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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.

The Cost of Senior Living in Michigan

Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living.

Note: Memory care is typically provided in communities licensed as assisted living facilities, and in general, costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living services. No authoritative cost data is available for this type of care, so we estimated memory care rates by adding 25% to assisted living fees in the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey.

Michigan’s seniors have several long-term residential care options. For active older adults, independent living communities offer a low-maintenance lifestyle with amenities such as restaurants and planned activities. However, they don’t typically provide on-site medical care. Seniors who need help with everyday tasks may prefer an assisted living program, where trained staff is often available 24/7. Memory care is also offered in many assisted living communities, providing secure areas for residents with dementia. Individuals who need continual monitoring may be better suited to nursing homes, which provide a higher level of care. Michigan seniors who may benefit from residential care should find the cost of many of these services below the national average, according to the Genworth 2021 Cost of Care Survey

Because independent living residences don’t provide formal care services, they’re often the most inexpensive option, with a median cost of $2,763 in Michigan. Assisted living costs are about $4,250 in the state, with the higher price covering daily care services. Although memory care is typically provided at an assisted living facility, services may be more intensive, and monthly costs average $5,313. Nursing homes are typically the costliest option, averaging $9,095 for a semiprivate room.


Assisted Living


Independent Living


Memory Care


Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Assisted Living in Michigan

Michigan assisted living programs charge around $4,250 each month for services, which is less than the national median of $4,500. Care in neighboring states is priced similarly. In Indiana, the median price is slightly higher at $4,283, and in Ohio, seniors can expect to pay $4,635. Further south in Kentucky, the cost of assisted living drops to about $3,448 per month.




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The Cost of Nursing Home Care in Michigan

Because nursing home care can involve around-the-clock services, it’s typically much more expensive than other care types. Michigan seniors can expect to pay about $9,095, which is higher than the national median of $7,908. Similar care services in nearby Indiana and Ohio are much less expensive at about $7,270 and $7,300, respectively. In Kentucky, nursing home care is even less expensive, with a median monthly cost of $7,178.




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Can You Use Medicaid to Pay for Senior Living in Michigan?

Residential senior living communities can be costly, and many Michigan seniors don’t have the financial means to pay for services out-of-pocket. Medicaid, which provides health care coverage for low-income adults, helps qualified seniors pay for some or all of the costs of assisted living, memory care and nursing home programs. However, only seniors who meet the state’s stringent financial and medical guidelines qualify for benefits.

Michigan seniors who require extended care services may be eligible for one of Medicaid’s dedicated long-term care programs. Medicaid typically covers the cost of a nursing home if a senior demonstrates a medical need for these services. Alternately, individuals who require assistance but who are capable of living in a community-based setting might qualify for the MI Choice Waiver program, which pays for some or all of the costs of assistive services and equipment delivered in a residential setting other than a nursing home.

Although some active older adults may benefit from an independent living community, Medicaid doesn’t pay for this option. Because these communities don’t typically provide care services, the cost of residency isn’t reimbursable.

Medicaid Coverage LevelType of Medicaid CoverageEntitlement?*
Assisted LivingPartialWaiverNo
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CarePartialWaiverNo
Nursing Home CareFullInstitutional/nursing home Medicaid Yes

 *Note: Entitlement programs mean that everyone who qualifies will receive coverage and be accepted into the programs. If the program is not “entitlement,” then participant caps could be in place, and there may be a waiting list.  

Medicaid’s Coverage of Assisted Living & Memory Care in Michigan

Michigan seniors who have a limited income may qualify for benefits through Medicaid, which can help cover the cost of assisted living or memory care. Coverage is provided through a waiver that offers eligible seniors the option to receive care in an assisted living setting rather than a nursing home.

 MI Choice Waiver

The MI Choice Waiver helps Michigan seniors pay for medical and personal services in an assisted living or memory care program rather than receiving this care at a nursing home. Beneficiaries receive basic Medicaid benefits, care coordination and one or more of the following services and supports:

  • Counseling
  • Transportation
  • Nursing services
  • Respiratory care
  • Specialized medical supplies
  • Community living support
  • Personal emergency response systems
  • Adaptive equipment that promotes accessibility
  • Training that promotes independent living skills

State residents aged 65 or older may apply. To qualify, individuals must require a nursing home level of care and need at least two of the services or supports the waiver covers. An applicant’s income and assets are considered for the financial eligibility component, which varies based on the size of the household. A clinical assessment may also be required to determine what level of care an individual requires.

Seniors who wish to apply for the MI Choice Waiver should contact the waiver agency in their region. Representatives are available to provide additional information and initiate the application process.

Medicaid’s Coverage of Nursing Home care in Michigan

Michigan’s Medicaid program covers the cost of nursing home care for seniors or disabled individuals who meet the state’s financial and medical guidelines. To evaluate their medical eligibility, an applicant must undergo a level-of-care determination assessment, which may be completed by the nursing facility or another approved program provider using state-issued criteria.

