About Us

Owned and operated by Esther Nederhood, RN CDP, who has planned and dreamed of offering retirement living in a peaceful and beautiful setting. Working in a nursing career for 33 years, Esther has worked with senior citizens and saw a need for high quality retirement living, in an environment that places the tenant’s emotional and physical needs as top priority.

Belle Oakes Living Center is located halfway between the vibrant communities of Cadillac and Lake City, Michigan. The area is well known for it’s recreational opportunities, hospitality and beauty year round.

The retirement living residences at Belle Oakes Living Center is the first phase of the center’s development. Our second phase, an expansion of our existing facility is in progress Plans are in progress for a third, and fourth phase for the Center. Opened in 2003, suites are currently available for occupancy.

Our Executive Director, Marianne Meekhof, is a Certified Assisted Living Director (CALD). Her wealth of experience, dedication and knowledge is an asset you can see and feel throughout the building and her well trained staff.

What is Retirement Living?

Belle Oakes Retirement Living is a unique housing environmenty designed to promote the highest level of independence for the tenants of Belle Oakes Living Center. In addition, personal care services can be obtained from local Home Healthcare Agencies and we can assist you to obtain those outside services.

Facilities are available for visiting professionals. Contact us to discuss any individual needs and services by calling our office at 231-779-4671 and ask for Marianne Meekhof.

Esther Nederhood, RN CDP/Owner

“As I have worked with senior citizens, I have found that their environment plays a major role in their ability to enjoy their retirement years that they have worked so hard for.
Belle Oakes Living Center is my commitment to creating and maintaining a community where each tenant becomes a part of my own family. My desire is for every member of our community to feel they have many things to contribute, to our family and theirs while living in a stress free, dignified and loving environment.”

Marianne Vander Meulen, Executive Director CALD CDP

“As Administrator of Belle Oakes Living Center, my purpose is to assist Esther in realizing her vision for all of our Tenants and their families.     With my expertise in Business Administration along with a love for people of all ages, I have been able to assist our tenants and their families, at a very difficult time in their lives, as a trusted advisor and sounding board.  I have been raised in a strong Christian environment which has taught me to love and care for others as though they are my own family and Belle Oakes has become an extension of my own family.   My commitment to Esther’s vision is to continue to assist everyone with whom I meet to have the “best years of their last years” at Belle Oakes Living Center.

Recent Awards


The AHCA/NCAL National Quality Award Program provides a pathway for retirement communities to journey towards performance excellence. The program is based on the core values and criteria of the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program

The Quality Award program has three progressive step levels. Applications are judged by trained Examiners who provide feedback on opportunities for improvement to support continuous learning. Facilities must achieve an award at each level to progress to the next level.

In 2012, Belle Oakes received the Bronze Quality Award – Commitment to Quality for demonstrating our commitment to quality and demonstrating our strive for continual development and improvement. This sprang from our vision and became our mission – our commitment to quality.

We were honored to be one of the few recipients of this fine award and continue our path towards the silver award in 2014, continuing our achivements, born from a strong and encompasing commitment to quality.


In Michigan, MCAL’s Quality Standard Seals for Levels of Best Practice is an opportunity for member communities to strive for operational excellence. Since it’s beginning in 2003, close to 50 homes in Michigan have made a commitment to the Quality Seal process. More than 20 of these homes have progressed to the top level – Level 3.

Belle Oakes has been a recipient of MCAL’s Quality Standard Seals of Best Practice for the past two years, since we first applied in 2012. We are committed to reaching the highest levels of best practices, Level 3, each year going forward.

Of those homes that have achieved top honors from MCAL, approximately 10 have gone on to commit to the National Quality Process. Belle Oakes Living Center is among those 10, winning our National Bronze award in 2012.