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

Note: Independent Living is a lifestyle preference that doesn’t include supportive care that seniors receive in Assisted Living, so it’s typically more affordable. It’s usually 30%-40% cheaper than Assisted Living, so we’ve decreased the average cost of Assisted Living reported in the 2021 Genworth Financial Cost of Care Survey by 35% to calculate the cost of Independent Living.

Living in the Golden State often comes at a higher price compared to others, and Independent Living isn’t any different. The average cost of Independent Living in California is nearly $500 higher than the national average, and it’s higher than all the surrounding states. It’s closest in cost to Oregon, which is only lower by $134. In comparison, Arizona is lower by $813, Nevada by $975 and Utah by $1,138.

$3413

California

$2925

The United States

$2275

Utah

$2438

Nevada

$2600

Arizona

$3279

Oregon

Cities within California have widely varying Independent Living costs, with Bakersfield and Fresno on the low end at $2,438 and $2,535, respectively, and San Francisco on the high end at $4,107. Los Angeles comes in right at the state average of $3,413, and Sacramento is just below average at $3,396. San Luis Obispo is slightly higher than average at $3,445, and San Diego is higher still at $3,559.

$2438

Bakersfield

$2535

Fresno

$3396

Sacramento

$3413

Los Angeles

$3445

San Luis Obispo

$3559

San Diego

$4107

San Francisco

Independent Living is lower in cost than all other levels of senior care, except adult day health care, which costs an average of $1,842 per month in California. As mentioned, Assisted Living is higher at $5,250, and in-home care and home health care are higher still at $6,101 for both services. The highest level of senior care comes at the highest cost, which is nursing home care at $9,794 for semiprivate rooms or $12,167 for private rooms.

$3413

Independent Living

$5250

Assisted Living

$1842

Adult Day Health Care

$6101

In-Home Care

$6101

Home Health Care

$9794

Nursing Home Care (semiprivate room)

$12167

Nursing Home Care (private room)

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.

Independent Living Resources in California

Older adults in California have access to an array of programs and agencies that provide options for counseling, referrals and access to social and recreational opportunities. These resources are free or low-cost and can help active seniors maintain their independence in the community.

Resource
Contact
Service
(800) 510-2020
California has a network of over two dozen Area Agencies on Aging. These local nonprofit agencies operate independently of state and federal governments but are funded through the Older Americans Act to provide a range of services and programs to enhance the lives of residents aged 60 and over. Some services available through local AAAs include nutrition assistance, transportation, in-home services, social and recreational programs and information and referrals for services in the community.
(800) 434-0222
HICAP is a statewide program that provides free health insurance options counseling for those who qualify for Medicare. Through this program, trained volunteers meet one-on-one with individuals to answer questions regarding Medicare benefits, Medigap and Medicare Advantage plans and Medicaid. Volunteers can also help older adults understand medical bills, resolve billing errors and resolve denied claims.
(916) 443-1721
CalCAPA is a state-wide membership organization that provides income-qualifying individuals with access to social and recreational programming, home-delivered meals, healthcare services, utility assistance, home modifications, weatherization services and transportation. Services vary depending on location and participating agencies.
(800) 952-5626
The California Department of Veterans Affairs oversees and administers a range of programs for veterans in the state, including advocacy, housing, healthcare, home loans and VA claims. Through its online portal, my CalVet, individuals can access customized benefits and services such as survivors’ and veterans’ pension programs, memorial benefits and disability compensation.
(323) 224-6510 ext. 104
L.A. Works provides volunteer opportunities for those aged 55 and over in Los Angeles and the surrounding region. Through this program, individuals serve their communities through volunteer opportunities open only to RSVP volunteers, such as tutoring and mentoring children, promoting adult literacy, serving as guides in museums and providing administrative assistance for local nonprofit organizations. In exchange for their service, volunteers access special discounts and rewards programs from partnering businesses, supplemental insurance and recognition at appreciation events. Those living in other cities can access volunteer opportunities in their counties through AmeriCorps Seniors Pathfinder.
(800) 222-1753
The Senior Legal Hotline provides in-person and over-the-phone advice on legal issues related to estate planning, housing, pension programs, public benefits and grandparents’ rights to those in 23 Northern California counties. Services are available to seniors regardless of their income. Those living outside of the region can refer to their local AAA for legal assistance.

