Page Reviewed / Updated - November 19, 2020
Seniors who are seeking an urban retirement destination filled with unique cultural attractions, deep historical roots and diversity might find that San Francisco is ideal. Located along the West Coast of California, the city is home to approximately 880,000 residents, and seniors aged 65 and older make up just over 15% of the population.
The city's Chinatown neighborhood is the largest and oldest Chinatown in North America and is filled with authentic Asian restaurants, shops and artwork. San Francisco is also home to a large LGBTQ population, and a dedicated nonprofit agency, Openhouse, operates a number of programs for seniors who identify as LGBTQ. The city also has a number of nationally-ranked hospitals, including the UCSF Medical Center and the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center.
Look through our list of the top 10 assisted living facilities in San Francisco to find the right fit for you or a loved one. Additionally, find out more about the cost of assisted living in San Francisco and what financial assistance programs are available.
350 University Street
San Francisco, CA 94134
Ideally located in San Francisco's stately Garden District, Portola Gardens is a unique assisted living and memory care community. The beautifully-restored historic building is home to 74 seniors, and accommodations include semiprivate and private rooms. Residents can spend their days relaxing in the music area, visiting with friends and neighbors in the Sun Room Cafe and exploring local attractions on one of the regular day trips to nearby parks, museums and restaurants. We included Portola Gardens on our top 10 list due to the beautiful setting and strong focus on dignified, personalized senior care.
624 Laguana Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
The Village at Hayes Valley is a boutique-style senior living community that offers assisted living and memory care services. Centrally located close to shops, bistros and the War Memorial Opera House, amenities include a rooftop lounge with stunning city views, a chapel, a crafts room and a fitness center. Three hearty meals are prepared daily by the in-house chef, and life enrichment activities include movie nights, day trips to Lake Merced, happy hours and holiday celebrations.
2750 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94118
Sagebrook Senior Living at San Francisco is an assisted living and memory care community located in San Francisco's Jordan Park neighborhood. Meals are prepared fresh daily and can be enjoyed in the community dining room or delivered to residents' private suites. The chef is happy to prepare special meals for those with food allergies and dietary preferences. Seniors can choose from a variety of floor plans, including cozy studios with spacious walk-in showers.
1444 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Family owned and operated, Victorian Manor is a small, welcoming assisted living community nestled among stately Victorian homes near Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center. Mature, compassionate caregivers treat every resident with dignity and respect, and the staff team includes a full-time activity coordinator. Healthy balanced meals are served family-style, and recreational activities include tai chi classes, visits from therapy animals and crafting groups.
1601 19th Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94122
Cypress at Golden Gate is a luxurious, peaceful senior living community located just a few blocks from San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate Park. The beautiful, historic setting combines old-world charm with modern features, and the studio, one- and two-bedroom suites are equipped with individual climate controls, kitchenettes and private baths with safety bars. Residents have a wide range of amenities to enjoy, including three landscaped courtyards, a tech center, a handy corner store, a library and a fitness center. Meals are served in the on-site restaurant, which features a number of fresh daily specials crafted from locally-sourced ingredients. We included Cypress at Golden Gate on our top 10 list due to the handy location near shops, green spaces and parks in one of the city's most desirable neighborhoods.
2180 Post Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Rhoda Goldman Plaza is a senior living community founded by Jewish Family and Children's Services and the Mount Zion Health Fund. The facility is open to seniors of all faiths who are seeking a supportive, respectful assisted living experience. Meals feature farm-fresh ingredients and are served on-demand, giving residents the freedom to choose their own dining schedule. Transportation to the nearby UCSF, CPMC and Kaiser medical centers is available seven days a week, and recreational programming includes brain health activities to promote cognitive wellness. We included Rhoda Goldman Plaza on our list due to the strong focus on Jewish values, honor and inclusivity for all.
