Of California’s nearly 40 million residents, those aged 65 and over account for just under 15% of the population. Over the coming years, that community is projected to grow significantly and is expected to account for 19% of the population in 2030, resulting in an increased need for accessible care. To that end, the state is home to top hospitals such as UCLA Medical Center, which is nationally ranked in over a dozen specialties and conditions, and Stanford Hospital, which has national rankings in 11 specialties.

The state also has numerous home care agencies, which provide basic homemaker services, and home health care providers, which administer specialized skilled nursing services. Both levels of care cost $6,101 per month, though your fees may be higher or lower depending on your care needs. 

This guide provides more information on what seniors in California pay for care, including how rates vary in communities throughout the state and compared to other long-term care options. It also gives an overview of ways to pay for services, free and low-cost services that help seniors age in place and current laws and regulations that govern in-home care agencies in California.  

The Cost of In-Home Care in California

According to data published in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey, California residents typically pay $6,101 per month for home care, which is over $1,000 higher than the national median rate of $4,957. In Oregon, monthly costs are comparable at $6,006, but in Arizona and Nevada, agencies charge lower monthly rates of $5,339 and $5,148.  

$6101

California

$4957

The United States

$6006

Oregon

$5148

Nevada

$5339

Arizona

Where you live in California significantly influences what you pay for home care. The cheapest city to obtain in-home services is El Centro, where monthly fees average $3,432. In Visalia, residents pay $5,339, and in Chico and Vallejo, costs are closer to the state median at $5,720 and $5,958, respectively. In California’s capital city of Sacramento, seniors pay $6,292 for care. Santa Cruz and San Luis Obispo are the most expensive places in California to obtain in-home care, with residents paying respective rates of $6,864 and $7,150 per month.  

$5720

Chico

$6292

Sacramento

$5958

Vallejo

$6864

Santa Cruz

$5339

Visalia

$7150

San Luis Obispo

$3432

El Centro

Depending on the level of care you obtain and the setting you live in, long-term care costs in California range from less than $2,000 to close to $10,000. The cheapest care option is adult day health care at $1,842 per month and is for those who want to live at home and access personal care, meals and recreational activities in a daytime community setting. Assisted living provides these services along with housing for $5,250 per month. In-home care and home health care cost $6,101 per month, and nursing home care is the costliest option in the state at $9,794.  

$6101

In-Home Care

$6101

Home Health Care

$1842

Adult Day Health Care

$5250

Assisted Living

$9794

Nursing Home Care

Does Medicaid Cover Home Care in California?

Seniors in California may be able to cover in-home care and home health care through Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid managed care program. This program pays for medically necessary outpatient care, emergency services and hospitalization, rehabilitative services, laboratory services, preventative care and prescription drugs, as well as home health care to help beneficiaries avoid nursing home placement.

The regular Medi-Cal program doesn’t have coverage for basic in-home services such as meal preparation and help with daily living activities, but it has provisions for these services under several waivers and programs, including the In-Home Support Services Program, the Multipurpose Senior Services Program Waiver, the Home and Community-Based Alternatives Waiver and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. Unlike regular Medi-Cal, these programs have enrollment caps, and eligible applicants may be placed on a wait list.  

Home Care Waiver Programs in California  

Numerous Medi-Cal programs and waivers cover home care services, letting older adults with limited budgets obtain personalized care. Each program has its own rules, but in general, applicants must meet Medi-Cal’s financial and functional need guidelines to be eligible for services. Additionally, you may only be enrolled in one program at a time. 

Contact
Area Served
Services Provided

866-376-7066

Statewide

IHSS provides in-home care to seniors and those with disabilities as an alternative to residential community-based or institutionalized care. To determine the services an individual qualifies for, county social workers conduct assessments during home visits. Services the participant may receive include light housekeeping, laundry services, meal planning and preparation, grocery shopping and personal care. Applicants must be at least 65 years old and eligible for Medi-Cal to obtain services. To find out more or to fill out an application, visit your local IHSS office. 

