Michigan Senior Living: The Complete Guide for 2022

Mar 18, 2022
John Gantons' Coutnryside residents boarding the bus for an outing

Ready to find your forever home in Michigan? You’re in luck! Few states come close to the natural beauty, affordability and high quality of life found in Pure Michigan. No matter what type of retirement community you’re looking for, you can find it here — if you know where to look.

Nursing homes used to be the catch-all for senior living, but luckily, times have changed. Senior homes aren’t one-size-fits-all anymore; they are diverse and designed to meet specific needs. Before you start searching for retirement communities in Michigan, you need to figure out the features and amenities that matter to you.

However, if you’re unfamiliar with the choices, describing your ideal arrangement can be tough! Don’t worry — John Ganton’s Countryside is here to help. This article will outline everything you need to know about Michigan senior living, from lifestyle options to average cost to how to find the best senior community near you.

About Your Options for Senior Care in Michigan

There is no right or wrong, best or worst type of senior living — there is only what’s ideal for you. The right community for you will depend on many factors, including your lifestyle, health, autonomy, location and budget. However, many arrangements come down to how much assistance you need with daily activities of living (ADLs).

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes in Michigan are designed specifically for seniors who need around-the-clock care, so residents generally just have private or semi-private rooms rather than whole apartments. A professionally trained staff is available 24/7 to offer assistance with ADLs, including the following:

  • Eating
  • Bathing or showering
  • Dressing and personal grooming
  • Toileting
  • Transfering
  • Walking and moving around

Nursing homes are staffed with registered nurses and aides, as well as dietitians and general rehab specialists. With an emphasis on healthcare, nursing homes tend to be more clinical than other types of senior living. However, high-quality nursing homes in Michigan provide engaging, appropriate activities programming, social get-togethers and special events when possible.

Retirement Communities

Retirement communities, which are also called independent living communities, are designed for highly autonomous seniors who want to let go of the burdens of traditional homeownership within a community of peers. These arrangements generally involve single-family homes or apartments, which the company is in charge of maintaining.

For seniors who are fully capable of taking care of themselves but would enjoy more chances to meet people their own age, independent living is a wonderful option. They can maintain their autonomy and come and go as they please, but they don’t have to deal with the minutiae of maintenance and yard work.

Top-tier retirement communities provide residents with an array of amenities, including cleaning and laundry services, on-campus health specialists, recreation spaces, dining venues and more. They may also coordinate holiday parties and social gatherings, as well as facilitate transportation and medication management when needed.

Assisted Living

For people who don’t need comprehensive care but who aren’t fully independent, assisted living meets them halfway. Most assisted living in Michigan arrangements involve apartment or suite-style living where residents can maintain their privacy but still have easy access to assistance when needed. They generally include the following amenities and services:

  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Chef-prepared meals
  • Planned group outings
  • Transportation services
  • 24-hour staff
  • Security
  • Fitness programming
  • Assistance with some ADLs

Because residents generally live in one large building or complex, assisted living is an easy way to meet new friends later in life. From sharing meals in the dining halls to participating in group activities, seniors have every opportunity to live a rich social life.

Memory Care

Older adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s have different needs than their peers. When someone with severe memory problems enters a living arrangement that doesn’t adequately account for their needs, the results can be disastrous. Memory care homes are specially designed to accommodate these residents’ comfort and safety.

If you’ve ever cared for a loved one with memory loss, you know that wandering off can become a safety issue. You also know that they can become sad, angry and confused easily, especially when they don’t recognize you or their surroundings. High-quality memory care centers will account for these issues by providing non-alarming security features like sensors and color-coded hallways and rooms to encourage recognition.

Adult Day Care

Rather than a living style, adult day care is a lot what it sounds like — specialized senior care during the day. Although centers vary in their program offerings, most include some form of therapeutic exercise, mental interaction and social activities. Research suggests that adult day care can offer psychological benefits for seniors suffering from loneliness.

In-Home Care

In-home care, which is also called home care services, is a service that allows seniors with special needs to stay in their homes and age in place. In-home care may provide help with the following:

  • ADLs like bathing, grooming and dressing
  • Household chores, cleaning, yardwork, laundry
  • Cooking and meal preparation
  • Money management, paying bills, filling out forms

People can find home care services to fit almost any type of need. Many community services are free or donated and are paid for through government programs or health insurance.

Michigan Senior Care Pricing

Regardless of which state you live in, senior care is expensive. However, it tends to be more affordable in Michigan than in many surrounding states. The price depends on both the type of senior care and whether it’s located in a metropolitan or rural area.

Average Nursing Home Costs

Often, the price of a senior living arrangement correlates with the level of care provided. Because nursing homes provide around-the-clock care administered by medical professionals, they are more expensive than retirement and assisted living communities. The monthly median cost of nursing home care in Michigan in 2021 was $9,095 for a semi-private room and $9,855 for a private room.