Unmarried Medicaid beneficiaries must apply most of their income toward nursing home costs, and Medicaid pays whatever balance remains. However, residents can keep a modest monthly personal allowance. Married applicants may designate a percentage of their income to cover the monetary needs of a spouse who doesn’t require nursing home care.

Eligibility for Medicaid in Michigan

Seniors who need basic health care coverage or help paying for long-term care may be eligible for Medicaid benefits if their income falls below the state’s limits. To qualify for basic Medicaid, single Michigan seniors must have an annual income that totals less than $13,596 and fewer than $2,000 in assets. If an applicant is married, whether one or both spouses are applying for coverage, their joint annual income must not exceed $18,312, and they may not have more than $3,000 in assets. Most forms of income are included in these limits, including wages, SSI payments, pensions and veterans’ benefits. The asset limit typically looks at investments, bank accounts and real estate. An applicant’s primary residence and personal belongings, such as furniture and a car, are exempt.

2022 Michigan Medicaid Income Limits 

Income Limits*Asset Limits
Single Person$13,596$2,000
Two-Person Household(Only one applicant)$18,312$3,000$137,400 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household(Two applicants)$18,312$2,000

Per year

If an individual’s income falls within program limits, they’ll likely be approved for benefits as long as all other criteria are met. To receive Medicaid, an applicant must be:

  • Age 65 or older, or disabled
  • A U.S. citizen, national, permanent resident or legal alien
  • A Michigan resident
  • In need of health care coverage

Applying for Medicaid in Michigan

Eligible Michigan seniors can apply for Medicaid benefits in person at their local Department of Human Services office or online at MI Bridges. The application is also available for download and may be mailed to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services at the address listed on the document. Seniors who apply for benefits through MI Bridges can also check the status of their application or manage their account through the portal.

Before You Apply

Before applying for coverage, Michigan seniors may find it helpful to review Medicaid’s eligibility guidelines and consult a program representative, who can answer any questions. Applicants should also be prepared to provide the following information and documents:

  • Social Security number
  • Household income documentation (including pay stubs, tax statements and/or W-2 forms)
  • Current health insurance policy numbers
  • Information about available job-related health insurance

How to Get Help

Medicaid’s eligibility guidelines and application process can be confusing, but resources are available to help Michigan seniors navigate the program’s requirements. The following resources provide information, counseling or support for individuals who are interested in learning more about Medicaid or applying for coverage:

 Contact What You Should Know
Health Insurance Consumer Assistance Program(877) 999-6442HICAP helps Michigan residents find crucial information on obtaining and using health insurance coverage, including Medicaid. Staff is available during business hours to answer questions and direct individuals to relevant resources.
Michigan Legal Help(603) 271-4375Michigan Legal Help offers information and do-it-yourself legal tools for state residents. The organization’s website has an overview of Medicaid’s application process, including a hearing request form that seniors can submit if they’ve been denied benefits, terminated from the program or experienced a decrease in coverage.
American Council on AgingContact formThe American Council on Aging offers free assistance to potential Medicaid enrollees. The council’s website includes a comprehensive database of information about the program, including pathways to enrollment for individuals who exceed Medicaid’s income limitations. ACOA representatives can also help seniors find local resources to assist with the application process.
Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program(800) 633-4227  MMAP offers confidential health care counseling to seniors. Its trained counselors specialize in health care benefits, including Medicaid, and can help Michigan seniors navigate the enrollment process.

Can You Use Medicare to Pay for Senior Living in Michigan?

Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living, independent living, or memory care. Unlike nursing homes, these care types are not considered to be “clinical settings” and so are not eligible for Medicare coverage. That being said, those who live in these communities can still use Medicare to cover the cost of approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc.

When it comes to nursing home care, it gets much more complicated. Medicare does provide limited coverage for a qualified stay in a nursing home,but there are strict rules and requirements of which you should be aware. This benefit is available to seniors who have been hospitalized for at least three days, excluding the date of discharge.

Once you’ve met the hospitalization requirement, Medicare will pay for up to 100 days in a skilled nursing facility (per benefit period). While the first 20 days are covered in full, there is a daily coinsurance rate that must be paid starting on day 21. After day 100, seniors are responsible for the entire cost.

Medicare CoverageMedicare Coverage DurationCoinsurance Requirement?
Assisted LivingNoneN/AN/A
Independent LivingNoneN/AN/A
Memory CareNoneN/AN/A
Nursing Home CareLimited100 Days Per Benefit PeriodYes – After 20 Days

What Nursing Home Care Services Does Medicare Cover?

Medicare covers a number of specific services, including:

  • Meals
  • A semiprivate room
  • Medications
  • Skilled nursing services
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Audiologist care
  • Medical supplies
  • Medical social services
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Ambulance transportation

What Nursing Home Care Services Aren’t Covered by Medicare?

