The Golden State has something for everyone with its warm temperatures and diverse parts of the state where you can do everything from wine tasting to skiing to visiting National Parks, and of course, surfing. The state has programs and tax incentives designed to make it attractive for seniors to live here too.

Fresh food is big here thanks to the large agriculture industry and plenty of restaurants to eat at. From vegan food to burgers, pasta, and allergy-friendly food, California serves it up. Plus there are endless entertainment options to choose from including art, live theater, sports, and music festivals.

Area Agencies on Aging

California Department of Aging
1300 National Drive, Suite 200
Sacramento, CA 95834-1992
click here to visit the California Department of Aging website

The California Department of Aging contracts with and provides leadership and direction to Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) that coordinate a wide array of services to seniors and adults with disabilities at the community level and serve as the focal point for local aging concerns. You can locate a AAA in your area by calling 1-800-677-1116 or find your county agency in the list below.

  • Adult Day Health Care
    The Adult Day Health Care (ADHC) Program is a licensed community-based day health program that provides services to older persons and adults with chronic medical, cognitive, or mental health conditions and/or disabilities that are at risk of needing institutional care.
  • Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)
    The primary objectives of the program are to 1) Restore or maintain optimal capacity for self-care to frail elderly persons or adults with disabilities, and 2) Delay or prevent inappropriate or personally undesirable institutionalization.
    Each center has a multidisciplinary team of health professionals who conduct a comprehensive assessment of each potential participant to determine and plan services needed to meet the individual's specific health and social needs. Services provided at the center include the following: professional nursing services; physical, occupational and speech therapies; mental health services; therapeutic activities; social services; personal care; hot meals and nutritional counseling; and transportation to and from the participant’s residence.
  • Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
    This Program provides disease prevention services or health promotion programs. Services include routine health screening, nutrition counseling, nutrition education and activities that promote physical fitness, falls prevention, emotional well being, and evidence-based health promotion programs. Individuals participate in programs at multipurpose senior centers, congregate nutrition sites, through home-delivered meals programs, and at other locations.
  • Family Caregiver Support Program
    Services are available to family and other unpaid caregivers supporting older individuals, as well as grandparents and older relatives caring for children. Each area agency is responsible for determining their array of services; these may include caregiver information, assistance in gaining access to services, counseling and training support, temporary respite, and limited supplemental services to complement the care provided by caregivers.
  • HICAP - Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program
    This program (HICAP) provides personalized counseling, community education, and outreach events for Medicare beneficiaries. HICAP is the primary local source for accurate and objective information and assistance with Medicare benefits, prescription drug plans, and health plans. These include Prescription Drug Plan coverage, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicare supplemental policies, Medicare Savings Programs, and long term care insurance.
  • Legal Assistance
    States provides funds to the Legal Services Projects for older persons. The projects identify legal problems and legal service needs of older individuals and adults with disabilities within their communities. The Projects assist the state's seniors and adults with disabilities with a variety of legal problems concerning housing, consumer fraud, elder abuse, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), Medicare, Medi-Cal, age discrimination, pensions, nursing homes, protective services, conservatorships, and other matters.
  • Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
    This program investigates and endeavors to resolve elder abuse complaints in long-term care facilities and residential care facilities for the elderly. Residents or their family members can file a complaint directly with their local program. Ombudsman services are free and confidential and include:
    • Questions or concerns about quality of care
    • Questions or concerns about financial abuse
    • Suspected physical, mental or emotional abuse of residents
    • Witnessing services for Advance Health Care Directives
    • Requesting an Ombudsman to attend a resident care plan meeting
    • Requesting an Ombudsman to attend a resident or family council meeting
  • Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP)
    MSSP sites provide social and health care management for frail elderly clients who are certifiable for placement in a nursing facility but who wish to remain in the community. The goal of the program is to arrange for and monitor the use of community services to prevent or delay premature institutional placement of these frail clients. The services must be provided at a cost lower than that for nursing facility care. The services that may be provided via MSSP include:
    Adult Day Care / Support Center, Housing Assistance, Chore and Personal Care Assistance, Protective Supervision, Care Management, Respite, Transportation, Meal Services, Social Services, Communications Services
  • Nutrition
    Nutrition services provide a vital link in maintaining the health of older Californians by preventing premature institutionalization and improving their overall quality of life. Participants are provided an opportunity to contribute to the cost of the meal. Meals must meet nutritional standards by providing a minimum of one-third of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).
  • Senior Companion Program
    Senior Companion volunteers meet critical community needs and touch the lives of adults who need extra assistance to live independently in their own homes or communities. They serve frail older adults, adults with disabilities, those with terminal illnesses, and offer respite for caregivers.
    Senior Companion volunteers assist their adult clients in basic but essential ways:
    • Provide respite for caregivers;
    • Report physical or emotional changes to a care management team, doctor, family member;
    • Offer companionship and friendship to isolated and frail adults;
    • Assist with simple chores;
    • Assist with grocery shopping and meal preparation;
    • Read to the visually impaired;
    • Prepare correspondence for the physically challenged;
    • Provide transportation to medical and other appointments; and
    • Add richness to their clients' lives.
California Agencies on Aging:

