Choosing a place for your elderly loved one to live can be a stressful decision. This is particularly true if you, your loved one, and other family members live in different states. If your aging relative is looking into assisted living residences in the Great Lakes State, you’ll want to know what you can expect. Here is the information you need about senior housing in Michigan.
Basics Of Michigan Assisted Living
Michigan is teeming with culture, great sports teams, and a varied landscape, making it attractive to retirees. If your loved one is thinking about moving to a senior living community in Michigan, it’s important that they know their housing options and the quality of senior care they should receive within the state.
Types Of Michigan Senior Living Options
When it comes to senior housing, your loved one will have a variety of communities to choose from, depending on their needs. It’s important to keep an open mind as you consider the different housing type; the services available will determine which is right for your loved one.
Independent living communities: Many senior citizens are still able to live independently even though they don’t want to or cannot maintain their private homes any longer. For this population, an independent living community is often the best choice. Each resident (or couple) lives in their own private unit. Meals and housekeeping, including laundry, may be provided, and most communities have various recreational activities available, too.
Assisted living facilities: In Michigan, the housing type that is usually known as an assisted living facility is often referred to as a home for the aged. These facilities provide personal care services such as help with bathing, grooming, and personal hygiene. They also usually include meals, social activities, and other amenities. The assisted living communities in this state vary widely, so it’s important to contact the ones you’re interested in to find out exactly what’s included.
Nursing homes: If your loved one needs 24-hour nursing care, then nursing homes could be the right senior residential care homes choice for them. In some cases, people who live in independent living communities or assisted living facilities spend a short period of time in a nursing home when they need to recover from an illness or injury; as long as they heal as expected, they can then return to their homes.
Continuing care retirement communities: Continuing care retirement communities are often the senior living facility of choice for people who are independent now but expect that their needs will change over time. Your family member can start in an independent living unit; as his or her needs increase, they can move into the assisted living center or home for the aged on the property, then, if necessary, into a nursing home.
Adult day services: Sometimes called adult day care, adult day services provide supervision and other assistance to elderly residents with personal care who live with family or other caregivers. When those caregivers need time away from the home (often to go to work or to attend to personal business), the adult day service can care for their loved one. There are two types in Michigan: Adult social day senior care provides social activities, recreation, meals, and some minor health-related services. Adult day health care provides more intensive health-related services, including therapeutic and social services, when needed.
In-home care: Individuals who decide to live at home, either in their own homes or in the home of a loved one, can get a caregiver to come to the home to provide a variety of services. Some providers will assist with meals and housework, some will help with the activities of daily living (bathing, grooming, getting dressed), and still others will provide health care services.
Largest Providers Of Assisted Living In Michigan
There are some national providers of assisted living care that have facilities in the Great Lakes State. For example, Brookdale and Sunrise Senior Living have 12 Michigan assisted living communities each. Atria Senior Living has three and Holiday Retirement has one.
Quality And Safety Of Assisted Living Facilities In Michigan
Michigan does not have regulations for facilities that call themselves assisted living communities or assisted living residences. They do, however, have regulations for those that are classified as homes for the aged. The two different types of facilities have a lot of overlap. The state keeps track of facilities that have had their licenses revoked or suspended; you can find that list at the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. You can also run a statewide search for homes for the aged; these include the most recent inspection reports.
Cost Of Assisted Living Care In Michigan
The median monthly cost of assisted living care in the United States is $3,750. In Michigan, the cost is a bit less, at $3,500 per month. This varies by city. For example, in Monroe, Ann Arbor, Kalamazoo, and Lansing, expect to pay between $4,300 and $4,700. In Detroit, Flint, and Grand Rapids, you’ll pay close to the monthly median cost, or $3,500. Battle Creek and Muskegon have lower median monthly fees, averaging $2,950. And in the parts of Michigan outside of the metro areas, the median monthly fee is $2,650.
Cost Comparisons: How Costs Compare In The Nearby States
If your loved one lives near a state border or you have family in nearby states, you might consider assisted living communities in these other areas. You will likely find that overall, facilities in nearby states cost more, on average: Wisconsin’s median monthly cost is $4,000; Indiana’s is $4,025; and Ohio’s is $4,178. It’s important to do cost comparisons given the high rates of assisted living facilities.