800-300-1506

46 counties

The MSSP Waiver provides in-home care to those aged 65 and over who qualify for nursing home placement. It’s dually managed by the Department of Health Services and the state’s Department of Aging and provides a broad array of services, including protective supervision, money management, personal care, home accessibility adaptations and chore services, depending on the individual’s needs. To qualify, individuals must qualify for Medi-Cal and live in an MSSP service area. To apply, seniors should contact their county office

833-388-4551

Statewide

The HCBA Waiver provides transition services and in-home care to older adults who currently reside in a nursing home but want to move back into their own homes. A care management team comprised of a social worker and a nurse determines the services an individual needs to live at home safely and comfortably. The individual can obtain services in a home they rent or own or in the home of a family member. To get more information on the services available as well as the application process, seniors should email HCBAlternatives@dhcs.ca.gov. 

916-713-8444

PACE is a program administered jointly by Medicare and Medicaid and provides comprehensive health, medical and social services to those aged 55 and over who are eligible for nursing home level care but want to live in their own homes. Through this program, seniors obtain services such as light housework, personal care, physical and occupational therapy and meal preparation, depending on their identified needs. Currently, California has 33 PACE service areas in which applicants must live to qualify for services. For more information, call the California Department of Health Care Services or email the program at PACE@dhcs.ca.gov. 

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in California 

To be eligible for Medi-Cal, your income and assets must be within the program’s guidelines. Single applicants can have an annual income of up to $18,768, and married applicants can have household incomes up to $25,272. Single applicants are allotted $2,000 in countable assets, and those who are married may have up to $3,000.  

2022 Medicaid Income Limits for Seniors in California  

Income Limits*
Asset Limits

Single Person

$18,768

$2,000

Two-Person Household

$25,272

$3,000

*Per year 

Seniors must also meet a few other eligibility guidelines to apply for services. To qualify, you must be: 

  • A U.S. citizen or legal resident 
  • A permanent resident of California 
  • At least 65 years old 

How to Apply for Medicaid in California 

To apply for Medi-Cal, you can apply over the phone or in-person at your local county social services office, or you can mail the office a completed Single Streamlined Application. Alternately, you can apply online through www.CoveredCA.com.  

What Information You Will Need 

Having certain documents on hand before beginning the application process can help ensure a quick decision. Pieces of information you may need to provide include: 

  • Your birth certificate 
  • A state-issued ID, such as a driver’s license 
  • Proof of all income and assets 
  • Proof of U.S. citizenship or legal residence 
  • Proof of other insurance coverage, such as Medicare or TRICARE 
  • Proof of home address 

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid 

There are numerous resources in California to help seniors get the information and advice they need to apply for Medicaid, understand their benefits and navigate the process of finding covered in-home care services.  

Contact
Area Served
Services Provided

855-324-3147

Statewide

Certified Enrollment Counselors provide free assistance with submitting Medi-Cal applications, choosing the best managed care program and enrolling in waivers and programs that may pay for in-home and home health care services. 

888-452-8609

Statewide

The program’s dedicated ombudsman provides free, unbiased information and assistance with obtaining Medi-Cal coverage and resolving issues regarding benefits. The ombudsman can answer your questions about the enrollment process and covered services and help you find solutions to problems with your coverage.

800-952-5253

Statewide

If a beneficiary's coverage is canceled or modified, they have the right to file a hearing request with the California Department of Social Services, State Hearings Division, within 90 days. This resource provides more information on the process along with important contact information.

Does Medicare Cover In-Home Care in California?

In general, Medicare does not cover the cost of non-medical home care. That being said, there are situations in which Medicare provides some coverage for medical home care, referred to as “Home Healthcare.” There are several eligibility restrictions for coverage, including that individuals must be homebound and have a referral from their doctor specifically for home healthcare services.

Below is an overview of some of the skilled medical professionals whose in-home services are typically covered by Medicare – for more in-depth information, refer to our Guide to Home Healthcare.

  • Physical Therapists: Physical therapy is used to help patients recover from injuries (broken bones, knee injuries, etc.), treat ongoing conditions such as arthritis, and assist in recovery from surgeries and procedures such as a knee or hip replacement.
  • Visiting Nurses: Licensed nurses can provide a number of medical services for those who don’t need to stay in the hospital, but do need regular medical services such as wound care, changing feeding tubes, etc.
  • Occupational Therapists: Occupational therapists help seniors regain or maintain the ability to accomplish normal, daily tasks, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and other daily activities.
  • Speech Therapists: Speech therapists help seniors who are struggling to adequately communicate due to a stroke, dementia, or any other cause regain the ability to functionally communicate using a variety of means. Additionally, speech therapists help to keep seniors independent by modifying diets, teaching special techniques to swallow safely, and retraining associated muscles.