Average Retirement Community Costs

Retirement communities provide relatively few staff and services compared to more comprehensive types of senior care. Independent living is typically comparable to living in an intentional community, averaging about $2,190 per month.

Average Assisted Living Costs

Assisted living arrangements provide more help with ADLs than retirement communities but less than nursing homes in Michigan. As a result, they are generally more expensive than independent living but less costly than nursing homes. The median monthly cost for assisted living in Michigan in 2021 was $4,250.

Average Memory Care Costs

Typically, memory care centers exist as a separate wing of an assisted living center. As memory care provides the same long-term services and amenities of assisted living plus specialized treatment, it generally costs 20 to 30% more than assisted living. However, the price varies according to which therapies are provided and the quality of care.

Senior Care Costs by City and Region

As a general rule, the cost of senior care in Michigan is lower in rural areas than in metropolitan areas, but there are exceptions, including Detroit. Here’s a city-by-city comparison of the median monthly cost of assisted living:

  • Detroit area: $4,215
  • Flint: $4,375
  • Midland: $4,460
  • Lansing area: $4,313
  • Monroe: $5,050
  • Ann Arbor: $6,093
  • Kalamazoo: $4,350
  • Grand Rapids: $4,828
  • Jackson: $4,000

Regionally, Michigan has a lower cost of certain types of senior care than surrounding states. Using assisted living again as a means of comparison, this is how Michigan’s median monthly price stacks up against neighboring states:

  • Michigan: $4,250
  • Wisconsin: $4,600
  • Illinois: $4,488
  • Indiana: $4,283
  • Minnesota: $4,508
  • Ohio: $4,635
  • Pennsylvania: $4,100

Although assisted living in Michigan is more affordable than all of the states mentioned except for Pennsylvania, this trend does not extend to every type of senior living care. For example, the median monthly cost of nursing home care in Michigan is more expensive than every state mentioned except for Minnesota and Pennsylvania. Cost ultimately depends on the city and region, as well as the type and quality of care provided.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care in Michigan

No matter where you live, senior care is expensive. Many people pay for senior care with savings or family assistance, but that isn’t an option for everyone. For those who need financial assistance, Michigan offers the following opportunities:

  • Michigan Home Help Program: part of Michigan’s state Medicaid plan, providing in-home personal care services for seniors.
  • MI Choice Waiver: a program that allows elderly or disabled individuals who might require nursing home care to receive in-home services or adult foster care or to transition to a senior home.
  • Health Link Program: a state-run initiative that offers adult day care, prescription drugs, nursing home services and more to eligible residents.
  • Veterans Benefits: a pension program that pays for veterans’ assisted living.

These are only a few of the resources Michigan residents can explore. If you’re concerned about how to pay for senior care, explore your options using the Eldercare Locator, a directory run by the U.S. Administration on Aging.

Michigan Laws Seniors and Adult Children Should Know

Senior care in the U.S. is largely regulated on the state — not federal — level. As a result, the laws are different for each state. The Michigan Department of Human Services and their Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing regulates senior care centers. You can learn about important regulations and statutes by reading the Licensing Rules for Homes for the Aged, as outlined by the Michigan public health department.

How to Tell when It’s Time for Senior Care

Knowing when to pursue senior care is a nuanced issue that many older people and their children face. Although the right time largely depends on an individual’s specific circumstances, you may want to start considering senior care when you notice the following:

  • You don’t feel safe alone. For many people, the decision to enter a senior living situation comes as a result of being unable to attend to their own health needs. This could look like forgetting to take medication, being unable to transition in and out of the shower or bed safely or missing doctor’s appointments.
  • You’re unable to maintain your home. Even seniors who are able to keep up with personal hygiene and health may struggle to keep their homes from falling into disrepair. If you forget to pay bills, are unable to maintain the yard or home and struggle to clean your living space, it may be time to consider another option.
  • You’re lonely. Physical safety isn’t the only important aspect of health; mental health plays an incalculable role in overall wellbeing. Isolation and loneliness can be just as detrimental to health as a physical medical condition, and senior living arrangements are wonderful for facilitating new friendships and social opportunities.
  • You worry about the future. Everyone, regardless of age, worries about the future. However, if you’re concerned about how your quality of life will be affected by the aging process, it’s important to take the appropriate steps to ensure support and resources.

If you are trying to find retirement communities in Michigan or another type of senior living situation for a parent or loved one, it’s essential to listen to what they want and choose an arrangement that prioritizes their safety, needs, preferences and comfort.

How to Choose a Senior Living Arrangement

When choosing the right type of senior living arrangement for yourself, a parent or a loved one, there are numerous factors to consider. However, four considerations are of the utmost importance.