1550 Sutter Street
San Francisco, CA 94109
Coventry Place San Francisco is a modern mid-rise senior living community that offers residents easy access to world-class health care, cultural institutions and unique dining experiences. It has a fully-equipped fitness center for weekly group exercise classes and individual workouts, a spacious arts and crafts studio, a library and a full-service beauty salon. Gourmet-inspired meals are served in the restaurant, while the club lounge is a great place to enjoy a snack and cocktails with friends. Each studio and one-bedroom suite is equipped with a kitchenette, and pets are welcome upon approval.
1 Thomas More Way
San Francisco, CA 94132
Located just north of I-280 near the Daly City BART station, AlmaVia of San Francisco is a well-appointed, pet-friendly assisted living community. Owned and operated by the faith-based Elder Care Alliance, this community features an on-site chapel, and a spiritual care director is available to support residents of all faiths. Meals are served restaurant-style, and a peaceful tea room, library and computer lab are available. The spacious private apartments are equipped with large, barrier-free bathrooms and ample ensuite storage.
1715 Buchanan Street
San Francisco, CA 94115
Kimochi Home provides culturally-sensitive assisted living care to Japanese seniors. This unique, close-knit community in Japantown houses 19 amulatory residents aged 60 and older, as the building is not wheelchair-accessible. Services are delivered in Japanese and English and include three daily Japanese-style meals, social and recreational activities and transportation to nearby medical appointments. Caring staff are on-site 24 hours a day, and resident accommodations include semiprivate and private rooms. The UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, Japantown Peace Plaza and Japan Center shopping mall are all within a short walk of Kimochi Home.
399 Buena Vista Avenue East
San Francisco, CA 94117
Located just steps from the iconic Buena Vista Park, Buena Vista Manor House is an affordable, well-maintained senior living community. Experienced, dedicated caregivers are on-site 24 hours a day, and St. Mary's Medical Center is nearby. A full-time activities director ensures residents always have plenty of fun and engaging recreational and social opportunities. Daily maid services are included, and the chef-prepared meals are nutritionally-balanced.
Senior living in San Francisco is generally more expensive than elsewhere in the state of California, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. In almost every area, San Francisco reports costs that are either the most expensive in the state for senior care, or they are near the top of surveyed cities. Assisted living in San Francisco, for example, costs seniors an average of $5,500 a month. The equivalent level of care in California in general is $1,000 less, or $4,500 for the same or similar service.
Assisted living in San Francisco costs local seniors an average of $5,500 a month. Across California, costs average about $1,000 less, with the statewide average being exactly $4,500. Los Angeles and San Diego match California at this price, while Stockton is another $1,000 less, at $3,500 a month for assisted living. Across the state, Bakersfield reports one of the lowest prices for assisted living, at just $3,150 a month.
Seniors in San Francisco pay an average monthly cost of $5,625 for home care. This is significantly higher than the California state average cost of $4,957 a month, a price shared by Stockton. Many California cities report lower home care costs than San Francisco, with Chico and Bakersfield coming in lowest of all, at $4,433 and $4,385 a month, respectively.
Adult day care in San Francisco costs an average of $1,733 a month. This is the same price reported by both Sacramento and San Diego, though all three cities are somewhat more expensive than the $1,679 seniors pay on average in California. Chico reports higher average costs for adult day care than San Francisco, with a monthly average cost to seniors of $2,134, while Los Angeles has some of the lowest prices in the state at $1,565 a month.
Nursing home care in San Francisco carries the highest cost in the state among surveyed cities. Average costs here run to $9,148 a month, which is significantly higher than the statewide average of $8,365. At the opposite end of the price spectrum from San Francisco, seniors in Los Angeles and Bakersfield pay an average monthly cost of $7,604 and $7,513 for a semi-private room in a nursing care facility.
Seniors in San Francisco who need help with some or all of their medical bills may be eligible for benefits through Medicaid, which in California is known as Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for many seniors' basic and urgent healthcare needs, as well as for some specialist and prescription drug costs. The program also pays for some residential care services, though financial and medical needs generally have to be verified before approval is granted.
To qualify for Medi-Cal, seniors in San Francisco must show they are citizens or legal residents of the United States and that they currently reside inside the state of California. Medi-Cal also has an income limitation for no-cost services of 138% of the federal poverty line. This translates to an annual maximum income from all sources of $16,395 for singles applying just for themselves.