Paying For Michigan Assisted Living Care
With Michigan’s assisted living care costing approximately $42,000 per year, you might be concerned with how you or your aging loved one will pay for it. There are several options to consider when it comes to paying for long-term care.
Private funds: Private funds, such as those from a retirement fund or pension or the proceeds from a house sale, can be used to pay for assisted living care. In most cases, these funds and assets need to be spent down before the person can qualify for a Medicaid waiver.
Medicaid waivers: In Michigan, Medicaid waivers are available for those who qualify for Medicaid and don’t need the 24-hour nursing care that’s available in a nursing home. The funds come from the MI Choice Waiver Program (often simply called, “the waiver”). Income and asset requirements are in place, but if your loved one is married, there are some exceptions available that are designed to keep the independent spouse in his or her home and with assets and income to use.
Reverse mortgage: A reverse mortgage is a loan that people over the age of 62 can take out against the equity in their homes. This is an option if your loved one has a spouse who is planning on staying in the home. Rather than selling the home now, they can use the equity toward the long-term care bills and not worry about paying it back (although they do need to pay their taxes and homeowners insurance) until the second spouse is no longer living in the home. At that point, the home will be sold and the proceeds will pay back the loan. Financial counseling is required to take out a reverse mortgage, and the Michigan Attorney General has put out a list of tips for seniors to protect themselves.
Long-term care insurance: Long-term care insurance can pay for some of your loved one’s assisted living care if they bought a policy prior to needing the care. In Michigan, there is a law that if your loved one has a policy and needs to replace it with a new one, the new policy cannot exclude pre-existing conditions that were not excluded on the original policy. The policy also cannot exclude Alzheimer's disease or those who require similar memory care or Alzheimer's care.
Programs for veterans: There are two veterans’ homes in Michigan, the D.J. Jacobetti Home for Veterans and the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. In addition, veterans may be eligible for Aid and Attendance, a federal program that can help vets pay for assisted living care. You can find a benefits counselor depending on your state.
Elderlife Financial can help you understand how to pay for assisted living.
What’s Included With Assisted Living Care In Michigan
The definition of an assisted living facility in Michigan is loose; there is no licensing for that particular term. If you are looking at assisted living facilities or assisted living communities in the Great Lakes State, it’s important to understand that since there’s no strict definition, you might or might not find a place that provides the most appropriate care for your loved one.
A home for the aged, however, is what most people think of when they want their loved one to go into an assisted living community. This type of senior housing includes room, board, and assistance with the activities of daily living. Each resident’s personal and social skills are supported, and medication management is included. This means that, depending on your loved one’s needs, they might simply need reminders to take medication or they might actually need it handed to them.
Some facilities offer Alzheimer's care services for those with Alzheimer's disease and dementia. Be sure to find out whether the one you’re looking at has this service if it’s important to you and your loved one.
In addition, homes for the aged offer a wide range of activities, including social opportunities and sometimes offsite trips. Again, this can vary substantially from facility to facility, so find out in advance what types of activities and amenities are included.
Wellness Resources In Michigan
Michigan is home to 132 hospitals located all over the state. These include both for-profit and nonprofit facilities. There are also many specialists, including cancer specialists and geriatric specialists. It’s likely that any assisted living center you consider will be located near a hospital, but be sure to find out which hospitals are nearby. Also, if your loved one has a doctor they already see, consider looking for residential care homes that are close enough to allow them to continue seeing their favorite physician. If that’s not feasible, help your relative find a doctor to be their primary care physician while they’re at the assisted living community.
Going Into Assisted Living Care In Michigan
When your loved one goes into assisted living care, they will receive a written assessment and service plan. This plan will detail what type of care and assistance they require. For example, it will say whether your relative needs medication management (and what type) as well as which activities of daily living they need assistance with. If they have a special diet, that will be included, too.
Every year, this assessment and service plan will be redone unless circumstances dictate that it be done sooner. If your loved one begins to need more intensive care than the facility can provide, they might be referred to a different type of facility, such as a nursing home.
Michigan Assisted Living Oversight
Homes for the aged are overseen by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. In addition, the Aging and Adult Services Agency has resources that can help the elderly residents of Michigan. Finally, the Long-Term Care Ombudsman is a good resource for those who currently live in long-term senior housing and are having a dispute with the facility.