Health Care

California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) regulates health care service plans. DMHC assures healthcare laws are followed, and that plan members get the right care at the right time.
Toll-free number:
Complaint forms are at their website

California HealthCare Foundation
The foundation's functions include:

  • Improving clinical outcomes and quality of life for Californians with chronic disease.
  • Reducing barriers to efficient, affordable health care for the underserved.
  • Promoting greater transparency and accountability in California's health care system
  • Supporting the implementation of health reform and advancing the effectiveness of California's public coverage programs
See more at their website

Respite Care

Respite (In-Home) Services Respite means intermittent or regularly scheduled temporary non-medical care and/or supervision provided in the person's home. In-Home Respite services are support services which typically include:

  • Assisting the family members to enable a person with developmental disabilities to stay at home;
  • Providing appropriate care and supervision to protect that person's safety in the absence of a family member(s);
  • Relieving family members from the constantly demanding responsibility of providing care;
  • Attending to basic self-help needs and other activities that would ordinarily be performed by the family member

Respite services typically are obtained from a respite vendor. For more information about respite services, contact a California Department of Developmental Services regional center representative.
Here are a few San Diego County vendors:
  • Kaiser Foundation Hospital Hospice Agency
    San Diego Mission Rd
    San Diego 92108-2444
    (619) 641-4100 10992
  • Palomar Pomerado Home Health
    1540 E Valley Pkwy
    Escondido 92027-2316
    (760) 796-6800
  • Scripps Home Health Care Services
    Chesapeake Dr
    San Diego 92123-1392
    (858) 715-7300 9619

Assisted Living Communities

Your retirement planning should be based on understanding the options associated with Assisted Living. As part of a retirement plan, these options combine housing, support services, and health care, as needed. Assisted living is a retirement service for individuals who require assistance with everyday activities such as meals, medication management or assistance, bathing, dressing, and transportation. Some residents may have memory disorders, including Alzheimer's, or they may need help with mobility, incontinence, or other challenges of senior life. Residents are assessed to determine the level of service they may need. These retirement services generally include 24/7 supervision, three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation, minor medical attention, personal care assistance, security and emergency call, exercise programs, social and educational activities. In addition, some Assisted living communities may provide: gardens, libraries, and chapels.

Assisted living communities are operated by both profit and non-profit organizations. Pricing can range from $1000 to over $4,000 per month based on your location. There may be extra fees for special services.

See our full Assisted Living page for more information, and our list of California Assisted Living resources to help you find a place that meets your needs.

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Adult Day Care

Adult Day Care is a service for frail, physically or cognitively impaired seniors, and their caregivers. Numerous stand-alone adult day care facilities and adult day care centers are available in urban and suburban areas to provide elderly care. Check your state here. A large percentage of Adult Day Care centers are operated on a nonprofit or public basis. Many centers are affiliated with multi-service entities such as home care, assisted living, nursing facilities, and hospitals.

Congregate, assisted living or nursing care communities may offer elderly care as an "outpatient" service to the neighboring population on a per-day basis. Those that do may also provide respite care for a weekend, or a week. Senior centers may also offer senior day care as one of their services.

See our full Adult Day Care page for more information, and our list of California Adult Day Care resources to help you find a provider that meets your needs.

