Michigan is facing an increased public health risk, with a projected 22.2% rise in Alzheimer’s disease diagnoses expected by 2025. Currently, the state Medicaid program spends an estimated $1.3 billion each year, with 586 million hours of unpaid care that’s been donated by friends and family of someone with Alzheimer’s. This disease impacts 518,000 family caregivers each year, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. With 3,771 annual deaths from Alzheimer’s in Michigan, it is the 6th leading cause of death in the state.

Similar to assisted living, memory care facilities provide a safe and stable residential environment for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These individuals can participate in activities and specialized programs for those with memory afflictions. In Michigan, memory care units are often found in larger homes for the aged, serving at least 20 residents at a time. Every unit that advertises memory care must provide documents that describe the level of care provided and how it is tailored to meet the needs of residents with dementia. Some examples of dementia-specific care might include: additional security to prevent wandering, multisensory therapy, brain fitness classes and physical fitness sessions modified for memory care residents.

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

Keep reading for more information about memory care in Michigan, including a general look at care costs, financial assistance programs, free senior resources and regulations governing homes for the aged.

The Cost of Memory Care in Michigan

Memory care is most often provided in a secured wing in a large facility. There may be some smaller adult foster care residences that specialize in memory care that are more intimate and homelike. Regardless of the setting, memory care typically costs 20-30% more than standard assisted living. Some factors that affect pricing include additional security needed to keep seniors safe and on the property as well as specialized training for staff to de-escalate and minimize anxiety. Location and services often play a major role in expected costs.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

Memory care in Michigan is fairly affordable, according to Genworth Financial’s Cost of Care Survey for 2019. At an average of $5,000 per month, it is $64 less than the national average. Neighboring states are all a bit more expensive than Michigan, with Wisconsin at the top of the price range at $5,438 per month — $438 more than Michigan. Indiana is Michigan’s most affordable neighbor at an average cost of $5,125 while Illinois is not far behind at $5,213. Ohio is up there with Wisconsin, being $424 more expensive than Michigan.

$5000

Michigan

$5064

National

$5438

Wisconsin

$5213

Illinois

$5125

Indiana

$5424

Ohio

Cost of Other Types of Care in Michigan

Memory care is the most expensive residential care option for seniors in Michigan. With a monthly cost of $5,000, only skilled nursing care is more expensive at $8,373 per month on average. In memory care facilities, seniors socialize, participate in regular activities and have some personal autonomy. In a nursing home, activities are limited, but health care services are provided at a much higher level.

Seniors with dementia often don’t qualify for traditional assisted living due to their expanded need for care. Standard assisted living averages at about $4,000 per month, while memory care is substantially higher. In-home and home health care options are both less expensive than memory care, but more expensive than assisted living. In-home care averages $4,385, while home health care typically costs $4,481 per month. Adult day care, typically offered only during weekdays, is one of the more affordable options at $1,685.

$5000

Memory Care

$4385

In-Home Care

$4481

Home Health Care

$1685

Adult Day Care

$4000

Assisted Living Facility

$8373

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in Michigan’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across Michigan

Michigan’s memory care costs can vary by more than $1,800, depending on location. Cities in the eastern portion of the state tend to be more expensive than northern and western cities. For example, Ann Arbor is the most expensive city for memory care at $6,311, while Kalamazoo is one of the least expensive at $4,500. Lansing, a city in the middle of the state, is right at the average of $5,000 per month. Midland, Grand Rapids and Flint are all within $500 of the state median, while Detroit’s costs are at the high end at $5,781 per month.

$6311

Ann Arbor

$5781

Detroit

$5469

Flint

$5300

Grand Rapids

$4500

Kalamazoo

$5000

Lansing

$5250

Midland

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in Michigan

Michigan Choice Waiver Program

The Michigan Choice Waiver Program is designed to help seniors delay or avoid placement in a nursing home. While the program is often used to finance in-home supports, it can also be used for some assisted living costs. Typically, Medicaid waivers do not pay room and board, but this waiver does pay for personal care costs and may be used to offset additional services offered in memory care settings. This program is only available to low- and moderate-income seniors who lack the financial resources to pay for memory care directly.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility for the Michigan Choice Waiver Program starts at age 65 and has income and asset restrictions. An individual must earn no more than $2,349 per month, and all applicants are counted as individuals. When counting assets, an individual may have no more than $2,000 in countable resources, while a married couple is limited to $3,000 in total. In addition to the financial eligibility requirements, seniors must demonstrate a need for assistance with daily activities. There may be a wait time before a waiver becomes available.

How to Apply
To apply, seniors can contact their local Area Agency on Aging to request an application.

Health Link Program and Waiver

Like the Choice program, the Health Link Program and Waiver offers direct financial assistance with personal care and can be used in a home for the aged or memory care setting. This program acts as a managed care option, combining health and personal care services under a single program. Currently, it is only available in 25 counties across the state. Seniors must be eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid to apply.

