Assisted Living in California

Get the insights you need to find the right city.

Families looking for assisted living in California (CA) have a wide array of communities to choose from, since estimated that there are more than 30,000 assisted living communities serving seniors across the U.S., and over 3,588 statewide. The state is also home to a rapidly growing number of senior citizens, with adults over 65 making up an estimated 14 percent of the population. A resident in an assisted living community in California will pay $4,500 per month on average.

Average Monthly Costs

States near California

$5,018.00 Oregon
$4,917.00 California
$4,152.00 Arizona
$4,000.00 US
$3,824.00 Nevada
Genworth lists the average cost of a private, one bedroom unit in an assisted living community in California as $4,917. This places California on the higher end of the scale at about $900 over the national average, and about $800 higher than the median cost of assisted living in nearby states.

Compare Monthly Care Costs

When it comes to care options, assisted living is just one of several choices available to seniors. Some care options, like part-time in-home care or independent living, may cost less, while others like memory care or skilled nursing are likely to cost significantly more. Seniors can speak with their medical practitioners to receive guidance on what level of care will best suit their needs and abilities.

Nursing Home Care


In-Home Care


Assisted Living

Average Monthly Costs

Cities in California

$6,113.00 Santa Cruz, Watsonville
$6,010.00 Santa Rosa
$6,010.00 San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara
$6,010.00 San Francisco, Oakland, Hayward
$6,010.00 Salinas
$5,955.00 San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande
$5,928.00 Napa
$5,272.00 Santa Maria, Santa Barbara
$4,999.00 Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Ventura
$4,917.00 San Diego, Carlsbad
$4,917.00 Los Angeles, Long Beach, Anaheim
$4,887.00 Sacramento, Roseville, Arden Arcade
$4,753.00 Vallejo, Fairfield
$4,521.00 Rest Of State
$4,370.00 Chico
$4,261.00 Redding
$4,020.00 Yuba City
$4,015.00 Visalia, Porterville
$3,988.00 El Centro
$3,894.00 Hanford, Corcoran
$3,824.00 Stockton, Lodi
$3,824.00 Riverside, San Bernardino, Ontario
$3,824.00 Merced
$3,824.00 Fresno
$3,631.00 Madera
$3,496.00 Modesto
$3,442.00 Bakersfield
When estimating the cost of assisted living, it's important to know that average prices can differ significantly between various parts of California. For example, assisted living rates in areas such as Santa Rosa are at least $1,000 more than the state average of $4,917, but in areas like Merced, you're saving on average $1,100. The most affordable region in California for assisted living is Bakersfield at $3,442.

What You Should Know About Assisted Living in California

In California, Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) is a blanket term for assisted living communities, memory care programs and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). California's RCFE Act was created to govern the operation of RCFEs and establish a consistent set of rules for all communities and programs to follow.

Financial Assistance for Assisted Living in California

Although the costs associated with assisted living can seem prohibitive, California offers subsidy programs to help low-income seniors afford the care they need.

Medi-Cal Programs for the Elderly

Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid system and is designed to provide assistance to low-income seniors. The Medicaid plan offers four programs to help seniors pay for assisted living.

Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP): This program is designed to help those who are eligible for nursing home care to opt for assisted living by offering supportive services such as meal preparation, medication administration, and assistance with personal care.

Who Is Eligible?

Eligibility for waiver programs requires Medi-Cal approval. To qualify for Medi-Cal, seniors must be at least 65 years old or have a documented qualifying disability. The individual must also have an annual income that falls below 138 percent of the current California poverty level and qualifying assets that total no more than $2,000. Exceptions can be made for those with assets over the income and asset limits if they are subject to high medical expenses.

How to Apply

Applications for Medi-Cal can be submitted by mail, in person at a County Social Services Office, or online.

More Ways to Finance Assisted Living

While many families use their own funds or personal assets to pay for assisted living, there are plenty of additional options to cover these costs. Visit our 9 Ways to Pay for Assisted Living page for more information.

Free Assisted Living Resources in California

California seniors also have access to nonprofit organizations and government-funded agencies that offer assistance for care.

Area Agencies on Aging

The California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A) is a nonprofit organization that works as an advocate for seniors to help them find and receive supportive services from state and local programs.

A list of all California Area Agencies on Aging can be found below.