Senior Apartments

Senior Apartments

You may choose to spend your golden years in a community designed especially for mature adults. Senior living facilities come in many sizes and shapes. Senior apartments are one such chose. A Senior Apartment allows you to take advantage of many amenities and personalized services without having to maintain a house and yard.

Senior apartments should be a consideration for older adults that can take care of themselves. Aside from age-restrictions, these apartments are usually developed the same as standard apartments. Some of these apartments are also equipped with items such as handrails and pull cords to make getting around and living easier. Also, these apartments provide a community of elderly neighbors without the hassles of a larger home to manage. Properties can vary in terms of services but typically offer apartment living and services designed specifically for independent, active seniors 55 and older. Since many of these residences are designed for active seniors, most do not offer meal service, housekeeping, or medical services. Senior apartment complexes are usually located near senior centers, parks, shopping malls, golf courses, and public transportation. Some provide van services to nearby shopping and needed services.

Senior apartments can be found in many communities, some are under federal housing guidelines and will only accept low-income seniors, but most are privately owned. Many of the privately owned properties offer reduced rents to low-income tenants with assistance from Dept. of Housing Urban Development (HUD). You should be aware that senior apartments usually have a captured audience with a significant waiting lists period.

See our full Senior Apartments page for more information, and our list of California Senior Apartments resources to help you find a place that meets your needs.

Skilled Nursing Facilities

The type of care that may be administered ONLY BY A NURSING HOME near you is defined by state regulations. Generally, "medical procedures" and assistive acts requiring a nurse to physically "handle" a patient are limited to nursing home providers, when not in a hospital. For example, changing bandages for deep wounds is often only permitted in Nursing Homes, as is turning a patient in bed who cannot turn themselves.

See our full Skilled Nursing Facilities page for more information, and our list of California Skilled Nursing Facilities to help you find a place that meets your needs.


"Cohousing" refers to a type of collaborative housing that attempts to overcome the alienation of modern subdivisions in which no one knows his or her neighbor, and where there is no sense of community. The typical cohousing community has 20 to 30 units, privately owned single-family homes or apartments, arranged in such a way as to encourage interaction with neighbors. It often has a common house, workshops, shared gardens and a greenhouse, meeting and exercise rooms, and often a shared kitchen and dining room where residents may choose to prepare and share meals. In many cases, more than one generation of a family will live in cohousing.

See our full Cohousing page for more information, and our list of California Cohousing resources to help you find a place that meets your needs.

Shared Housing

Home sharing is an alternative long term living arrangement where two unrelated people choose to live for mutual benefit.

See our full Shared Housing page for more information, and our list of California Shared Housing resources to help you find a place that meets your needs.

Congregate Housing

Congregate communities offer independent living in separate private apartments, and the opportunity to share activities of daily living with other residents as one chooses. They may offer rental or ownership units. Learn more about it on our Congregate Housing page.

Here is a list of Congregate Housing resources in California:

Alzheimer's Homes

There may come a time when a person with Alzheimer's disease will need more care than can be provided at home. The individual may need to move into residential care, such as assisted living or a nursing home. Planning for a move into a care facility should begin well before admission is needed. This advanced planning allows families to learn about what care options are available to determine what will best be able to meet the needs of an individual with dementia, to anticipate the costs of care, and to find the financial resources. Below are some of the communities that provide Alzheimer's related care.

Here is a list of facilities in California that specialize in Alzheimer's care:

Senior Education

Did you know that taking a class in just about any subject can improve your cognitive abilities, rejuvenate your memory, and have fun all at the same time?

See our full Senior Education page for more information, and our list of California Senior Education resources to help you find a school that will inspire you to keep learning!

Elder Law

Elder Law Attorneys work primarily with people as they age. These attorneys usually coordinate with others in various fields to provide their clients with a wide variety of services.

See our full Elder Law page for more information, and our list of California Elder Law resources to help you find a school that will inspire you to keep learning!

Moving and Storage Services

Make sure you have the information you need to protect your memories, money, and belongings from moving problems. The best defense against moving difficulties is to be informed and aware of your options when choosing a reputable mover. While most household moves go smoothly, there are many pitfalls of which you should be aware. It can also be stressful, even under the best of circumstances.

Use the moving checklist to help guide you through the moving venture.