Medicare does not cover long-term custodial care that addresses seniors’ day-to-day needs. This includes help with daily activities, such as bathing, dressing and using medical equipment.

Medicare Support & Resources in Michigan 

With multiple coverage options, formal enrollment periods and separate prescription drug plans for some policies, Medicare can be difficult to understand. Seniors who are applying for coverage or trying to choose a suitable benefits package may need help navigating the process. The table below lists state and national resources available to help eligible seniors successfully enroll in Medicare.


ContactWhat You Should Know
Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services(877) 999-6442The DIFS provides basic information about Medicare and Medicare Advantage, including special enrollment periods and Medigap supplement policies. Representatives are available during business hours to answer questions and direct seniors to additional resources.
Michigan Medicare/Medicaid Assistance Program(800) 803-7174MMAP provides free, confidential health care counseling services. With extensive training in health care benefits, including Medicare, MMAP counselors can help Michigan seniors navigate the complexities of Medicare. Offices are located in Area Agencies on Aging and other similar organizations throughout the state. offers key information about Medicare benefits, eligibility requirements and annual enrollment periods. The site also features a 24/7 live chat feature, where seniors can ask questions, get additional information and find local resources.

Are There Other Financial Assistance Options for Senior Living in Michigan?

Depending on your unique situation, there may be other financial assistance options to partially or fully cover the cost of senior living in Michigan. Below, we cover some of the common ways that seniors can make senior living options such as assisted living or memory care more affordable.

How to Get StartedWhat You Should Know
Aid and AttendanceApply online at you are a veteran and you receive a VA pension, you may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit. This benefit takes the form of a monthly cash allowance that you receive in addition to your standard pension. This benefit is used by veterans who need long-term care services, including care received at an assisted living facility.
Reverse MortgagesResearch and learn about the different types at you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to access some of the equity in your home. Like traditional loans, reverse mortgages do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months, so seniors should carefully weigh this option alongside other financing methods.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn about how to receive LTC insurance benefits at those who currently need assisted living will typically not be eligible, if you purchased an LTC insurance policy in the past, you may be able to use it to help pay for assisted living. While most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, you still need to check the specific terms of your policy.

Free Senior Living Resources for Seniors in Michigan

Older adults have a unique set of needs, and senior-focused resources help many individuals maintain and improve their quality of life during retirement years. Several Michigan organizations offer valuable resources to seniors, providing assistance and counseling for relevant topics, including insurance, health care and elder law. The following table lists agencies that provide helpful resources to Michigan seniors and their caregivers.

ContactWhat You Should Know
MDHHS Aging & Adult Services Agency(517) 241-4100The AASA was formed to meet the diverse needs of Michigan seniors. The agency addresses concerns of the state’s elder population and connects individuals with relevant local resources. 
Michigan Long Term Care Ombudsman Program(517) 827-8040Michigan’s LTC Ombudsman Program aims to improve the quality of residential care in the state. Ombudsmen throughout Michigan advocate for seniors enrolled in long-term care, helping resolve issues and prevent elder abuse. 
AARP Michigan(866) 227-7448Michigan’s AARP chapter provides state residents aged 50 and over with up-to-date news on topics and legislation that impact seniors. The organization hosts a wide variety of online and in-person events throughout the state, with subjects ranging from technology to indoor gardening. Seniors who opt for a paid membership to AARP receive travel and recreation discounts and have access to financial planning services.
Alzheimer’s Association: Michigan Chapter(800) 272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association’s Michigan Chapter provides information, support and education to help individuals and their families navigate the challenges of life with dementia. The organization’s 24/7 helpline connects callers with professional consultants trained in crisis assistance, and support is available in more than 200 languages. Through the helpline, individuals can receive decision-making support, referrals to community resources and information about local services and programs. The organization also offers support groups for individuals diagnosed with memory loss, their families and primary caregivers.
Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency(800) 642-4838The MVAA helps veterans and their families understand what benefits are available. The agency also offers benefits check-ins to make sure state veterans are receiving the benefits they’re entitled to. A hotline, which can be accessed by phone or text message, is also available for veterans who are in crisis. 
Michigan Elder Justice InitiativeContact FormMEJI partners with other senior-focused agencies to educate and advocate for Michigan’s low-income elder population. Its areas of specialty include guardianship, long-term care, public benefits and elder neglect and abuse, and staff with legal expertise are available for consultations. 

COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for Michigan Senior Living Facilities

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including and These rules apply to nursing homes and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/8/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visiting Loved Ones

Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?Yes (Conditions Apply)
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?No
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?Yes
Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives? Not Available*
Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?Yes
Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?Yes

*NOTE: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

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?No (Conditions Apply)
Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?No
Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?Yes (Conditions Apply)
Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?Yes (Conditions Apply)

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 (Conditions Apply)
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 (Conditions Apply)

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

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.

Learn More About Senior Living in Michigan

For more information about specific types of senior living in Michigan read our Guide to Assisted Living and Independent Living.

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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