Married seniors can earn up to $22,108 and still qualify. Each additional adult in the seniors' household adds an extra $5,741 to the applicant's allowable personal income, though there is no requirement that the other adults also apply for Medi-Cal. Seniors who earn more than these limits may still qualify for Medi-Cal benefits, though a share of cost may apply up to 300% of the federal poverty line.
Medi-Cal is structured as an entitlement program that accepts all qualified applicants, with no enrollment caps or waiting periods. Benefits are delivered through in-state private insurers, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, which both offer HMO and PPO plans seniors can browse through online at the Covered California website. Seniors can choose their plan during the initial intake process, and they can switch plans during the annual open enrollment period at the end of the year.
Seniors who already receive help from certain other entitlement programs may be able to fast-track their applications to Medi-Cal. These programs use similar guidelines and many even use the same application forms as Medi-Cal. These programs include:
Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)
Seniors in San Francisco who qualify for placement in a Medi-Cal funded nursing care home may qualify for financial help with the cost of assisted living through California's Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). This voucher pays the monthly cost of senior living in an assisted living facility for seniors in 15 California counties. Seniors in San Francisco can apply directly, through their Medi-Cal case worker, or through the benefits coordinator at the participating assisted living community they are moving into.
Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver
The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) waiver covers many of the expenses seniors incur when they choose to live on their own in San Francisco. Applications for this voucher go through a Medi-Cal case worker. Benefits of the MSSP include:
Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver
Seniors in San Francisco can get help paying many of the costs associated with living independently through the Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver. HCBA picks up some of the expenses incurred while discharging from a residential care facility and returning home. Applications can be submitted through a Medi-Cal case worker or through the discharge planning desk at most residential care facilities in the state.
Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)
San Francisco seniors can apply through Medi-Cal for a Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver. This program helps to cover many of the miscellaneous costs seniors in San Francisco have to pay out of pocket, and most reasonable care expenses can be considered. Program benefits include:
In-Home Support Services (IHSS)
Seniors in San Francisco can get help paying the cost of an in-home caregiver through the state's In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. Seniors who apply for this program through their Medi-Cal case worker are allocated a set number of hours they can authorize for payment to the caregiver of their choice, who can be a spouse, family member or friend. Caregivers must pass a background check and obtain CPR certification, as well as pass through a brief training session at the IHSS office in San Francisco.
Paid Family Leave
Seniors in San Francisco may get in-home assistance from an immediate family member, who can take up to six weeks off from work with pay under the state's Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA). Workers with an accrued benefit amount can apply for leave in advance through the state Employment Development Department (EDD), which usually requires a phone interview and proof of medical need before granting authorization. Proof of a close family relationship to the senior may also be required to access benefits, which may be spent at will.
|San Francisco Housing Authority (SFHA)||(415) 715-5200||The SFHA operates most of San Francisco's public housing and administers the local Section 8 federal housing voucher program. SFHA maintains waiting lists for both programs, and seniors can apply to join online or by mail through the Authority office.|
|Department of Aging and Adult Services||(415) 557-5000||The San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing helps seniors and residents with disabilities find and keep safe and affordable housing in the city. Services include emergency rent assistance, locating and applying for low-income housing, legal services to prevent foreclosure and transitional housing resources. Seniors who need help can contact the Department by phone.|
|Urban Services YMCA||(415) 561-0631||The Urban Services YMCA, located on Fillmore St., offers several emergency services seniors may need to remain safely at home. These include clothing and food support, rental assistance and help scheduling and paying for public transportation. Seniors can ask for more information by phone or in person via walk-in appointment.|
|Central Coast Energy Services||(415) 416-6660||Central Coast Energy Services provides several forms of home energy assistance for San Francisco seniors. The organization processes applications for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which may reduce seniors' home energy bills by up to 30%, as well as emergency utility assistance with overdue bills. Applications for LIHEAP and emergency assistance are available online.|
For additional information and planning, please read our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in California.