Housing Options

Senior Housing Options

When you can no longer live at home, several kinds of facilities are available, each providing different levels and types of care. Here are some basics to help you determine the best option for your situation.

Independent Senior Apartments

These individual apartments are for independent older adults. They’re typically designed to enable you to enjoy recreational, educational, and social activities.

  • Rented at market rate; some moderate-income, low-income, or HUD-subsidized apartments
  • 24-hour emergency call system
  • Resident managers in some facilities
  • Transportation, activities, meal programs, and housekeeping services in some facilities
  • Low-income and HUD-subsidized sites may have long waiting lists

Assisted Living Facilities

Buildings with small apartments offer safety features such as bathroom grab bars, emergency call systems, and 24-hour security and staff. Services are provided to address your health, safety, mobility, and personal care needs. Services can be adjusted as your needs change.

  • Can provide complete personal care services, including bathing, dressing, incontinence care, bathroom assistance, medication supervision, and mobility support
  • Meals served in dining room; most facilities offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  • Weekly housekeeping and laundry service
  • Opportunities to participate in organized activities and socialization
  • Transportation services for medical appointments, shopping, errands, and outings
  • Some facilities have designated areas and programs for Alzheimer’s/dementia care
  • Some facilities provide only Alzheimer’s/dementia care
  • Licensed by California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing
  • Estimated cost: $2,000 to $8,000 per month, depending on location and care needs

Residential Care Facility for Elderly

Often referred to as “board and care homes” for individuals who are unable to live alone but do not need skilled nursing services.

  • Small home environment, usually up to 8 residents
  • Complete personal care services and supervision of all daily activities, including help with bathing, dressing, incontinence care, bathroom assistance, medication supervision, and mobility support
  • Bedside care during periods of minor or temporary illness
  • Transportation to medical appointments arranged by facility
  • 24-hour staff; generally 1 to 2 caregivers for 4 to 8 residents
  • Some homes specialize in dementia care
  • Licensed by California Department of Social Services, Community Care Licensing
  • Rough estimate of cost: $1,500 per month for shared room up to $6,000 for private room, depending on location and individual care needs

Skilled Nursing Facilities

Also called nursing homes, convalescent hospitals, and rest homes, skilled nursing facilities are equipped to provide more extensive care such as administering injections, wound care, and monitoring blood pressure. Two levels of care are available: skilled nursing care and custodial care.

  • Licensed and regulated by the California Department of Public Health, Licensing and Certification
  • Skilled nursing care includes daily nursing services administered by a registered nurse, therapist, or licensed vocational nurse
  • Custodial care is for individuals who don’t need the daily services of a registered nurse, therapist, or licensed vocational nurse, but do need trained individuals to provide assistance with bathing, incontinence care, dressing, eating, or getting in and out of bed
  • Recreational activities provided for all residents
  • Rehabilitative services ordered by a physician include physical, occupational, speech, and respiratory therapies
  • Payment by Medicare, Medi-Cal, and private long-term care insurance if specific services are provided and criteria met
  • Custodial care is not paid for by Medicare or Medicare supplemental policies; coverage through long-term care insurance varies, paid for by Medi-Cal if eligibility requirements are met
  • Estimated cost for shared room: $65,000 to $85,000 a year per individual

For help evaluating and comparing nursing homes, see Choosing a Nursing Home

To report abuse, neglect, or unsafe conditions in a care facility, visit Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa