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Your best golden years in the golden state

Tanya Vincent July 27, 2023


Pocket guide to senior living in California

Choosing an assisted living community, whether it be for yourself or a relative, can feel daunting. Aside from the obvious, like cost and safety, you want to find a residence that facilitates connection, exudes respect, and promotes independence. With its mild climate, gorgeous scenery, and varied neighborhoods, California is an ideal place for retirees and elderly adults to find a community that resonates with them. What better place to spend your Golden Years than the Golden State?

Here’s a handy guide on how to narrow down your search for the perfect assisted living residence. 

Consider your needs

Facilities provide a range of services and some may be more or less important to you. Typically senior housing includes assistance with daily activities (grooming, bathing, dressing, eating), medication management, and basic first aid. Things like meal prep, housekeeping, laundry, transportation, and home maintenance are also usually offered. However, assisted living residences aren’t a fit for every senior – nursing homes are better for around-the-clock care, senior apartments for those who crave accessibility and independence, and memory care communities for those who struggle with dementia or Alzheimer’s. In California, overall health and safety for seniors is prioritized and championed by the California Department of Social Services. There are many hospitals per capita and elderly adults usually have access to good quality medical care.

What are your hobbies?

A senior care community is meant to promote social connection and enhanced quality of life, so look out for amenities that spark your interest. Fitness centers, pools, outdoor areas, paths for strolling, coffee shops, libraries, religious services, and spas may all be offered to residents. Don’t forget to inquire about organized groups – there may be a club or recurring workshop that sparks your interest and helps you choose one space over another. Being one of the most popular types of senior care in California, assisted living options are bountiful and, thanks to California’s natural beauty, are often situated near exceptional national parks and beaches, offering plenty of activities outside of the facility itself.


The median cost of senior care solutions in California is $4,500 per month. This is 12% higher than the national average but aligns with the higher cost of living here. Costs can of course vary across regions. San Francisco’s average cost of assisted living is $4,750 per month, whereas Bakersfield’s average monthly cost is $3,650. There are financial assistance options too – Social Security, pensions, long-term care insurance, Medicare, Veteran aid, reverse mortgage loans (taken against your home’s equity), and private pay (through your 401k for example). Additionally, you can consult the California Registry for information on low-cost or free senior services and the California Assisted Living Association for senior financial assistance programs.

Visit in person

The best way to get a feel for a particular senior community is to visit! You can often even set up some time with a current resident to get a more genuine account of what it’s like to live there. Just like with apartment hunting, don’t be afraid to ask “uncomfortable” questions – it’s always better to have those answered ahead of time rather than being disappointed when it’s too late. 


California continues to be an ideal location for long-term senior care, with the number of residents over 65 increasing by 14% in the past nine years (compared to 6% of the general population). Boasting 7,000 assisted care facilities and a Senior Score of 70, it’s no wonder California’s average life expectancy is 80.8, compared to 78.6 nationally. If you’re ready to see what this fine state has to offer, you can check out a list of residences here. And if you’re looking to sell a parent or relative’s home before they move into a senior community, Sapphire Realty is here to assist with that process. Just fill out our Contact Us form and we’ll be in touch. 

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