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Aging in Your Comfort Zone: MI Choice Program Helps Seniors Thrive At Home

Seniors and people with disabilities who face challenges living in their homes often feel they want to do whatever is possible to stay in their comfort zone. They want to stay at home, living as independently as possible.

A 2018 AARP study found that 76% of Americans age 50-plus say they prefer to remain in their own residence as they age. A Medicaid-funded program, the MI Choice Community Waiver, helps bring care into the home so people can do just that.

“It’s designed to be an alternative to a nursing home,” said Maggie Ouellette, director of clinical operations for the Area Agency on Aging 1-B, one of five organizations providing MI Choice in southeast Michigan. “The program can bring a wide range of services into the home.”

MI Choice helps with tasks like bathing, toileting, personal hygiene, getting dressed, meal preparation, transportation, adult day services and more. “We work with people to understand their needs and then build a comprehensive plan of care around those needs,” Ouellette said.

Open to those 65 or older, or those 18 and older who have a disability, there are also financial eligibility requirements and participants must require a nursing home level of care. With waitlists, some servicing organizations may take up to several months to begin service.

The participant has to have less than $2,382 in monthly income and less than $2,000 in assets. Ouellette said computing this can be complex. “Some types of assets are not counted as part of the $2,000 allowed. Your home and car won’t be counted, and neither will personal items, like jewelry.”

Since being married impacts how assets are counted, Ouellette encourages people to call the waiver agent serving their area to see if their circumstances qualify.

The program is funded by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Organizations offering MI Choice in southeast Michigan:

Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties Area Agency on Aging 1-B 800.852.7795 or

MORC, Inc. 866.593.7413 or

Wayne County Detroit Area Agency on Aging 313.446.4444 or (Serves Detroit, Hamtramck, Harper Woods, Highland Park and the Grosse Pointes)

Western Wayne County The Information Center 734.282.7171 or

The Senior Alliance 800.815.1112 or

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