Situated on 160 acres, Pinecrest Farms is Midland County’s oldest assisted living community. However, it is unlike any assisted living community you may have seen before.
An eight minute drive from downtown Midland takes you to Pinecrest Farms. It’s located on North Homer Road, north of M-20. Not only is Pinecrest Farms surrounded by farmland, but the residents are greeted daily by surrounding wildlife.
A large gaggle of geese swim in a large pond at Pinecrest Farms in Midland.
Driving up the long driveway to the building, you may be greeted by wildlife including geese, seagulls, and cranes bathing themselves in the pond or relaxing on the grass. The pond on the property boasts opportunities for the residents to fish, and you will often come across the residents enjoying a bike ride along the drive, or a golf cart ride on the property.
Established in 1865 as Midland County’s ‘poor farm’, Pinecrest Farms housed the county’s ‘poor and unfortunate’. In the early 1900s, county infirmaries were established in multiple counties around the state and throughout the country. County ‘poor farms’ or infirmaries were created by community members to take care of one another, specifically for older individuals with developmental disabilities. However, due to the lack of understanding about the scope of care needed for individuals with physical and mental handicaps, these county infirmaries often had a negative reputation, and the residents were treated like prisoners and patients rather than the unique individuals that they are. Thankfully our understanding, as a society, has improved.
Pinecrest Farms Administrator Kory Priest, right, chats with Pinecrest resident Suzie Rutledge.
As of today, Midland is only one of two remaining county infirmaries in Michigan, the other being located in Monroe County. Pinecrest Farms is likened to a cross between assisted living and Adult Foster Care (AFC), Administrator Kory Priest says, “Pinecrest is a licensed county infirmary and operates under an Adult Foster Care licensing that allows us to provide care to a greater population of individuals compared to an assisted living facility”.
In 2008, bonds were issued by Midland County
to finance a new building on the Pinecrest Farms property. In the bond proposal, voted on and passed by Midland County residents, Pinecrest Farms was described as ‘serving a population of frail, elderly, developmentally disabled and mentally ill clients. These clients are independent, and generally require only minor assistance or supervision of most activities of daily life. They do not meet the criteria requiring daily nursing services such as those provided in a Nursing Home or Hospital environment.’
Under the direction and oversight of DHHS, and a Board of Directors made up of Midland County residents, Pinecrest Farms is funded by a county wide millage and generous donations from community members and organizations. Due to the nature of their funding by the community, Pinecrest Farms is able to maintain a low cost, income based fee for the clients who live there. Priest says, “We do have monthly rates. However, since we are nonprofit and funded by a millage, we have the ability to determine rates according to income as well”.
Julie Dilts assists Jim Harner, a resident, while he uses an exercise bike.
Private and semi-private rooms are available, along with several amenities making living at Pinecrest Farms a comfortable community setting. 24 hour nursing staff is on hand to assist with medication disbursement and other minor medical needs that may arise. Three home cooked meals, snacks, a barber shop and beauty shop, exercise classes, crafts, activities, and laundry service are enjoyed by Pinecrest Farms residents. “Our residents need to be independently ambulatory, use a walker/cane without assistance or be able to self-propel a wheelchair and they need to be able to transfer themselves from a bed into a chair”, says Priest.
In 2021, an expansion and improvements to the building were completed. This expansion awarded the residents with a multi-purpose room where they can enjoy numerous activities with each other, family members, and community volunteers such as crafts, music, card games, movies, and exercise.
Community groups and services such as Creative 360, MSU Extension, Arnold Center, and many volunteer civic groups help to enrich the lives of those who reside at Pinecrest Farms. The community outings and activities that Pinecrest Farms residents participate in, such as trips to Dow Gardens, Great Lakes Loons games, and the Chippewa Nature Center help to incorporate this vulnerable demographic into our greater community. Priest says, “We encourage community involvement and interaction as often as possible. Some of our residents continue to work at the Arnold Center, attend art classes at Creative 360 and many have participated in nutrition classes through the MSU Extension Office”.
Volunteers are welcome to bring crafts, music, and other life enrichment programs to the residents. Current needs are coloring books, crafts, and personal care items. To learn more, visit co.midland.mi.us/PinecrestFarms
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