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The state of Michigan is a state in the Great Lakes and Midwestern part of America. It is the sole state in United States that contains two peninsulas – the Lower Peninsula which is often compared to being mitten-shaped, and the Upper Peninsula, commonly known to as the UP. It is one of the leading states for recreational boating and any senior living in Michigan is never more than six miles away from a natural water source or 85 miles away from a Great Lakes shoreline. Michigan is the 10th most populated state in America with an estimated 10 million people. It has an area of 96,716 square miles and is the 11th largest state in the nation. The state density is 17th in the nation with 174 people per square mile. With the 18th highest percentage of senior citizens at 15.44%, is Michigan the best choice for a senior looking for assisted living facilities or senior living communiites?
Costs of Assisted Living in Michigan
The cost for Assisted Living Care in Michigan state averages almost $3,600 per month, (close to $43,000 a year). The costs vary greatly from city to city - for example, Assisted Living in the Battle Creek, Michigan costs $2,500 monthly, while those living in Midland pay almost $5,000 per month. The costs also may fluctuate from facility to facility for Michigan seniors with dementia and Alzheimer's.
The U.S. average cost for Assisted Living is $3,293 per month, and Michigan's assisted living is relatively comparable to that, although a bit more expensive at $3,563. Nursing homes in Michigan are much more expensive than assisted living facilities - with semi-private rooms costing over $91,000 per year, and a private room carrying a cost of over $98,000 annually.
Adult Day Health Care in Michigan averages $1,700 per month or around $21,000 per year. A Home Health Aide in Michigan costs, on average $4,000 a month, over $48,000 annually. This is almost $6,000 more than the cost of an Assisted Living Facility in Michigan. The cost of a Home Health Aide is based on a 44-hour-week, whereas Assisted Living provides 24-hour care. To receive comparable care at home you would need 3.8 Home Health Aides per week which would cost around $15,200 every month. Home Health Aides usually do not do housekeeping nor do they come with licensed nurses that you find in Assisted Living Facilities. It is estimated that by the year 2030, Assisted Living in Michigan will cost almost $65,000 per year – an increase of around $18,000.
Within Michigan itself, the costs of Assisted Living Care vary as well, for example, these are the latest approximate costs of a monthly stay in an Assisted Living Facility in Michigan:
- Battle Creek, Michigan - $2,500;
- Lansing Area, Michigan - $3,150;
- Niles Area, Michigan - $3,300;
- Muskegon, Michigan - $3,300;
- Flint, Michigan - $3,450;
- Kalamazoo, Michigan - $3,600;
- Jackson, Michigan - $3,660;
- Bay City, Michigan - $3,688;
- Grand Rapids, Michigan - $3,700;
- Ann Arbor, Michigan - $3,775;
- Detroit Area, Michigan - $3,850;
- Saginaw, Michigan - $4,100;
- Monroe, Michigan - $4,350;
- Midland, Michigan - $4,998;
Who pays for Assisted Living Care in Michigan?
Generally speaking, Michigan Assisted Living care costs are paid for by Michigan elderly or their families. The state of Michigan has quite a few waiver programs for Home and Community Based Services (HBCS) and Long Term Care Facility Services (LTC). Michigan elderly who have a medical need for long term care services are able to choose which programs they wish to participate in as long as they meet the non-financial as well as the financial medical assistance eligibility requirements.
Currently, the state of Michigan has just one waiver for seniors that help pay for seniors in an assisted living facility:
- MI Choice Waiver Program “known as the program” – to qualify for MI Choices, Michigan senior must be 60-years or older; meet nursing level care criteria, and yet wish to be treated in their homes or in another community-based setting. Services provided to those who are eligible under this waiver include:
- Services that help with community transition;
- Nursing services for seniors (preventative nursing);
- Services that support Michigan seniors when it comes to community living;
- Respite care services;
- Providing certain supplies and Medical Equipment that the Michigan Medicaid does not provide;
- Adult day health care (adult day care);
- Chore Services;
- Private Duty Nursing;
- Counseling for Michigan elders;
- Delivering meals to the senior's residence / home;
- Helping seniors get better at independent living via various types of training;
- Non-medical supervision;
- Support coordination;
- Goods and Services;
- Fiscal intermediary; and
- Personal emergency response system.
There are a total of 14 regional offices to contact for MI Choices, depending on where in Michigan you are located.
Helpful State Programs for Seniors & Senior Living in Michigan
Michigan has quite a few programs to help seniors, whether they are low-income or not. Many of these programs are coordinated by the Michigan Area Agency for Aging. The other agency that Michigan senior citizens need to know is that of their local Ombudsman. The job of an Ombudsman is to protect the rights of Michigan residents in long-term care facilities.
Michigan also has the following services for elders:
- Home-Delivered Meals – available to those seniors who are eligible. The individual or a family member is interviewed to determine eligibility. In most states, to be eligible to receive meals, you must be unable to prepare meals by yourself;
- Seniors Farmers Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) – given to eligible Michigan seniors over the age of 60. They receive four $5.00 checks one-time during the program year, although married couples can receive a total of $40.00. This allows senior to purchase fresh farm grown food in Michigan. For more information contact your local AAA;
- Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – formerly known as food stamps, SNAP can be used to buy food at authorized stores in the state. Eligibility is determined based on income and numbers of eligible people in your household.