Assistance with ADLs

For people who require 24-hour assistance with ADLs, independent or assisted living options may not provide adequate support. Similarly, seniors who are capable of performing some ADLs probably aren’t ready for nursing home care. Gauging autonomy and independence is critical to finding a compatible situation.

Physical Health Conditions

Another consideration is physical health. For people with degenerative conditions or serious health problems, an arrangement with specialized care may be the best option. This could include rehabilitation, memory care or nursing care.


Ideally, every senior would be able to get the specialized care they need, regardless of income. Unfortunately, that’s not the reality. Before entering into a senior care arrangement, it’s important to consider whether you can afford it — not just currently, but whether you’ll continue to be able to afford it.

Social Preferences

If you know that social interaction is key to your happiness, it’s important to choose an arrangement that reflects that value. People who struggle to make friends on their own may feel isolated in an independent living environment. They may benefit from an assisted living arrangement that provides built-in social support.

Top Michigan Nursing Homes

If you’re looking for nursing homes in Michigan, here’s the good news: There are more than 400 options to choose from, many of which are high-quality. Here are some of the best nursing homes in various cities across Michigan:

  • Ascension Living Borgess Place (Kalamazoo, MI): a high-performing long-term care home that participates in Medicare and Medicaid programs.
  • Bronson Commons (Mattawan, MI): a popular nursing home option with relatively few hospitalizations, low complaint rate and high level of autonomy among residents.
  • Grand Traverse Pavilions (Traverse City, MI): a large, county-run facility with 240 beds and high satisfaction ratings. It is part of a larger continuing care retirement community.
  • Spectrum Health Rehabilitation and Nursing Centers (Grand Rapids, MI): large facility with 250 beds that has non-profit, corporate ownership.
  • John Ganton’s Countryside Nursing Care (Jackson, MI): the premier nursing home in Southcentral Michigan with a dedicated nursing care branch. It exists as part of a larger, full-service retirement community situated on more than 100 acres in beautiful Jackson.

When evaluating nursing homes, it’s essential to not only look at amenities and services provided, but also at resident reviews.

Top Michigan Assisted Living Homes

Assisted living facilities vary widely in quality, and sifting through the 1,165 options can be daunting. Here are some of the best top-rated assisted living homes throughout Michigan:

  • Anthology of Northville (Northville, MI): a medium-sized assisted living community with 90 beds. It is rated for excellent care in both assisted living and assisted living with memory care, but it’s not part of a larger retirement community.
  • Candlestone Assisted Living (Midland, MI): a small assisted living community with 45 beds, excellent resident ratings and many amenities, including a salon, theater and outdoor recreation areas.
  • Allegria Village (Dearborn, MI): a very large facility that can accommodate more than 1,000 residents. It offers assisted living with memory care but is not part of a larger continuing care facility.
  • John Ganton’s Countryside Assisted Living (Jackson, MI): a top-rated assisted living arrangement that exists as part of a larger senior retirement community. Its many amenities include help with ADLs, chef-prepared meals, transportation services, medication management, security and planned social activities.

When considering assisted living facilities, it’s critical to consider size. Whereas some seniors may prefer to live in a smaller assisted living home, others prefer the opportunity to socialize with seniors in different branches of care across campus.

Top Michigan Retirement Communities

Retirement communities in Michigan offer seniors the ability to live an autonomous, hassle-free life alongside their peers. Out of the 118 retirement communities in Michigan, here are some of the most highly rated:

  • Heather Hills Retirement Village (Grand Rapids, MI): all-inclusive, one- and two-bedroom apartment homes with partial or full kitchens. They offer a wide range of activities and cater offerings to individual needs and preferences.
  • Sugarbush Manor (Flint, MI): a retirement community that accepts residents as young as 55 and provides private apartments and a wide range of on-campus amenities.
  • The Fountains at Bronson Place (Kalamazoo, MI): a continuing care community that offers independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing care.
  • John Ganton’s Countryside Independent Living (Jackson, MI): single-family homes and private apartments situated on a large, gorgeous campus. Ganton’s offers continued care for every stage of life and provides numerous services and amenities to residents at every level.

Some seniors begin their journey in an independent living situation but eventually require more comprehensive care, like what is offered from an assisted living or nursing home situation. For this reason, retirement communities that exist as part of a larger network of services may be preferable.

Only the Best in Michigan Senior Care

Whether you’re looking for the best nursing homes, retirement communities or assisted living in Michigan, there’s only one name you need to know: John Ganton’s Countryside. At Ganton’s, seniors can live with the comfort of knowing they’ll never outgrow their welcome. That’s because we allow residents to transition to different types of care according to their shifting health needs. We prioritize aging in place, so matter what brings you to Ganton’s, you can rest easy knowing that you’re home.

Ready to visit our campus? Schedule a tour online or give call Margaret Nagel at (517) 206-5000 or download our brochure to learn about our care levels, cost, and amenities.

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