Area 1 Agency on Aging

434 7th Street, Eureka, CA 95501
(707) 442-3763

PSA 2 Area Agency on Aging

208 West Center Street, Yreka, CA 96097
(530) 842-1687

PSA 3 Area Agency on Aging

Passages Adult Resource Center

25 Main St, Suite 202, Chico, CA 95929
(530) 898-5923

Area 4 Agency on Aging

1401 El Camino Avenue, 4th Floor, Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 486-1876

Marin County Division of Aging

(415) 457-4636

City and County of San Francisco Dept of Aging and Adult Services

1650 Mission St, 5th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
(415) 355-3555

Contra Costa County Aging and Adult Services

500 Ellinwood Way, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 313-1579

San Mateo County Aging and Adult Services

222 W. 39th Avenue, San Mateo, CA 94403
(650) 573-2222

Alameda County Dept of Aging and Adult Services

6955 Foothill Boulevard Suite 143, Oakland CA 94605
1-800- 510-2020 or 510- 577-3530

Santa Clara County

2115 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126
(408) 296-8290

San Joaquin County Dept of Aging and Community Services

333 E. Washington Street, Stockton, California 95202
(209) 468-1000

Area 12 Agency on Aging

19074 Standard Road, Sonora, CA 95370
(209) 532-6272; (800) 510-2020

Seniors Council

234 Santa Cruz Ave., Aptos, CA 95003
(831) 688-0400

Fresno-Madera Area Agency on Aging

3837 North Clark Street, Fresno, CA 93726
559 600-4405

Kings Tulare Area Agency on Aging

5957 South Mooney Boulevard, Visalia, CA 93277
(559) 623-0199

Eastern Sierra Area Agency on Aging

163 May Street, Bishop, CA 93514
(760) 873-3305

Central Coast Commission for Senior Citizens Area Agency on Aging

528 S Broadway, Santa Maria, CA 93454
(805) 925-9554

Ventura County Area Agency on Aging

646 County Square Drive, Suite 100, Ventura, CA 93003
(805) 477-7300

Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging

3175 West 6th Street, Los Angeles, Ca 90020
(213) 738-2600

San Bernadino County Dept of Aging and Adult Services

686 East Mill Street, San Bernardino, CA 92415
(909) 891-3917

Riverside County Office on Aging

6296 River Crest Drive, Suite K, Riverside, California 92507-0738
(951) 867-3800

Orange County Area Agency on Aging

1300 South Grand Avenue, Building B, Santa Ana, CA 92705
(714) 480-6550

San Diego County Aging and Independent Services

5560 Overland Ave, Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92123
(858) 495-5885

Imperial County Area Agency on Aging

778 W. State Street, El Centro, CA 92243
(442) 265-7030

City of Los Angeles Department of Aging

221 N. Figueroa Street, Suite 500, Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 482-7252

Area Agency on Aging of Lake and Mendocino Counties

14092 Lakeshore Dr, Clearlake, CA 95422
(707) 995-4660

Sonoma County Area Agency on Aging

3725 Westwind Blvd, Suite 101, Santa Rosa, CA 95403
(800) 510-2020

El Dorado County Area Agency on Aging

937 Spring Street, Placerville, CA 95667
(530) 642-7300

Stanislaus County Aging and Veterans Services

3500 Coffee Road, Suite 19, Modesto, CA 95355
(209) 558-7825

Merced County Area Agency on Aging

851 West 23rd Street, Merced, CA 95341
(209) 385-3000

Monterey County Area Agency on Aging

1000 South Main Street, Suite 301, Salinas, CA 93901
(831) 755-4466

Kern County Aging Adult Services

5357 Truxtun Avenue, Bakersfield, CA 93309
(661) 868-1000

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in California

All assisted living communities in California must adhere to the state's laws and regulations regarding care of their clients and program policies. Here are a few state regulations that govern California's assisted living programs.

Assisted Living Service Plan Requirements

Propective residents of assisted living communities must submit to a resident appraisal before moving into an assisted living community. This includes an assessment of mental capacity, physical capabilities (how well the resident can perform daily living tasks) and social/emotional factors to help the management decide if they can appropriately serve the needs of the prospective resident.

Applicants must also submit a medical evaluation from their current physician that includes present health status, prescription medications, medical conditions and special dietary needs. In the event of any major changes in a resident’s health or status, both the resident appraisal and the medical evaluation need to be updated to ensure the resident’s needs are being met.

Assisted Living Admission Requirements

Assisted living communities in California may grant admission to seniors who:

  • are able to administer their own medication.
  • may need reminding or assistance with their prescription medications due to physical restrictions or absent-mindedness.
  • obtain medical treatment off-site or from a visiting nurse.
  • have mild dementia or a short-term emotional distress from a life change or personal loss.
  • have mild cognitive impairment.

