(800) 558-0653

Independent Living in California

The sunny state of California, which is listed among the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities, features diverse geography, scenic parks and 840 miles of coastline, making it a prime retirement destination for active seniors. The state is made up of a dozen regions, each with its own culture and amenities, and it has nearly 40 million residents, about 15% of whom are retirees. A very comfortable climate means plenty of opportunities to explore the state’s park system, many of which feature stocked fishing lakes, boat launches and picnic spots, and exciting festivals throughout the year provide entertainment and celebrate the state’s unique heritage.

Independent living communities provide housing for active older adults. These communities promote a comfortable, maintenance-free lifestyle and typically feature amenities such as recreational centers, swimming pools and clubs and interest groups. Some communities also offer daily meals, basic housekeeping and laundry services and onsite spas and fitness centers. On average, Californians pay $3,250 per month for independent living, though fees vary considerably depending on location and amenities.

This guide provides more details on independent living in California and outlines agencies and programs available to retirees in the state. 

The Cost of Independent Living in California

When trying to decide how to pay for independent living, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. To help shed light on real senior living prices, has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of independent living in California and its 107 cities.

The Cost of Independent Living in California's Top Cities

Different cities in California have experienced different rates of inflation-driven increases. Sacramento has average costs of $3,500 a month for independent living, not far off from the $3,556 state average. San Diego is also close, at $3,679. Los Angeles' costs are somewhat higher, at $4,158 a month for independent living services. Topping the list is San Francisco, where the average $6,110 is a full 72% higher than the state average.





San Francisco


Los Angeles


San Diego


Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Independent Living in California

Independent care costs in California are projected to rise substantially by 2024, largely due to the effects of inflation. From 2022-2024, trend analysis shows a 10% increase from $3,481 to $3,823. This is close to the estimated 12% increase in national average costs. Other states likewise anticipate increases. Alaska and Nevada both project a rise of 5%, while New Mexico expects a stunning 61% increase during the same period, from $1,962 to $3,154. Wyoming actually shows overall decline from $2,723 in 2022 to a projected $2,200 a month in 2024, a 19% decrease.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
California$3,481$3,556 $3,823
U.S. Average$2,810$2,955 $3,162
Alaska$4,509$4,485 $4,724
Nevada$2,476$2,463 $2,593
Wyoming$2,723$2,065 $2,200
New Mexico$1,962$2,961 $3,154

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

Independent living is relatively affordable in California, at $3,556 a month, but it isn't the only care option for seniors. Older adults who could use closer support can choose assisted living in the Golden State for $4,946 a month, while memory care costs $5,866.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Can You Use Medicare or Medicaid to Pay for Independent Living in California?

Unfortunately, you cannot use Medicaid and Medicare to help pay the monthly fee for residing in an Independent Living community. For seniors who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), there may be financial assistance programs available to help cover the cost of care in Independent Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need a higher level of care, read our guide to Assisted Living in California.

Read on for more information about using alternative means to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in California