Miscellaneous – other programs available to Michigan State seniors:
Pros and Cons of Senior Living in Michigan
Here are some things to consider for seniors when choosing where to retire in Michigan:
- Housing Prices – houses in Michigan are more affordable than a comparable house in another state. Most suburbs are very affordable, although there are some such as Gross Pointe and others close to Detroit that are simple out of most seniors' price range;
- Recreation and Outdoorsy Activities – the state has four definite seasons and over 11,000 inland lakes. It is also close to the Great Lakes. Even if your idea of being outdoors is “getting drunk on a patio” - Michigan has plenty to offer;
- Arts and Culture – the state is known for its support of the arts. There are plays, symphonies, galleries and craft shows that senior citizens can enjoy – everything from fine arts to quilts;
- Natural beauty – Michigan has large islands, marshes, lakes, and with 150 lighthouses it has more lighthouses than other state in America;
- Golfing – if golfing is a sport that you enjoy, this state has numerous courses that are ranked highly. The state has several championship courses and some private courses allow for tee-time for those who are not members. Furthermore, course fees are much less expensive than those in other parts of the country; and
- Colleges – this state is known for its many colleges and universities as well as excellent healthcare that is often associated with universities. The University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University in East Lansing are two of the top schools, but there are smaller schools located throughout the state. This allows for people to take classes that you may not have had time for when you were younger as well bringing the college atmosphere to your house.
- Note: consider moving to Michigan as a fan of Ohio State only if you are very, very brave. They take the Michigan/Ohio rivalry seriously.
Financial Information for Michigan Seniors
Michigan imposes a flat state income tax of 3.07% on your taxable income and allows for no personal exemptions, yet some areas add to your personal income taxes and therefore additional forms must be completed. There is a state sales tax of 6% and the state does not allow city or local areas to add to that 6%.
Property taxes are assessed at the local level. There are programs for senior citizens to help offset the property tax rate. Seniors who are over 65 years of age and people who are veterans, disabled, surviving spouses of veterans, and/or farmers may get to postpone paying property taxes, depending on the county that you reside in and your income level. Also, owner and occupied homesteads may get an exemption from a part of local school taxes.
Additionally, you may be eligible for a property tax credit on your personal income tax return if you meet the following conditions:
- Your homestead is located within the state of Michigan;
- You were a resident of the state of Michigan for at least six months of the tax year; and
- You pay property taxes or rent on your Michigan homestead.
Vacation homes are not eligible for a property tax credit nor are homes used for income property. Those with low-income may be eligible for the home heating credit which can be found at the LIHEAP website.
Michigan does not have an Inheritance Tax nor does it have an estate tax.
Michigan is a tax-friendly state for seniors, due to the following:
- Income from Social Security is not taxed;
- Withdrawals from retirement accounts are taxed partially;
- Wages are taxed at normal rates, in Michigan the rate is 4.3%;
- Public pension income is partially taxed; and
- Private pensions are partially taxed.
Michigan is a low-price state. For example, what you could purchase for $100 in Michigan is what you would expect to spend $106.27 on in another state. The cost of living is lower in Michigan overall than it is in other states in every category with housing being the biggest difference. Michigan rated higher in grocery, transportation, utilities, and miscellaneous; but lower in health, housing and overall.
Michigan Medicaid eligibility is dependent upon your income, your resources, and other eligibility requirements. There are different categories, but when it comes to the elderly, Michigan seniors are eligible when they are at least 65 years old, have blindness and disability. (this group is classified as related to SSI) or have Special Medical Assistance conditions. There are also specific income requires that seniors must meet to qualify.
Places of Interest for Seniors Living in Michigan
Michigan is a state full of history for those who are interested, particularly those interested in the history of the automotive industry. It is also the birthplace of “Motown Records.” Agriculture plays a large part in Michigan’s economy - the state is the leading grower of fruit in the nation of peaches, blueberries, cherries, apples, and grapes
Additionally, Michigan has many schools and universities, both public and private, throughout the state and Michigan State University has the 8th largest campus population of any U.S. school. Seven of those schools – Central Michigan University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Michigan Technological Institute, Oakland University, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University are classified as research institutes by the Carnegie Foundation.
There are many things that might be of interest for senior citizens in Michigan State. Some of the more interesting things that seniors may enjoy in Michigan include:
- Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation – located in Dearborn, Michigan. Within this Museum are many exhibits that may be of interest, including: Dymaxion House, Your Place in Time, Fully Furnished, With Liberty and Justice for All, Heroes of the Sky, Made in America: Manufacturing, Made in America: Power, Driving America, Presidential Vehicles, Railroads, and the Davidson-Gerson Modern Glass Gallery. They have discounts for Senior Citizens (over the age of 62) and are open seven days a week;
- Fredrik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park – located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. This “park” is home to the “Acclaimed Orchid Wall,” and, “Cabin Creek,” a “Tropical Bird exhibit,” “The American Horse exhibit,” “Pitcher Plants,” and “Hagar.”
