower costs, many seniors may not have a savings plan that adequately covers these expenses. For those faced with expensive care options, there are ways to help minimize out-of-pocket costs for senior living.

This guide offers an overview of the costs of care, financial assistance programs, local agencies and other support options to help seniors meet the financial demands of increasing levels of care.

Covid-19 Rules and Restrictions for Michigan Senior Living Facilities

The following rules and guidelines were obtained from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to skilled nursing facilities, assisted living facilities, adult foster care, independent living facilities, homes for the aged, community-based residential facilities, or residential care apartment complexes.

This data has been most recently updated on 7/13/20, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?Yes, if ordered by medical team
Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?Yes
Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?N/A
Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?Yes
Are hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?No
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?Yes
Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Outings and Group Activities

Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?Yes
Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?NA
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?Yes
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?No
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?No

Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors 

Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?Yes
Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

Safety Measures for Residents 

Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?Yes
Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?No
Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?Yes
Are residents being tested for coronavirus?Yes

Paying for Senior Living in Michigan

The Cost of Senior Living in Michigan

Assisted living is a senior care option that is popular among Michigan residents, but it is not the only option. Those with intermittent care needs or who only need assistance with homemaking might consider in-home care, while those who live with able-bodied friends or family members might look at adult day care. No single senior care solution is right for everyone. Here is a quick look at what seniors can expect to pay for the various options in Michigan.


In-Home Care


Assisted Living


Home Health Care


Adult Day Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Michigan

Genworth Financial’s 2019 Cost of Care Survey reports an average cost of $4,000 per month for assisted living care in Michigan, which is $51 below the national average. Indiana, the most affordable neighboring state, averages $49 more than the national average, while Wisconsin, the most expensive state in the region, averages $4,350 per month. Illinois and Ohio fall in between at $4,170 and $4,339, respectively.




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The Cost of In-Home Care in Michigan

In the Great Lakes State, in-home care costs $4,385 per month, a savings compared to the United States average of $4,290 and bordering states Wisconsin and Illinois. Those states report home care fees of $4,767 and $4,481 respectively. Indiana and Ohio both offer lower monthly rates for services like shopping, house work and personal care, albeit only $50 – $95 less than Michigan per month. Based on these comparisons, in-home care services in Michigan are affordable. 




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Michigan

Skilled medical care delivered 24/7 in a nursing home setting can be expensive, and in Michigan the cost is $8,373, over $850 higher than the national average of $7,513. It’s also higher than in four surrounding states. Fees in Wisconsin, while lower, are only a $100 difference. Seniors looking for even greater savings may want to look into nursing homes in Indiana or Ohio where they can spend approximately $1,300 less per month. The best deal in the area though is in Illinois, where the monthly cost of nursing home care is $5,931, over $2,400 cheaper than in Michigan.




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Financial Assistance for Senior Living in Michigan

MI Choice Waiver

Michigan Medicaid’s MI Choice Waiver program offers financial assistance with home health services and other assistive options that may be provided in a senior living facility. Seniors who qualify may receive covered services in a senior living community, although room and board are typically excluded and must be paid directly. This waiver may pay for direct care costs, such as transportation, meals, nursing services, chore assistance and other community supports. It’s designed to allow seniors to delay nursing home admissions by making extensive care available through alternative living situations.

The MI Choice Waiver may be an option for Michigan seniors who would otherwise be at risk for nursing home placement and who meet income and asset requirements. Seniors with a monthly income of up to $2,349 may qualify. Under this waiver, all applicants are considered individually, so each member of a couple may have income up to the limit. In addition, an applicant can transfer up to $3,216 per month to the non-applicant spouse to avoid impoverishment and meet income qualification guidelines. Seniors also must have $2,000 or less in countable assets or less than $3,000 for a married couple.

Contact: Michigan seniors interested in this program must contact a local Area Agency on Aging office or other MI Choice agency for more details and an eligibility determination.

MI Health Link

Senior residents in an eligible county may qualify for MI Health Link, which provides a broad range of care services under a single network. Participants may receive medical, behavioral, pharmaceutical and home health services using a covered integrated care organization. All services provided through Health Link come with no out-of-pocket costs for the recipient.

To qualify for Health Link, seniors must be enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid. For seniors enrolled in general Medicaid, monthly income for an individual must not exceed 100% of the Federal Poverty Level, which is $1,063 as of 2020. For those enrolled in the Health Link HCBS Waiver, the income restriction limits participants to no more than $2,349 per month. For either program, the asset limit is $2,000 in countable assets.

Contact: For more information about the Health Link program or to apply, seniors can call Michigan ENROLLS at 1-800-975-7630 or visit a local county office of the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services. A list of office locations is available here.

Affordable Assisted Living Program

Administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority, the Affordable Affordable Living Program allows low-income seniors to secure housing in assisted living communities at well below market rates. In general, the program functions similarly to Section 8 housing with rents and services designed to be affordable to those who earn less than 50% of the area median income. While there is no direct financial assistance, the reduction in cost works to help make these units affordable. Typically a development participating in the Affordable Assisted Living Program will have at least 20% of the available units at affordable housing levels.

To participate in this program, seniors must find a program with an appropriate vacancy, demonstrate a need for the level of services offered and meet the income restrictions for each provider.