COVID-19 Rules for Independent Living in California

The following information is based on research done on several government websites, including cdph.ca.gov and publichealth.lacounty.gov. These rules apply to Independent Living Communities and other types of senior living facilities. We’ve most recently updated this data on 2/2/2022, but since COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving pandemic, contact your local senior living facility or Area Agency on Aging for more specific and up-to-date information.

Visitation Policies

Rules for California Communities

Are loved ones allowed to visit to provide emotional support?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are relatives allowed to visit for end-of-life care?

Yes

Are residents required to quarantine after visiting with a loved one?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are visitors required to wear PPE (including masks) in order to visit residents?

Yes

Are non-medical contractors (such as hairdressers and entertainers) allowed in senior living facilities?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?

Yes

Are visitors checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are visitors required to answer questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?

Yes

Outings & Social Activities

Rules for California Communities

Are residents allowed to leave (errands, visiting family, etc.) for non-medical reasons?

Yes

Are residents who leave required to quarantine when they return?

No (Conditions Apply)

Are senior living communities required to cancel all group outings?

Not Available*

Are residents allowed to eat meals together in a common area?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Are residents allowed to gather in common areas for group activites?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

*Note: This information was not available for this state, contact your local area agency on aging or senior living facility for more information.

COVID-19 Safety Measures for Staff and Residents

Rules for California Communities

Are staff members regularly required to do a temperature check?

Yes

Are staff members regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes

Are staff members members regularly required to do a health and safety screening, including questions about travel, contact with positive cases, etc?

Yes

Are residents regularly screened for COVID-19 symptoms?

Yes

Are residents regularly checked for elevated temperatures?

Yes

Are residents regularly tested for COVID-19?

Yes (Conditions Apply)

Find Independent Living Communities in California

Use the tool below to find Independent Living Communities near you – if you’d like to search in a specific city in California, simply put that in the search bar below.

2015, 2016, 2017, 2022

Hollenbeck Palms

573 S. Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90033

Hollenbeck Palms is located on an 8.5-acre campus in Los, Angeles, California, close to major freeways, Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles International Airport. Residents have the option of customizing t … (read more)
Hollenbeck Palms is located on an 8.5-acre campus in Los, Angeles, California, close to major freeways, Dodger Stadium and Los Angeles International Airport. Residents have the option of customizing t … (read more)

2021, 2022

Sakura Gardens of Los Angeles

325 South Boyle Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90033

This well-maintained facility, which caters primarily to residents of Japanese descent, is located in Los Angeles, California. Sakura Gardens lies within easy reach of local parks and the vibrant neig … (read more)
This well-maintained facility, which caters primarily to residents of Japanese descent, is located in Los Angeles, California. Sakura Gardens lies within easy reach of local parks and the vibrant neig … (read more)

2013

Belmont Village Westwood

10475 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90024

Belmont Village Westwood is located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, between UCLA and the Los Angeles Country Club. Visitors comment on this facility’s beautiful grounds, modern architecture and … (read more)
Belmont Village Westwood is located on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, between UCLA and the Los Angeles Country Club. Visitors comment on this facility’s beautiful grounds, modern architecture and … (read more)

2013, 2018

Belmont Village Hollywood Heights

2051 N. Highland Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90068

Located between West Hollywood and Glendale, Belmont Village Hollywood Heights is an assisted living facility that is well-decorated, clean and well-kept. Residents enjoy going on outings, playing car … (read more)
Located between West Hollywood and Glendale, Belmont Village Hollywood Heights is an assisted living facility that is well-decorated, clean and well-kept. Residents enjoy going on outings, playing car … (read more)

2013

CityView

515 N. La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90036

CityView is situated in central Los Angeles, near Hollywood, Paramount Studios, The Grove and a multitude of other stores and restaurants. Family members note the spacious, modern suites and the homey … (read more)
CityView is situated in central Los Angeles, near Hollywood, Paramount Studios, The Grove and a multitude of other stores and restaurants. Family members note the spacious, modern suites and the homey … (read more)