As mentioned above, in-home care is distinctly different from home healthcare. But, there can be some overlap in services between the two types of care. So, while Medicare doesn’t cover non-medical in-home care, there are in-home care services that may be covered in special circumstances when they’re provided in conjunction with home healthcare (such as an occupational therapist helping with eating or dressing)

Other Financial Assistance Options for In-Home Care in California

While the above programs help many people finance in-home care, they will not cover all costs for everyone. There are other ways to pay for in-home care, including out-of-pocket arrangements with siblings, annuities, reverse mortgages, private insurance and more. Read Caring.com’s Guide to In-Home Care Costs to learn more about these alternative payment options.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in California

Finding the best home-based care solutions for your needs can be a confusing process, but fortunately, several agencies and programs throughout the state are ready to help. The following table highlights useful resources for older adults whether they want to remain in their homes or transition back after a hospital or nursing home stay.  

Contact
Area Served
Services Provided

800-510-2020

Statewide

Thirty-three Area Agencies on Aging serve those aged 60 and over in California, each with its own designated area. These agencies provide information and referrals for community-based services such as non-emergency medical transportation, home-delivered and congregate meals and legal and financial counseling. Agencies may also offer in-home care and home health care services directly or through contracted providers for competitive rates. 

800-952-5626

Statewide

The California Department of Veterans Affairs has benefits counselors at county offices throughout the state that are trained to help veterans and their dependents obtain state and federal benefits, including those that may cover in-home care costs. The office can also screen visitors for eligibility for health insurance, VA medical care and transportation services. 

916-443-1721

Statewide

CalCAPA supports Community Action Agencies throughout California, providing access to services and programs that help older adults maintain their independence at home. Through your local CAA, you can access programs and services such as home modifications, weatherization services, emergency utility bill assistance and home-delivered meals. 

Statewide

The Meals on Wheels program supports the nutritional needs of those who are housebound due to age or disability by providing fresh and frozen meals. Generally speaking, this service is available to those unable to shop for or prepare meals themselves. Your local provider may have additional eligibility requirements.

800-399-4529

Los Angeles County

Those in the Los Angeles region may obtain free legal assistance, advice and representation through the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. This nonprofit agency has legal professionals who help older adults apply for public benefits that may help offset home-based care expenses, as well as resolve issues such as Social Security overpayment. Those outside the Los Angeles area may contact the State Bar of California to find services in their areas. 

800-952-5661

Statewide

The California Property Tax Postponement Program enables older adults to delay payment on their property taxes, which may help them afford living and long-term care expenses. Through the program, participants with sufficient equity in their homes can delay paying property taxes until certain conditions are met, such as taking out a reverse mortgage or selling the property.

2-1-1

Statewide

California 2-1-1 is a statewide information and referral service available to all state residents. Through this free service, you can connect with providers in your area that offer free and low-cost programs such as emergency bill pay, prescription drug assistance, chore services and volunteer-based transportation.

COVID-19 Rules for In-Home Care Providers in California

Home care and home health care staff who provide direct services are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and caregivers who contract COVID must receive a booster shot within 90 days of infection. Currently, there are no requirements for masks. 

These guidelines are valid as of April 2022 but may evolve in response to new variants and infection rate trends. Your local Area Agency on Aging or your county’s health department may have updated information. Additionally, in some cases, home care agencies have requirements beyond what the state mandates to keep caregivers and clients safe. Contact home care agencies in your area for specific details on the protocol they follow for preventing and managing infections. 

In-Home Care Laws and Regulations in California

Home care organizations in the state of California are regulated by the Department of Social Services’ Home Care Services Bureau. The HCSB oversees the licensing of HCOs and maintains an online registry of home care aides. Bureau staff also carry out unannounced on-site visits to ensure regulation compliance and investigate complaints. The following table provides an overview of home care rules and regulations in California.