There are many resources in California that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Area Agencies on Aging916-374-7739California's network of Area Agencies on Aging work under the umbrella of the California Department of Aging. These agencies promote healthy living for older residents through a variety of federal and state-funded programs. Some of these programs include supportive services, senior nutrition programs, care management programs, caregiving services and Medicare and insurance counseling. Low-income seniors can become productive community members through volunteer programs, such as the Senior Companion Program and the Senior Community Service Employment Program.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in California provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California General AssistanceThe California General Assistance program offers help to low-income adults who don't have sufficient income through other sources. Many seniors on fixed incomes qualify for aid through this program. Seniors apply for this cash assistance program through their county Department of Social Services office. Because this program is county-based, the amount of funding varies from county to county.
California Lifeline ProgramThe California LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help California seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California CalFresh800-777-7575California CalFresh offers food assistance to low-income residents of the state and serves as the state's SNAP program. Seniors and other residents who meet federal income eligibility rules can apply online for assistance paying for healthy food to eat. To apply, seniors need a copy of their ID and income verification. Seniors can use their benefits at most food stores and farmers' markets anywhere in the state.
California Meals on WheelsMeals on Wheels California delivers healthy meals to homebound seniors who can't get to the grocery store or cook independently. The program serves the entire state through local, county-based organizations. In addition to the meal delivery, Meals on Wheels offers a friendly visit from dedicated volunteers to protect seniors from loneliness.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in California collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Ability ToolsThis project is funded and managed by the California Department of Rehabilitation and Foundation for Independent Living. It helps people with disabilities live happier, healthier and more independent lives by providing access to information and demonstrations of assistive technology as well as offering an online marketplace to buy/sell/borrow or receive free equipment. Financial loans may also be available for eligible residents.
California Dignity At Home Fall Prevention ProgramAdults aged 60+ or those with a disability who have fallen, are at risk of falling or at risk of being institutionalized could qualify for the California Dignity at Home Fall Prevention Program. Eligible seniors must also have a household income of less than 80% of the area's median income. In addition to paying for home modifications and medical equipment to help prevent injury, the program provides information and education on fall prevention.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in California have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Low-Income Weatherization ProgramCalifornia's Low-Income Weatherization Program provides energy efficiency upgrades at no cost to those who qualify, letting households lower their utility bills to free up limited disposable income for other necessary expenses. This program covers expenses such as installing energy efficient air conditioning and improving insulation. To qualify, seniors must meet income guidelines.
California Section 504 Home Repair ProgramThe Section 504 Home Repair Program makes up to $10,000 in grant funds available to elderly residents living in rural areas. These funds can be used to eliminate health and safety hazards, allowing older adults to remain in their homes. To find out if your home is eligible, visit the United States Department of Agriculture Eligibility Site.

Many organizations offer free or low-cost legal services to California seniors. Older adults can access advice on issues such as estate planning, living wills and power of attorney. Some firms also act as long-term care ombudsmen, advocating for the rights of seniors in senior living communities.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Helping Elders Live Productively (H.E.L.P.)This nonprofit organization aims to empower older adults and their families by offering information, counseling and advice on elder law, consumer protection, elder care and finances. It offers classes and events and also advises seniors on a one-to-one basis, providing resources and referrals.
California Long-Term Care OmbudsmanThe statewide Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program supports older adults in assisted living by helping them understand their rights, obtain the services in their care plans and resolve issues related to substandard care. The ombudsman can mediate family disagreements regarding their loved ones' care and represent seniors' interests regarding problems with insufficient or excessive services, billing mistakes and unfair intake or discharge procedures. The ombudsman can also investigate concerns about abuse, neglect or exploitation.
The State Bar of CaliforniaThe State Bar of California funds nonprofit legal agencies across the state and maintains a comprehensive database of local offices that provide free civil legal services to those aged 60 and over. Through these offices, older adults can get one-on-one assistance with determining whether they're eligible for public benefits including Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance and Medi-Cal. The State Bar also publishes legal guides with topics such as legal resources for veterans, how seniors can avoid legal fraud and what to know before hiring an attorney.

Senior Centers

Senior centers in California bring together residents through recreational activities and events. Many also offer advice and support on senior issues, run wellness and nutrition programs, and connect older adults with other resources in the local area.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
Alzheimer's Association California Chapter866-675-6623The Alzheimer's Association is a large, nationwide group of experts and volunteers providing advocacy and assistance at the local level in various parts of California. The available resources are particularly useful for family members and people who have been recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's and are unsure of how to plan for their future care needs. Seminars, workshops and support groups are available, along with important links, news and updates on clinical trials.
California Assisted Living Association (CALA)800-952-5661CALA calls itself the voice of assisted living, and it provides advocacy, information and education to assisted living residents and providers. Consumer data includes details about residential facilities for the elderly (RCFEs), including a facility search, reviews from residents and a shopping guide for senior services and housing. Although CALA is an industry-oriented organization, it's a useful free resource to help seniors find out about pending legislation that affects seniors and laws related to RCFEs. The association also provides continuing education opportunities for senior living staff members and the opportunity to network and develop best practices for caring for the elderly.
California RegistryCalifornia Registry is a free public service licensed by the State of California Department of Health that provides assisted living resources to area seniors. Seniors can find links to information about assisted living waivers, Medicare, SSI benefits and veteran's pensions on the website, along with an explanation about different types of care.