Art exhibits at this location include: “Eve,” “Working Model for Divided Oval: Butterfly,” “Equal Intervals, Equal Elevations,” “Neuron,” and “Spider.”
For plant enthusiasts, there are: “Cacao Trees,” “The Pandan,” “The Wardian Case,” “Africa, Asia and the Middle East,” “Americas & Australia Plants,” “The Aristilochia Vine,” and “The Venus Flytrap.” This is easily an attraction that Michigan seniors could spend a day exploring and the prices vary – members are free, and they offer a Senior Citizen Discount. There are also group rates available. It is open from 9 am until 5 pm daily except on Sundays when it opens at 11 am;
- Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior – located on the South Shore in Upper Michigan between the communities of Munising and Grand Marais. With miles of pristine beaches, and over 100 miles of hiking trails, this area is surrounded by the hardwood forest that is typical in the Upper Michigan. During the Spring, the wildflowers cover the area, adding color to the beautiful area, while Summer is the season when you can bask in the warm days of summer. Autumn shows its beauty with the changing colors of the trees and during winter the beautiful snow is frequent. It is open 24-hours a day, 7-days a week and there is no fee for admittance;
- Detroit Opera House – located in Detroit, Michigan. This Opera House has been in existence in some form or fashion since 1869 and is considered the shining star of the Broadway and musical scene of Detroit. It can seat over 2,100 people.
- Keweenaw Peninsula – located on Michigan’s Superior Coast. This area is full of attractions for seniors and any and all other age groups; from sledding, snowmobiling, dog sledding, the “Isle Royale National Park,” “Ft. Wilkins State Historic Park,” lighthouses, food from fine dining to brew pubs and casual dining. This area also has some great shopping, including: Coppertown USA Mining Museum & Gift Shop, Eagle Harbor Agate Shop, Old Fashioned Candy Shoppe, Swede’s Gift Shop & Keweenaw Minerals, A.E. Seaman’s Mineral Museum, and the Astor House Museum;
- Miners Castle Rock – located in Munising, Michigan.
- Frankenmuth, Michigan – located in Saginaw County, Michigan. This city is home to a large percentage of German immigrants, in fact 53% of the population are descended from Germans. 28.3% of the population are seniors over 65. Over three million tourists visit this town yearly mainly for its Bavarian-themed stores and eateries, including “Bavarian Inn,” “Frankenmuth Brewery,” “Zehender’s,” and “Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland” – known as the largest Christmas Shop in the Country. Other activities include: “Summer Music Fest,” “Oktoberfest,” and the “Frankenmuth SnowFest;”
- Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary – located on Lake Huron in the northeastern region of Michigan. It protects approximately 116 historically significant shipwrecks from the nineteenth-century to the twentieth-century. It was the 13th overall National Marine Sanctuary and the first one on the Great Lakes. It is currently 4,300 square miles;
Some cities to consider for Michigan Senior Living:
- Alpena, Michigan – a city in Michigan and it is the County Seat of Alpena County in northern Michigan in the northwest part of the state. The population is small, less than 11,000, although it grows during the summer months. Although it is small, it is the largest city in sparsely populated are of Northeast Michigan in the lower peninsula. It is estimated that Alpena's population of less than 11,000 has 17.2% of households that have someone over the age of 65. And those over 65 make up almost 20% of the population. The only drawback is that it rates poorly for weather;
- Ironwood, Michigan – located in Gogebic County in Michigan, about 27 miles south of Lake Superior. It is the most western city in Michigan and the elderly population is greater than 20%. Ironwood has 3 large grocery stores, 3 farmer's markets and it also accepts coupons via the Senior Project FRESH/Market FRESH program provided by the Michigan Aging & Adults Services Agency to older adults who qualify for it. Ironwood also has a large, renovated Aspiris Ironwood Clinic that older adults who need medical attention can take care of. The city also has a well-functioning public transit system and many activities and places of interest for active seniors to take advantage of.
- Lapeer, Michigan – located in the “thumb” of Michigan, the city has a total area of 7.38 square miles. There is excellent access to physicians and average access to recreation and fitness facility, however trips to grocery stores can be a problem. While the median age in Lapeer is 36 years old, almost 14% of the population is 65 years old or older.;
- Escanaba, Michigan – located in Delta County in the “banana belt” on the Upper Peninsula of the state, the population was around 12,000 as of a few years ago. It is home to one of the safest natural harbors in the Upper Great Lakes, making it a natural destination for boaters. The Sandpoint Lighthouse is also located here and, although it was decommissioned as a lighthouse in 1939, it was restored to its original condition in the late 1980s and placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The access to physicians, golf, grocery stores and fitness facilities is above the national average. Almost 20% of the population is over the age of 65; and
- Denton Township, Michigan – a civil township located in Roscommon Country, Michigan with a population of less than 6,000 people and a population density of 220.6 people per square mile. At least 24% of the population is over 65 (and that number is increasing), and there is excellent access to golf and recreation facilities. Crime in Denton Township is low and the access to grocery stores and restaurants is average. However, access to doctors could be better.