Contact
Area Served
Services Provided

800-510-2020

Statewide

Thirty-three Area Agencies on Aging serve those aged 60 and over in California, each with its own designated area. These agencies provide information and referrals for community-based services such as non-emergency medical transportation, home-delivered and congregate meals and legal and financial counseling. Agencies may also offer in-home care and home health care services directly or through contracted providers for competitive rates. 

800-952-5626

Statewide

The California Department of Veterans Affairs has benefits counselors at county offices throughout the state that are trained to help veterans and their dependents obtain state and federal benefits, including those that may cover in-home care costs. The office can also screen visitors for eligibility for health insurance, VA medical care and transportation services. 

916-443-1721

Statewide

CalCAPA supports Community Action Agencies throughout California, providing access to services and programs that help older adults maintain their independence at home. Through your local CAA, you can access programs and services such as home modifications, weatherization services, emergency utility bill assistance and home-delivered meals. 

Statewide

The Meals on Wheels program supports the nutritional needs of those who are housebound due to age or disability by providing fresh and frozen meals. Generally speaking, this service is available to those unable to shop for or prepare meals themselves. Your local provider may have additional eligibility requirements.

800-399-4529

Los Angeles County

Those in the Los Angeles region may obtain free legal assistance, advice and representation through the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles. This nonprofit agency has legal professionals who help older adults apply for public benefits that may help offset home-based care expenses, as well as resolve issues such as Social Security overpayment. Those outside the Los Angeles area may contact the State Bar of California to find services in their areas. 

800-952-5661

Statewide

The California Property Tax Postponement Program enables older adults to delay payment on their property taxes, which may help them afford living and long-term care expenses. Through the program, participants with sufficient equity in their homes can delay paying property taxes until certain conditions are met, such as taking out a reverse mortgage or selling the property.

2-1-1

Statewide

California 2-1-1 is a statewide information and referral service available to all state residents. Through this free service, you can connect with providers in your area that offer free and low-cost programs such as emergency bill pay, prescription drug assistance, chore services and volunteer-based transportation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does California Medicaid Pay for In-Home Care?

The Medicaid program in California, Medi-Cal, currently has three programs in effect that cover the cost of in-home care and various related services for those who qualify. Seniors seeking assistance through these programs must meet specific financial and functional eligibility guidelines. While one, the In-Home Supportive Services program, is a Medi-Cal entitlement and available to all who apply, the Multipurpose Senior Services and Home and Community-Based Alternatives programs are waivers that limit the number of participants, so seniors may be placed on a waiting list after applying.

Are There Programs to Cover Home Modifications in California?

The Home and Community Services program is available to eligible California seniors who need help paying for home modifications that can allow them to age in place. Along with accessibility upgrades, this program offers a number of other services that may help seniors maintain their independence. The services available vary by area, so interested individuals should contact the Area Agency on Aging in their locale to learn if home modification assistance is offered and how to apply.

Are There Transportation Assistance Programs in California?

The California Department of Aging funds transportation programs throughout the state. The services are implemented at the county level through local Area Agencies on Aging, and generally offer nonemergency medical transportation to doctor appointments, health care and social service agencies, as well as for necessities, such as grocery shopping. Seniors may call 800-510-2020 to contact their Area Agency on Aging to learn about eligibility, the application process and scheduling service.

Does Medicare Pay for In-Home Care?

Medicare pays for care at home for eligible beneficiaries who are under a doctor’s care while recovering from surgery, hospital stay, injury or illness. Services, such as periodic skilled nursing care, short-term home health aide assistance and intermittent physical or occupational therapy sessions, are covered. Medicare does not pay for around-the-clock at-home care, daily help with personal care needs, such as bathing or dressing, homemaker services or home-delivered meals.

What Types of Services Does a Home Care Aide Provide?

Registered home care aides in California provide a wide range of nonmedical services that may help a senior remain living independently at home. These services may include assisting with activities of daily living and personal care, planning meals, cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, providing companionship and helping with grocery shopping or running errands. Home care aides may also remind a senior about taking medication, but they cannot administer medication or provide medical or nursing care.