Assisted living communities in California cannot grant admission to seniors who:

  • require 24-hour skilled medical care
  • require care for special tubes, such as tracheostomies, nasogastric tubes, etc.
  • require treatment for serious infections.
  • require assistance in performing all daily living activities
  • have a communicable disease
  • are bedridden
  • have mental conditions with behaviors that might cause distress for other residents

Assisted Living Scope of Care

Assisted living communities provide two types of services outside of room and board: basic services and care and supervision. Basic services include planned community activities, personal assistance and help with setting up medical and dental visits. Care and supervision includes helping residents with hygiene, dressing and grooming, assisting with self-administered medications and supervising dietary needs.

AL communities do not have the capabilities to meet the needs of those who require extensive medical care. However, residents with medical conditions that can be managed on their own or with care from a licensed professional can be admitted to live in a community. Such conditions includes diabetes, catheter care and oxygen use.

Assisted Living Medicaid Policy

Communities in several counties in California accept payment for services for the elderly from the state’s Medicaid 1915(c) Assisted Living Waiver program. Residents who utilize the Medicaid Assisted Living Waiver program require private occupancy, unless the resident chooses a shared-occupancy residence.

Assisted Living Facility Requirements

In California, assisted living communities can provide single or double-occupancy rooms to residents and apartment-style units are not mandatory. For every six residents, there must be at least one toilet and sink, and one bathtub or shower per ten persons.

For residents who opt to make use of the Medicaid Assisted Living Waiver program, communities must provide them with a private residence, though they may choose to have a roommate. Each unit is required to have a kitchen space furnished with a cooking appliance and a refrigerator.

Medication Management Regulations

Certified medical professionals are the only employees permitted to administer medication to residents. Unlicensed staff members are allowed to provide assistance for self-administration of medications as prescribed by a physician in certain situations, including minor or temporary illnesses, poor vision, hand tremors or comparable conditions. While staff can help with self-administration, this does not involve concealing medication in foods or drinks, pressuring a resident to take medication or any other ways that could interfere with a resident’s right to refuse medication.

Staffing Requirements

Every assisted living community in California is required to have a certified administrator who is responsible for managing the property. When the administrator is not available, a designee must be appointed. Staffing requirements for awake staff are determined by the size of the community. In a property with 16 or fewer residents, staff must be accessible to the residents inside the building. Communities with 16-100 residents must have at least one awake staff member, while those with 101-200 residents require one on-call and one awake, plus one additional awake staff member for every 100 residents.

Staff Training Requirements

Caregivers are required to have first aid knowledge, complete 40 hours of initial training, and complete 20 hours of continuing education every year. Education topics include emergency response, resident rights, personal care services, cultural sensitivity and identifying dementia. All staff must receive on-site training about community resources, sanitation protocol, how to assist residents with their medication and how to determine if a resident may be in need of professional help.

Background Checks for Assisted Living

All employees and licensees are subject to a criminal background check and must not have been convicted of any crime other than a minor traffic violation unless granted an exemption by the director. Fingerprints must be submitted to the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigations to obtain state and federal criminal history. Anyone living within the community who is not a client in need of assisted living care is also subject to a background check.

Requirements for Reporting Abuse

Elder abuse includes any instances of physical or emotional mistreatment causing pain or suffering, sexual abuse, neglect or financial abuse. All administrators, licensed staff and caregivers that provide services to residents are mandated reporters of elder abuse.

Any person, including residents, their loved ones and outside personnel, can file a complaint about suspected abuse at an assisted living community to the Community Care Licensing Division (CCLD) of the Department of Social Services. CCLD offers a complaint hotline for reporting abuse at 1-844-LET-US-NO (1-844-538-8766) or email

Assisted Living Facilities in California



Top-Rated Caring Stars Winners in California’s Caring Stars award program recognizes the best assisted living facilities across the U.S. based on reviews from family caregivers and older adults. This award is meant to help older adults and their loved ones find the best assisted living or in-home care option in their area. The list below shows up to 10 listings that have won the most Caring Stars annual awards in their state, sorted by their current overall average rating. For a complete list of Caring Stars winners for each year, please visit our Caring Stars info center.


Eskaton Village Placerville

Placerville, CA $$$

61 reviews


Atria Del Rey

Rancho Cucamonga, CA $$

24 reviews


Oakmont of Fresno

Fresno, CA $$$$

32 reviews


Atria Park of Vintage Hills

Temecula, CA $

36 reviews


Valencia Terrace

Corona, CA $$$

14 reviews


Atria Palm Desert

Palm Desert, CA $$

25 reviews


Sunrise at La Costa

Carlsbad, CA $$

21 reviews


Brookdale Nohl Ranch

Anaheim Hills, CA $$$

25 reviews


Belmont Village Burbank

Burbank, CA $$$

27 reviews


Oakmont of Carmichael

Carmichael, CA $$$$

24 reviews