A critical step is to read and understand all information provided by the mover. These should include the following basic documents as part of your move:

The estimate should clearly describe, in writing, all charges for services the mover will perform. Make sure the estimate is signed by the mover. Do not accept oral estimates.

Bill of Lading
The bill of lading is a contract between you and the mover and a receipt of your belongings. You should be given a partially completed copy of the bill of lading before the mover leaves the residence at origin.

Order for Service
The order for service is a list of all the services the mover will perform and shows the dates your household goods will be picked up and delivered

The inventory is the receipt showing each item you shipped and its condition. Be sure you receive a written copy of the inventory after your household goods are loaded and that you agree with its description of your household goods' condition.

See our list of California Moving Companies

Aging In Place

"Aging in place" is growing older without having to move. Aging in place with supportive services is one of the most desirable ways of aging. Aging in place can achieve efficiencies enabled by the customized care. The most successful aging in place approaches focus on the provision of the most appropriate care for the specific individual. Thus avoiding wasted costs brought on by a "generic" care model.

An aging in place scenario creates housing and health care options to provide support as defined by an individualís wishes and efforts to live independently. Aging in place can work best when it is employed as a part of a comprehensive plan for retirement and aging. An essential step in implementing aging in place is to make your home aging friendly. As we age, we don't hear so well, we sometimes forget or get confused, and we even outlive doctor's predictions about our longevity. So as long as we persist in growing older, why not arrange our homes to accommodate our reality. Incorporate memory triggers into the way we arrange cabinets and counters, add soft fabrics to muffle background noises, change appliances to better accommodate our short-comings.

If you want to learn more, visit our Age in place section. Once you have an idea of the changes needed in the home, it is time to discuss the changes with a contractor/builder in your area. See our list of California Aging In Place Specialists.

Hospice care

Hospice care is healthcare that specializes in the quality of life for people who are suffering from an advanced, life-limiting illness. Hospice care provides compassionate care for people in the final stages of an incurable disease so that they may live as well and comfortably as possible.

To learn more, visit our Hospice Care section. To find a specialist in your area, see our list of California Hospice Care Specialist.

Reverse Mortgage

An FHA guaranteed Reverse Mortgage program enables older homeowners (62+) to 'borrow back' a portion of the equity in their home and convert it into cash while remaining in their home for as long as they want. They remain on the title and do NOT have to make any loan payments for as long as they continue to live in the home and it remains their primary residence. When the last borrower sells, moves out or passes away, the loan becomes due. This enables many senior homeowners to age in place.

Should you fail financial assessment, you may still be eligible for a reverse mortgage with a mandated lifetime tax and insurance set-aside.

For additional financial information, see our Reverse Mortgage Overview and Finance Information

State Licensing

Alzheimer's State Regulations
Alzheimer's Unit Requirements are set by the Department of Social Services Community Care Licensing Division (call them at 916-657-2346).
Regulations were revised to permit secured perimeters for Alzheimer's residents. Facilities may opt to install delayed egress doors or lock perimeters. A special permit is required for these special units.

Assisted Living State Regulations
Assisted Living Regulatory Information
Department of Social Services
Community Care Licensing Division
(916) 657-2346
Residential Care Facilities For The Elderly is a housing arrangement chosen voluntarily where 75 percent of the residents are 60 years of age or older and where varying levels of care and supervision are provided. Facility staff may assist residents with the self-administration of medication.

Insurance State Regulations
Contact: Department of Insurance
300 Capitol Mall, #1500
Sacramento, CA 85814
The Consumer Services Division (CSD) handles inquiries, responds to consumer complaints in regards to claims handling practices, rating and underwriting issues.


  • Tax Rate: 1% to 9.3%
  • Six income brackets from $5,834 the lowest to $38,291 the highest.
  • Joint filers pay twice the tax for half the income.
  • Tax Credits: Single - $80, married - $160, Dependents - $251, 65 or older $65
  • Standard Deduction: $3004 for a single person, $6008 for a married couple filing jointly
  • Federal Income Tax Deduction: 0.
  • Public Pension Exclusion: $40 for military.
  • Private Pension Exclusion: none.
  • Social Security Exemption: full.
  • Inheritance Tax: None
  • Sales Tax: 7.25% (up to 8.25% with additional County or City taxes)
  • Food and prescription drugs exempt

For current and additional information, see the California Franchise Tax Board.