How to Find an In-Home Care Provider in California

Whether you are looking for yourself or a loved one, finding a quality home care provider can be a stressful process. When you hire an in-home care aide you’re placing a lot of trust in the hands of the person by inviting them into your home, so you’ll want to be diligent in your search. At Caring.com, we’re here to help – we’ve created a helpful checklist below that can help guide you through the process of both determining your needs and finding a home care agency that will provide the best care possible.

Finding a Home Care Provider Checklist

Find Home Care Agencies Near You

To find quality home care providers near you, simply input the zip code or city where you would like to start your search. We have an extensive directory of home care agencies all across the nation that includes in-depth information about each provider and hundreds of thousands of reviews from seniors and their loved ones.

2019, 2020, 2021, 2022

Right at Home Northwest Houston

9538 Huffmeister Rd, Houston, TX, 77095

He really likes the company. He likes that they help to push him to do what he needs to do to take care of himself, such as taking a shower. They stay in good contact and are very flexible with what … (read more)
He really likes the company. He likes that they help to push him to do what he needs to do to take care of himself, such as taking a shower. They stay in good contact and are very flexible with what … (read more)

2017, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022

Right at Home Galveston

‌1409 39th St, Galveston, TX, 77550

Right at Home could make my life easier by being more flexible with the schedule. I would recommend Right at Home more if they had better communication.
Right at Home could make my life easier by being more flexible with the schedule. I would recommend Right at Home more if they had better communication.

2020, 2021, 2022

At Your Side Home Care – The Woodlands, TX

10200 Grogan’s Mill Rd # 360, The Woodlands, TX, 77380

Our company missions is to Improve the Quality of Life and Level of Independence for every Client and Family receiving our services. Our philosophy is simple – Live Your Best Lift Possible. <p></p> … (read more)
Our company missions is to Improve the Quality of Life and Level of Independence for every Client and Family receiving our services. Our philosophy is simple – Live Your Best Lift Possible. <p></p> … (read more)

2017, 2021, 2022

Life Foundation Home Care

12808 W Airport Blvd, Ste 260L , Sugar Land, TX, 77478

Finding the appropriate home care for your loved ones can be stressful, at Life Foundation Home Care, our award winning team of home care professionals works with the clients to assess their home care … (read more)
Finding the appropriate home care for your loved ones can be stressful, at Life Foundation Home Care, our award winning team of home care professionals works with the clients to assess their home care … (read more)

2017

Right at Home Kingwood

1214 Stonehollow Drive, Suite A, Kingwood, TX, 77339

She is very helpful. They do light cleaning, and she offered to fix meals. They help moving things for me. They work with the VA and got me services quickly.
She is very helpful. They do light cleaning, and she offered to fix meals. They help moving things for me. They work with the VA and got me services quickly.

2022

Home Instead West and Southwest Houston

11201 Richmond Ave, Suite A110, Houston, TX, 77082

Used Home Instead to care for my elderly father after knee replacement surgery. The care giver Carol was great. She was always prompt and entered with a smile. She was very helpful and always asked … (read more)
Used Home Instead to care for my elderly father after knee replacement surgery. The care giver Carol was great. She was always prompt and entered with a smile. She was very helpful and always asked … (read more)

2019, 2020, 2022

Right at Home West Houston and Sugar Land

12808 West Airport Blvd., Suite 316, Sugar Land, TX, 77478

They are very pleasant to be around. The people who come are good.
They are very pleasant to be around. The people who come are good.

2019, 2020, 2022

Home Instead – Houston Northwest, TX

13105 Northwest Fwy, Suite 103, Houston, TX, 77040

The server for "Home Instead" is very punctual and her service is outstanding. She is very attentive to all our needs and requires very little supervision in taking care of us.
The server for "Home Instead" is very punctual and her service is outstanding. She is very attentive to all our needs and requires very little supervision in taking care of us.


Angels Over Us, LLC

8323 Southwest Fwy, Suite 561, Houston, TX, 77074

They have found good people for me. I like that the agency is very friendly.
They have found good people for me. I like that the agency is very friendly.