Atria Tarzana

5325 Etiwanda Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 91356

I toured this community with my father last week and we were both really impressed. The staff is really friendly and hospitable. The layout of the community as well as the apartments are easy to navig … (read more)
I toured this community with my father last week and we were both really impressed. The staff is really friendly and hospitable. The layout of the community as well as the apartments are easy to navig … (read more)

Westwood Plaza

2228 Westwood Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 90064

My mom is in Westwood Plaza. It’s basic, adequate, and homey. The staff is excellent. The activities are very good. The rooms are fine– not fancy– but the prices are reasonable.
My mom is in Westwood Plaza. It’s basic, adequate, and homey. The staff is excellent. The activities are very good. The rooms are fine– not fancy– but the prices are reasonable.

Valley Vista Senior Living

7040 Van Nuys blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 91405


Solheim Senior Community

2236 Merton Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90041


Melrose Gardens & The Cottages

960 N. Martel Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90046


2013, 2015

Kingsley Manor

1055 North Kingsley Drive, Los Angeles, CA, 90029

I like that Kingsley Manor is kind of a convenient location. The bathroom has a window facing outside, so you can get direct air coming from the outside. I’m going into the independent living. The tou … (read more)
I like that Kingsley Manor is kind of a convenient location. The bathroom has a window facing outside, so you can get direct air coming from the outside. I’m going into the independent living. The tou … (read more)

2012

Beverly Hills Carmel North – Elegant Retirement Living

8750 Burton Way, Los Angeles, CA, 90048

My mother-in-law is in Beverly Hills Carmel North Elegant Retirement Living. It’s a very nice facility. The staff is very nice, and very helpful. They have music, they have exercise, the dining area i … (read more)
My mother-in-law is in Beverly Hills Carmel North Elegant Retirement Living. It’s a very nice facility. The staff is very nice, and very helpful. They have music, they have exercise, the dining area i … (read more)

Nazareth House

3333 Manning Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 90064


NoHo Senior Arts Colony

10747 Magnolia Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA, 91601

Noho Senior Arts Colony is really, really great. It is great for independent living and we are really happy. Everything is great. The staff are very friendly and cooperative and they are really nice. … (read more)
Noho Senior Arts Colony is really, really great. It is great for independent living and we are really happy. Everything is great. The staff are very friendly and cooperative and they are really nice. … (read more)

Heritage Park at Woodman

7840 Woodman Avenue, Los Angeles, CA, 91402

I toured Heritage Park At Woodman and I saw a 1-bedroom. The place was very nice. I love the space of the apartment and the layout. It has a swimming pool. The staff was a very nice lady. She was very … (read more)
I toured Heritage Park At Woodman and I saw a 1-bedroom. The place was very nice. I love the space of the apartment and the layout. It has a swimming pool. The staff was a very nice lady. She was very … (read more)

The Metro at Chinatown Senior Lofts

808 N Spring St, Los Angeles, CA, 90012

I went to The Metro at Chinatown Senior Lofts. It was great. I know people that live there, and the people that manage the place are pretty well upfront, and let me know right away that I qualify, but … (read more)
I went to The Metro at Chinatown Senior Lofts. It was great. I know people that live there, and the people that manage the place are pretty well upfront, and let me know right away that I qualify, but … (read more)

Westwood Horizons

947 Tiverton, Los Angeles, CA, 90024


San Lucas Senior Apartments

1221 W 7th St., Los Angeles, CA, 90017


2017, 2019

MorningStar of Pasadena

951 S. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA, 91105

We went to look at MorningStar of Pasadena. My client was impressed with the facility. They have a beautiful grand piano. He enjoyed all the features that they offer. They had a one-bedroom, a two-bed … (read more)
We went to look at MorningStar of Pasadena. My client was impressed with the facility. They have a beautiful grand piano. He enjoyed all the features that they offer. They had a one-bedroom, a two-bed … (read more)

Atherton Baptist Home

214 SOUTH ATLANTIC BLVD., Alhambra, CA, 91801


Independent Living Facilities in California (134)