Learn about Michigan’s Assisted Living Regulations

Learn about Michigan’s Assisted Living Regulations

Return to, or visit our Michigan Assisted Living section

One of the most important things to understand about assisted living is that it is regulated mostly on the State level, not on the Federal level, and each state’s laws, statutes and regulations can vary significantly from state-to-state.

The variations can also include how each state defines assisted living, as well as the label ‘assisted living’ itself.

Michigan does not officially recognize, or use the term ‘assisted living.’  

Instead, it most heavily uses the term ‘Adult Foster Care Facility’ which includes homes and facilities that provide traditional assisted living services.  Another widely-used term is ‘Homes for the Aged.’

Assisted Living is really only used by facilities as a promotional term and in marketing materials.

Who regulates assisted living, or Adult Foster Care in Michigan?

This title goes to the Michigan Department of Human Services, and their Bureau of Children and Adult Licensing (Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, or LARA).


The LARA site looks like this:

LARA of Michigan

This department, and their associated website, offers some very helpful tools and resources to both providers and consumers.

First, there’s a section for the general public with a handful of sections including:

  •  What needs to be licensed
  • Who needs Adult Foster Care
  •  A search tool, and database with the State’s Adult Foster Care (Assisted Living) homes.

The search tool looks like this:

AFC data MI

I recommend, especially for seniors, families and caregivers who might be researching assisted living in Michigan, to spend some time in the search database.  It’s a great way to learn about care options on the city, county and facility-name level statewide.

There is also a clickable map that allows users to narrow down their search by county, in a visual format.

Selecting a facility brings up incredibly useful data about the facility including”

  • Facility name, address and contacts
  • License Status
  • Licensee Information
  • License Information, including Capacity, Facility Type, License Effective Date and Expiration Date, and the License Number
  • Services Offered, including Aged, Alzheimer’s and Developmentally Disabled

Down below, you’ll see a ‘Reports Available’ section that offers any licensing inspections or events, as well as facility investigations, with any violations, complaints or issues included in the report.

The LARA site also provides a great number of documents, worksheets, tutorials and assistance for applicants of of assisted living (Adult Foster Care) homes and a section for Licensees.   

Licensees have access to onsite inspections worksheets, resident forms and more.

Where Can I View Michigan’s Assisted Living / Adult Foster Care Regulations and Statutes?

First, you can access (and save, or print) the Licensing Rules for Homes for the Aged, which is a 24+ page document in PDF format.


  • This document covers:
  • General Provisions
  • State Administration
  • Administrative Management of Homes
  • Resident Care
  • Records
  • Food Service
  • Buildings and Grounds
  • and Emergency Procedures

Another important document is the Public Health Code (Excerpt) act 368 of 1978


This is a Public Health Code document which includes some essential information regarding Health Care Facilities in Michigan including:

  • Definitions, and Meanings of words and phrases, which includes a definition for “Home for the Aged” and Intermediate Care Facility, Nursing Home and many others.
  • Fees and assessments for health facility and agency licenses, which includes
  • License/Licensure rules and statutes

and much more.

An example definition from the PHC document:

Homes for the Aged definition

This document is long, and fortunately may be saved and printed so you can spend appropriate time internalizing the material.

Additional helpful pages and documents include:

A Licensing Rules and Statutes section for Adult Foster Care Group Homes, Homes for the Aged, and Adult Foster Care Family Homes with additional rules and licensing documents.


These documents, sites and resources can help seniors and residents of assisted living, or Adult Foster Care facilities in Michigan to understand their rights, and what to expect from the care they are receiving.

Additionally, these rules and regulations should provide a framework for how owners, administrators and staff should manage and operate a Home for the Aged on a day-to-day basis.

Lastly, Michigan’s assisted living regulations should provide direction to anyone wishing to open their own senior care home in Michigan, and should give them an idea of the time, and commitment involved towards ensuring a safe environment for their potential future residents.


2 thoughts on “Learn about Michigan’s Assisted Living Regulations

  1. Barbara Acker

    My mom is in an assisted living. I feel it is under staffed. What is the ratio between seniors and caregivers by law?

  2. daniel

    Hi Barbara,

    The ratio between seniors and caregivers is usually regulated by each state. Here is a good resource straight from Michigan’s government site – https://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(dn1kgxdevtubixnknm4zcwjr))/mileg.aspx?page=getObject&objectName=mcl-333-21720a.

    According to their website, Section 333.21720a dictates that, “The ratio of patients to nursing care personnel during a morning shift shall not exceed 8 patients to 1 nursing care personnel; the ratio of patients to nursing care personnel during an afternoon shift shall not exceed 12 patients to 1 nursing care personnel; and the ratio of patients to nursing care personnel during a nighttime shift shall not exceed 15 patients to 1 nursing care personnel and there shall be sufficient nursing care personnel available on duty to assure coverage for patients at all times during the shift.”

    Granted this law describes staffing requirements for nursing homes, not assisted living facilities. The assisted living regulations are a bit hard to find, I would suggest giving them a call at their help number (877) 932-6424.

    Hope this helps 🙂