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Senior Housing Options



Looking for housing options for you, an aging parent, relative, or friend? Do some research first to determine what kind of assistance or living arrangement you need; what your health insurance might cover; and what you can afford. Then check here for financial assistance resources and guides for making the right choice. Talk to a HUD-approved housing counselor if you have questions about your situation.


Types Of Senior Housing And Care Facilities

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) Independent Senior Apartments Assisted Living Facilities Residential Care Facilities 55+ Lifestyle communities Skilled Nursing Facilities Respite Care-Short Term Stay Home Care Adult Day Care Alzheimer’s Care Hospice Care


Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRC) – A residential community for the remainder of one’s life, with a choice of services and living situations. Seniors can move between Independent Living, Assisted Living and Nursing Home Care based on changing needs at each point in time. These communities allow seniors to “age in place,” with flexible accommodations that are designed to meet their health and housing needs as they change over time. It is different than other senior homes in that residents entering CCRCs sign a long-term contract (often a lifetime contract) that provides for housing, services and nursing care, usually all in one location, enabling seniors to remain in a familiar setting as they grow older. (Also called Life-Care Facility and Life-Care Community).


Independent Senior Apartments are large buildings or complexes with individual apartment for the independent, active, low-income senior. These facilities are designed to enable independent seniors to enjoy a lifestyle with recreational, educational, and social activities. Income restrictions generally apply and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for the assistance. The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program.

  • Market rate: 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 buildings generally having long waiting lists.

Assisted Living Facilities (ALF) are buildings with 50+ small apartments offering safety features such as bathroom grab bars, emergency call system, 24 hour security and staff. These facilities maximize independence by providing apartment style living with services designed for individual needing assistance. Services are provided to address a resident’s health, safety, mobility and personal care needs.

Income restrictions generally apply and individuals must meet certain criteria to qualify for the assistance. The two most common programs are the Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program and the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) program. Services can be adjusted as the resident’s need change.

  • Ability to provide complete personal care services including bathing, dressing, incontinence care, bathroom assistance, medication supervision, mobility support
  • Meals serviced restaurant style in dining room; most faculties offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some facilities offer several choices and alternative to the main menu
  • Room service available for short illness or recuperation, length of time room service can be provided varies with facility
  • Weekly housekeeping and laundry service
  • Opportunities for organized activities and socialization
  • Transportation services for medical appointments, shopping, errands and outings
  • Some facilities have designated areas and programs for Alzheimer/Dementia Care
  • Some facilities only provide Alzheimer/Dementia care
  • Licensed by Community Care Licensing
  • Estimated cost: $2000 – $5000 per month depending on location and care needs. Cost increased as more personal care services are provided. Fees for additional services determined by individual facility.

Residential Care Facility for the Elderly are often referred to as “board and care homes” for individuals who are unable to live alone but do not warrant 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, mobility support
  • Bedside care during periods of minor or temporary illness
  • Transportation to medical appointments depending on facility
  • 24 hour staff’ generally 2 to 3 caregivers for 4 to 8 residents
  • Some homes specialize in caring for individuals with Dementia or Alzheimer’s
  • Licensed by Community care Licensing
  • Estimated cost of care range: $1500- $3000 per month depending on location and individual care needs.

55+ Lifestyles communities are 55+ age restricted communities that offer resort style amenities and social activities. These may be ownership, rental or land lease communities.

Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNF) are called nursing homes, convalescent hospitals, and rest homes. SNF’s are equipped to provide more extensive care needs 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 Health Services, Licensing and Certification Branch
  • Skilled nursing care includes daily nursing services administered by registered nurse, therapist or a licensed vocational nurse
  • Custodial care includes care for individuals not requiring daily services of an RN, therapist or LVN but needing trained individuals to provide assistance with bathing, incontinence care, dressing eating, 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 reimbursed by Medicare or Medicare supplement policies
  • Estimated cost for shared room: $40,000 – $50,000 a year per individual

Respite Care-Short Term Stay – Scheduled short-term care provided on a temporary basis to an individual who is normally cared for by family or support groups at home. The goal of scheduled short-term care is to provide relief (respite) for the caregivers while providing supervised and/or nursing care for the individual. Respite care is also used while transitioning persons from in-patient hospital stay to home.

Home Care is a general term to describe services delivered at home to recovering, disabled, or terminally ill persons in need of medical, nursing, social, or therapeutic treatment. Services may be provided by a nurse, therapist (occupational, speech or physical), social worker or home health aide. (Also called Home Health Agency or HHA.)

Adult Day Care Daily structured programs in a community setting with activities and health-related and rehabilitation services to elderly who are physically or emotionally disabled and need a protective environment. The participant is usually brought to the care facility in the morning and leaves in the evening. Transportation may be provided.

Alzheimer’s Care provides specialized care and housing tailored to the special needs of individuals with this disease.

Hospice Care (Palliative Care) Care provided to enhance the life of a person in the end stages of life rather than the use of heroic lifesaving measures. Today, many senior housing facilities and acute care settings offer hospice services. Hospice care, typically offered in the last six months of life, emphasizes comfort measures and counseling to provide social, spiritual and physical support to the dying patient and his or her family.


Links To Other Senior Living Options:

AARP – Senior Housing Choices CA Advocates for Nursing Home Reform Help Guide – Health, Living Independent Living Resource National Council on Aging Ombudsman Services of Contra Costa Services to Help Seniors Stay at Home NOTICE: If you do not have the Adobe Acrobat Reader to read Portable Document Files, click here to download it for FREE.

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