Home Instead of Houston – Serving Bellaire, Missouri City, and Sugar Land TX

8313 Southwest Fwy, Suite 705 , Houston, TX, 77074

We’ve been using Home Instead of Houston since last year. I like the owner, the staff, and the people they provide. They are very cooperative and very helpful. I just like the way they care. They have … (read more)
We’ve been using Home Instead of Houston since last year. I like the owner, the staff, and the people they provide. They are very cooperative and very helpful. I just like the way they care. They have … (read more)

Kindred at Home – Personal Home Care Assistance – Houston, TX

2600 S. Gessner Road, Suite 320, Houston, TX, 77063

We’re using Kindred at Home. We’re with them for two weeks now. The caregiver’s name is Aileen. She’s been punctual, she keeps Mom very busy, she helps her around the house, and they’ve run errands to … (read more)
We’re using Kindred at Home. We’re with them for two weeks now. The caregiver’s name is Aileen. She’s been punctual, she keeps Mom very busy, she helps her around the house, and they’ve run errands to … (read more)

Always Best Care of Spring & Tomball

20038 Castlegreen Drive, Spring, TX, 77388

Wire hired Always Best Care of Spring &amp; Tomball to help me. They mainly provide assistance with light housekeeping and very minimal help with meal preparation. I hired this agency because they wer … (read more)
Wire hired Always Best Care of Spring &amp; Tomball to help me. They mainly provide assistance with light housekeeping and very minimal help with meal preparation. I hired this agency because they wer … (read more)

Always Best Care of Fort Bend

Three Sugar Creek Center Blvd, Suite 100, Sugar Land, TX, 77478

I hired Always Best Care of Fort Bend because they’re the ones close to me. They’re the ones who responded to me quickly, and they have a good offer. Their work is very good, so my wife is also happy … (read more)
I hired Always Best Care of Fort Bend because they’re the ones close to me. They’re the ones who responded to me quickly, and they have a good offer. Their work is very good, so my wife is also happy … (read more)

Always Best Care of West Houston

9225 Katy Freeway, Suite 112, Houston, TX, 77024

Karena, Roxane and the team of Always Best Care, provide excellent service in a time where quality care is hard to find. I would highly recommend their service if you have a loved one who needs person … (read more)
Karena, Roxane and the team of Always Best Care, provide excellent service in a time where quality care is hard to find. I would highly recommend their service if you have a loved one who needs person … (read more)

SYNERGY HomeCare of Houston

1225 N. Loop West Suite #322, Houston, TX, 77008

Synergy Home Care came to my home to assist with light housekeeping and meal preparation. Brittany was very attentive to all my needs before I moved. The office staff were a joy to deal with.
Synergy Home Care came to my home to assist with light housekeeping and meal preparation. Brittany was very attentive to all my needs before I moved. The office staff were a joy to deal with.

SYNERGY HomeCare North Houston

14425 Torrey Chase Blvd, Houston, TX, 77014

Ms. Margaret and others at Synergy have been most helpful and caring. The caregivers they furnished have been efficient and also caring.
Ms. Margaret and others at Synergy have been most helpful and caring. The caregivers they furnished have been efficient and also caring.

Godly Hearts Home Healthcare Agency

2720 Holly Hall St, Unit C, Houston, TX, 77069

I would like to mention the great service I received from Godly Hearts Home Health Services while recovering from brain surgery. Becky the manager has been always available to speak with me and very … (read more)
I would like to mention the great service I received from Godly Hearts Home Health Services while recovering from brain surgery. Becky the manager has been always available to speak with me and very … (read more)

Platinum Senior Care Solutions – Sugar Land, TX

77 Sugar Creek Center Blvd, Suite 600 , Sugar Land, TX, 77478

I hired Platinum Senior Care for my husband. They come four hours a day and three days a week. No medication help, but they help with bathing, and they help watch him when he is moving around. Staffin … (read more)
I hired Platinum Senior Care for my husband. They come four hours a day and three days a week. No medication help, but they help with bathing, and they help watch him when he is moving around. Staffin … (read more)

Home Instead – Clear Lake and Southeast Houston, TX

14200 Gulf Fwy, Pasadena, TX, 77504

I have no worries with Home Instead. Caregivers are always on time and the office has been very good about sending the right caregivers who meet the needs I request.
I have no worries with Home Instead. Caregivers are always on time and the office has been very good about sending the right caregivers who meet the needs I request.

Home Care Services in California (1000)