Senior Engagement

Senior engagement resources and programs in California help older adults remain active and ensure they contribute to the community. Resources include wellness programs, volunteer opportunities, support groups and organizations that help residents connect with the community to live fulfilling lives.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Cyber Seniors800-510-2020Founded in 2015, Cyber-Seniors: Connecting Generations Inc. is a nonprofit organization that allows young people to volunteer their time providing free technology assistance to avid learners aged 60 or older. Daily webinars are accessible, such as Online Banking Safety, but seniors who miss them can watch available ones from the archives. Ample cybersecurity information is handy for learning how to avoid getting scammed. Seniors needing tech assistance can book a one-on-one tech call to speak with a qualified volunteer.
California Friendly Phoning Program866-442-2529The California Friendly Phoning Program is part of the homebound adults support program offered by H.E.L.P. (Helping Elders Live Productively). The goal of this program is to help seniors live independently with dignity by staying connected to the community. Volunteers make weekly phone calls to seniors' homes to check in, engage in conversation and provide emotional support, which can help minimize feelings of loneliness and isolation. To sign up, seniors can call H.E.L.P.'s main office at (310) 533-1996.
California Senior Employment TrainingLow-income seniors aged 55 and over can brush up on their skills, learn new ones and access a variety of services designed to get them ready for the job market. They can receive on-the-job training while working at public agencies and local nonprofit organizations as well as get help crafting resumes and developing customized employment plans.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in California help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several California resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Property Tax Postponement (PTP) ProgramThe Property Tax Postponement Program allows an eligible homeowner to defer the current-year property taxes on their primary residence.

Utility & Energy Bill Assistance

Low-income seniors who are struggling to meet the costs of maintaining their homes can find support from organizations that offer assistance with utility and energy bills. California retirees could also qualify for emergency funding programs if they're in danger of losing utility services due to unpaid invoices.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program helps eligible households balance their utility bills, while the LIHEAP Energy Crisis Prevention Program provides financial assistance to low-income households facing energy-related crises. For example, the ECPP may offer assistance to a homeowner who's in danger of having their power shut off.

Veteran's Services

California retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
California Department of Veterans AffairsThe California Department of Veterans Affairs serves the state's 1.6 million veterans by helping them access state health care benefits and the VA Aid and Attendance and veterans' and survivors' pension programs. It provides advocacy and assistance via County Veteran Service Offices throughout the state. It can also help veterans determine whether they qualify for placement in one of California's eight veterans' homes, which may be an affordable alternative to private long-term care services.
California VA Benefits and Health CareCalifornia VA Benefits and Health Care is a dependable source of support for senior veterans in California. The agency offers health care services, disability benefits, guidance on pension arrangements and housing options. It assists with record management as well as planning for burials and memorials. Eligibility for services is determined based on service record, residency and personal circumstances. Through its comprehensive services, the organization prioritizes veterans' well-being.

Independent Living Facilities in California

32 Results


32 Results

Sort By

Didn't find what you were looking for?

Caring's Family Advisors are here to help you with questions about senior living and care options.

Call us at (855) 948-3865



What you can do with Caring

  • Search the Caring database

    Quickly search the largest online senior living and senior care directory

  • Read reviews and expert guidance

    Read our authentic consumer reviews and content by experts

  • Speak to a Family Advisor for free

    Guided, expert advice to find the best community or agency for you

  • Take a tour to decide yourself

    We’ll help you book tours or get in touch with local agencies

Independent Living in California


Find Independent Living Options Near You


Speak with a Caring Family Advisor

Who are you looking for?

Full Name



By clicking "Get Started", I am providing express written consent to receive calls including automated/pre-recorded calls and automated texts for which I may incur a cost, as well as emails from Caring and its partners. I understand I am not obligated to provide this consent to utilize Caring’s service(s). I acknowledge I was able to review the Agreement to be Contacted, Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. is a leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. We offer thousands of original articles, helpful tools, advice from more than 50 leading experts, a community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of caregiving services.


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy is a leading online destination for caregivers seeking information and support as they care for aging parents, spouses, and other loved ones. We offer thousands of original articles, helpful tools, advice from more than 50 leading experts, a community of caregivers, and a comprehensive directory of caregiving services.


The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for legal, financial, professional, or medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. By using our website, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy

Our Services

  • Senior Living Directory

  • Senior Care Directory

  • Caregiving Resources

  • Sitemap

  • Terms of Use

  • Privacy Policy

© 2024 Caring, LLC. All rights reserved.