Who Is Eligible?
Medicaid and Medicare-eligible seniors qualified for this program will receive a notification in the mail. Seniors can’t receive hospice care at the same time as Health Link services. Eligibility may be determined at the time of application for Medicaid, and automatic enrollment is possible for seniors who don’t specifically opt-out. Those not enrolled in the Health Link program may still receive the waiver if they are nursing home eligible.

How to Apply
To apply, call MI ENROLLS at 800-975-7630 or visit online for more information.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in Michigan

Statewide programs and local nonprofits in Michigan offer an array of low- or no-cost services to individuals. Seniors with Alzheimer’s or their caregivers can contact these programs for referral services, case management, in-home assistance and other care options.

ResourceContactServices
Alzheimer’s Association


(800) 272-3900The Alzheimer’s Association has a local chapter in Michigan that helps connect seniors and their caregivers with local services throughout the state. The national organization operates a 24-hour helpline and provides free educational resources through its online library.
Michigan Association of Senior Centers


(248) 505-8228Senior centers throughout Michigan offer a safe place for elderly residents to gather, socialize and access information about programs available to support senior living. The Michigan Association of Senior Centers maintains a list of all senior centers throughout the state, and it works with administrative staff to improve visibility and expand program offerings. Many senior centers also act as dining hubs and serve meals with advance notice.
Medicare Medicaid Assistance Program (MMAP)


(800) 815-1112Operated by The Senior Alliance, this program uses experienced counselors to help seniors better understand their options for health care and find financial assistance for other services.
Michigan Alzheimer’s Disease Center


(734) 936-8803Operated by Johns Hopkins Hospital, the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center operates several clinics. It enrolls current patients in a variety of on-going research opportunities designed to develop more effective treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and works toward preventing onset.
Lakeshore Legal Aid


(888) 783-8190Lakeshore Legal Aid is a not-for-profit law firm that offers free and low-cost legal services to seniors throughout Michigan. The legal helpline is operational on weekdays with limited hours and online 24/7.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in Michigan

The Department of Human Services is the regulatory body that controls licensing for Michigan homes for the aged, commonly referred to as assisted living facilities, and adult foster care facilities. Homes for the aged must meet specific requirements for care and services in each facility.

Scope of CareIn a home for the aged with a memory care wing, the facility must provide a detailed description of how the facility is designed to accommodate dementia patients. It must also list services provided and any fees specific to the memory care wing, along with a calendar that shows the frequency of events and activities offered to residents.
Care PlansBefore admission, homes for the aged must provide a document that describes their care planning process and its admission and discharge criteria for all incoming residents in the memory care wing. It must also work with incoming residents to design a care plan that identifies care needs for the individual. Care plans must be updated annually or after a significant change in health.
Medication ManagementHomes for the aged are required to provide medication management services, including reminders and administering medications. Staff must be trained to administer medications.
StaffingThere are no minimum staff ratios required, but all homes for the aged must have an administrator and resident care supervisor listed in addition to direct care staff. The care supervisor must be awake and aware during shifts, and there should be one assigned to all shifts.
Medicaid CoverageMichigan has two Medicaid waiver programs that may pay some of the costs of assisted living, though room and board is typically not included. Financial eligibility limitations apply and there may be extended wait times before enrollment.
Reporting AbuseAnyone can report abuse by contacting Adult Protective Services at 855-444-3911. For residents in a home for the aged, the long term care ombudsman can be reached by phone at 866-485-9393

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Memory Care cost in Michigan?

The average cost of memory care in Michigan is $5,000 per month. Costs can vary based on location and service offerings, but most Michigan seniors can expect to pay anywhere from $4,500 to $6,300 per month.

Does Medical Assistance pay for Memory Care?

In Michigan, the state Medicaid program is also referred to as Medical Assistance. Two waiver programs, Michigan Choice and Health Link, may pay for some of the expenses of memory care. Some waivers may only be available in specific counties, and there may be a wait time before enrollment. For more information about these programs, contact a local Area Agency on Aging.

What are Activities of Daily Living?

Living safely and comfortably at home or in an independent living environment means performing everyday personal tasks, such as preparing meals, getting dressed and showering, often referred to as the activities of daily living (ADL).

What is the difference between Memory Care and Assisted Living?

Memory care is also assisted living but with a higher level of care and more security. Both types of senior care offer residential support, meal preparation, housekeeping and personal care services. However, memory care entrances and exits are usually secured, seniors wear pendants and staff monitor their movements to ensure residents stay out of dangerous areas while unmonitored.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

Many memory care wings advertise the use of WanderGuard technology to ensure residents stay on the property, secured entry to the memory care wing and the use of wearable pendants for emergency alerts.