Contact: For more information about the program, contact the Michigan State Housing Development Authority at 1-855-MI-MSHDA or in person at the Lansing or Detroit offices.

Senior Living Laws and Regulations in Michigan

Note: All these rules typically apply to non-clinical senior living facilities, such as independent living, assisted living, and memory care facilities. Nursing homes and other senior living facilities with a clinical setting may have additional or slightly different requirements and regulations.

To continue to provide assistive services to seniors in a residential environment, senior living facilities must meet all Michigan rules and regulations. In Michigan, senior residential services are not referred to as senior living by statute. Instead, locations that provide similar levels of care are typically referred to as Homes for the Aged. Below is a summary of some of the laws and regulations that govern senior residences.

Admissions Requirements

While senior living facilities or homes for the aged offer a safe and stable place for seniors to live in the community with a variety of support services, not all seniors are eligible. To ensure the safety and security of all residents, a facility may deny admission to seniors who:

  • Are a danger to themselves or others
  • Require 24-hour access to nursing care
  • Need care that the facility can not safely provide

Seniors who need 24-hour care may be eligible for senior living provided they are receiving care from a licensed third-party provider for hospice or home health. Even seniors who would otherwise qualify may not be a good fit for senior living. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to senior care.

Medication Management

In Michigan, facilities are required to offer supervision and administration services for medications. Examples might include reminding a resident to take medication as scheduled and according to the prescribed directions. When supervising or administering medications, all direct care staff must be trained in proper handling. Residents who can are allowed to self-administer medications.

Memory Care Regulation

Any home for the aged that advertises memory care or programs specifically for seniors with dementia must provide:

  • A written statement of the facility’s memory care philosophy and mission
  • A list of services provided and how often programming includes activities designed for those with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia
  • Any additional fees related to memory care services
  • The criteria used when determining admissions and discharges
  • How assessments work and the care planning process
  • Information about staff training and educational policies
  • Facility descriptions that detail features installed to support residents in memory care programs

Staffing Requirements

All senior living facilities in Michigan are required to have an administrator. Every shift must have a designated resident care supervisor to ensure seniors receive the quality of care expected and that it is delivered with kindness and respect. There are no staffing ratios required, but there must be enough staff on hand to meet the needs of all residents as described in their care plans. Direct care staff must be trained on topics such as:

  • Reporting requirements
  • First aid
  • Medication administration
  • Personal care
  • Seniors’ rights and responsibilities
  • Supervision
  • Safety
  • Fire prevention
  • Infectious disease containment
  • Other standard precautions

Michigan Senior Living Free Resources

Michigan Agencies

Aging and Adult Services Agency

The Aging and Adult Services Agency is dedicated to deploying state resources at the local level to support seniors in their daily lives. This agency provides information about senior programs and contact information for local Area Agencies on Aging, which often administer programs under the AASA umbrella. While anyone can contact the Aging and Adult Services Agency, this organization does not provide direct service.

Contact: Call 1-517-241-4100 for any questions or concerns that can’t be resolved through a local Area Agency on Aging.

Area Agencies on Aging in Michigan

In Michigan, Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are the point of contact for many senior services. These public or nonprofit agencies often administer programs, such as meal delivery and Medicaid waivers, and provide information about regional services specific to local area senior residents. AAAs are free and available for seniors, providing information, financial assistance and guidance on programmatic availability.

Veterans Affairs Offices in Michigan

Veterans and their immediate family members may have access to benefits that can help mitigate senior care costs. The VA Aid and Attendance Benefit is one option that may help pay for some of the costs associated with senior living. Michigan residents can contact the Veterans Benefits Administration office in Detroit for more information.

Social Security Offices in Michigan

Many seniors depend on income from Social Security to meet their financial obligations. All money from Social Security can be used to directly pay for senior living services, including room and board, which can be difficult to fund through alternative sources. Contact a local Social Security office to find out the options available in Michigan.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does assisted living cost in Michigan?

While assisted living costs can be dramatically different throughout the state, Michigan seniors can expect to pay an average of $4,000 per month. In Ann Arbor, the average cost is $5,049, while Kalamazoo is much more affordable at $3,600.

Are there financial assistance programs for assisted living in Michigan?

Seniors who need help paying for assisted living in Michigan may be eligible for public assistance through Medicaid waivers or through the Affordable Assisted Living Program administered by the Michigan State Housing Development Authority.

What are “Activities of Daily Living”?

Every day, people wake up and perform certain activities without assistance. Things like bathing, eating, getting dressed and using the restroom all fall under the category of Activities of Daily Living, or ADLs. Assistance with ADLs is part of the service at assisted living communities or homes for the aged.

What types of amenities are commonly in Homes for the Aged?

Available amenities can play an important role in the quality of life for seniors. Some communities offer a complete continuum of care and have very active social calendars, while others offer a more relaxed and peaceful atmosphere. Some common offerings include opportunities to worship, spas services, entertainment, exercise programs and arts and crafts.

What is the difference between assisted living and nursing homes?

In an assisted living community, residents might require help with ADLs and medication management, but nursing care is typically offered intermittently. In a nursing home, nurses and nursing assistants are often the direct care providers, managing medical care for those that need extra support or monitoring.

The Top Cities for Senior Living in Michigan

Learn more about the cost of senior living in the top Michigan cities. Additionally, find reviews and information about assisted living facilities and other senior living communities across the state.

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