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Get Pricing & Availability for Assisted Living in San Marcos, CA

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Page Reviewed / Updated – November 13, 2020

The 10 Best Assisted Living Facilities in San Marcos, CA

Located just a couple of miles from the shore, the city of San Marcos is a warm and welcoming place to retire. Route 78 runs right through town, and there are several hotels nearby to make visits from family convenient. Niche named San Marcos one of the best places to retire in San Diego County, ranking it high for diversity, good weather and outdoor activities.

Seniors looking for a community to retire in that embraces nature will find much about San Marcos appeals to them. It has many parks and recreation areas, including a river that runs through town. The city is adjacent to the Elfin Forest Recreational Reserve and has its own lake, and these locations make an ideal place for an evening stroll. Its dining scene is well known among foodies for a diverse selection with options from around the globe.

Note: Information for San Marcos was not available, so data from the nearest city, San Diego, was used.

Check out this list of the top 10 assisted living communities in and around San Marcos to find one that might fit your needs well. Additionally, find out more about the cost of assisted living in San Marcos and what financial assistance programs are available.

Silvergate San Marcos

Silvergate San Marcos lands on this list because of its comprehensive list of care options. Here, residents can have independent living, assisted living and memory care, all under one roof. It's an established community that has been in the area for over 20 years. Residents at Silvergate San Marcos benefit from a variety of social activities planned each day. They can spend time learning tai chi, taking part in arts and crafts classes or brushing up on their tech skills in a computer class. The community also has resident transportation into town when they need to go to medical appointments or wish to do some shopping.

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Brookdale San Marcos

At Brookdale San Marcos, residents are encouraged to stay as active as possible. The caring staff takes care of housekeeping and meals, so residents can explore their hobbies, swim in the pool or hang out with friends in large, welcoming common areas. Staff assists residents with activities of daily living, giving care with dignity. The tech-savvy community has Wi-Fi access throughout and a computer area with a business center for residents to use. It also has a library stocked with many books and other types of reading material. The studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments have kitchenettes, but residents also have the option to eat restaurant-style in the community dining room.

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Meridian at Lake San Marcos

Tucked away between the Lake San Marcos Executive Golf Course and the Lake San Marcos Country Club, Meridian at Lake San Marcos offers an exceptional location. This community sits on Lake San Marcos, providing a waterfront lifestyle to its residents. A large variety of floor plans, ranging from studios to two-bedroom apartments, allow residents to find exactly what they need. Staff provides personalized care to each resident to maintain independence while assisting as needed with activities of daily living. Residents have aces to a range of amenities, including a business center, clubhouse and dog park.

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Brookdale Oceanside

Located convenient to Route 78, Brookdale Oceanside is just minutes from the Pacific coastline. This community offers six planned programs daily, so residents are able to keep up with their hobbies, learn new skills and interact with their neighbors. Activities may include brain games, physical fitness, discussions and classes. It's not uncommon to see residents taking part in gardening outdoors or exercising with the walking club. Wine and cheese socials are often the highlight of the day. The community has apartments with kitchenettes but also provides elegant dining in a restaurant-style setting. An on-site general store and beauty shop help take care of other needs residents may have.

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Pacifica Senior Living Vista

Located close to a grocery store and Brengle Terrace Park, Pacifica Senior Living Vista has an expertly trained team of staff members ready to assist residents with their daily care needs. Here, a licensed nurse is available daily for medical care and needs, and staff provides ample social activities to encourage active living. Residents often take part in outdoor activities to enjoy the climate of Vista, and a secure outdoor patio protects them while they get some fresh air, and walking paths give a place for outdoor exercise or taking dogs for a walk. The wishes of residents are always considered when planning activities and menus at this community.

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Westmont Town Court

Located right next to the Palomar Medical Center's downtown location in Escondido, Westmont Town Court makes it easy to get medical care when needed. It's also near the shopping, dining and cultural activities of the downtown region. Yet with so many activities on campus, residents of Westmont Town Court can find plenty to do to stay busy and active without leaving home. Each apartment has cable and a kitchenette, making a comfortable living area for residents. Routine activities such as lecture discussions and art classes provide interesting ways to spend the day. It even has a resident garden where residents can tend to plants outdoors.

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Redwood Terrace

Redwood Terrace sits in a quiet residential neighborhood across the street from an elementary school in The wide range of housing options are why we ranked Redwood Terrace among the top options in the region. Residents are able to choose from a range of apartment sizes as well as detached homes and cottages. Dining at Redwood Terrace is a positive experience for residents. Fresh produce is woven into chef-created dishes that include many local favorites. It's not uncommon to see tri-tip on the menu.

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Sunrise at La Costa

Located in Carlsbad next to shopping, dining and entertainment Sunrise at La Costa makes it simple to enjoy dinner out or do some shopping. It's also minutes from the Legoland Amusement Park, so residents can take the grandkids somewhere fun when they visit. This community maintains a busy social scene, with events daily to encourage residents to spend time interacting with their neighbors. Residents have studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment options, with kitchenettes in many.

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Alta Vista Senior Living

Sitting right along Route 78, Alta Vista Senior Living in Vista is across the street from the Tri-City Medical Center and within a short drive of the ocean. This convenient location makes it easy to enjoy both Vista and San Marcos and all that they offer. This community has staff on hand and away 24 hours a day, seven days a week, including licensed nurses who perform regular wellness checks. Each apartment home in this community has a large, open floor plan. Emergency call systems help keep residents connected to staff when they need a little extra help. This is a pet-friendly community.

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Atria Encinitas

Atria Encinitas is situated in Encinitas just a mile from the shoreline and close to public transportation and many community services and amenities. This assisted living and independent living community provides comfortable apartment homes for its residents that have their own kitchens. This community ranked among the top in the San Marcos area because of the worry-free living it provides. Staff members are on hand at all times and assist not only with activities of daily living but also with housekeeping and even laundry. This frees residents to pursue activities in line with their interests, instead of focusing on caring for their apartments.

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The Cost of Senior Living and Care in San Marcos

The cost of senior care in San Marcos is generally close to the average price in the rest of California at large, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Assisted living in San Marcos, for example, costs an average of $4,500 a month, which is exactly the reported average cost in California. Monthly costs are nearly as close for adult day care, which costs $1,733 in San Marcos and $1,679 in California.

Note: Senior care cost data wasn’t available for San Marcos, so the data for the closest city, San Diego, was used.

How much does Assisted Living Cost in San Marcos?

Assisted living in San Marcos costs an average of $4,500 a month. This is identical to the average cost for the rest of California. Los Angeles also reports monthly costs of $4,500 for assisted living. Sacramento is close to this range, at $4,473 a month.

By contrast, San Francisco and San Luis Obispo have some of the most expensive assisted living averages in the state. Seniors in these two cities pay $5,500 and $5,450 a month, respectively. Seniors in Bakersfield pay some of the lowest costs in the state. Assisted living there runs to an average of just $3,150 a month.

How much does Home Care Cost in San Marcos?

Home care in San Marcos costs an average of $4,767 a month, which is in line with the exact total Los Angeles and Sacramento report. All three cities are somewhat less expensive than the state average, which is $4,957 a month for home care. San Francisco and San Luis Obispo seniors pay some of the highest costs in the state for this service, at $5,5,625 and $5,053, respectively. Seniors in Bakersfield pay some of the lowest home care costs in the state, at just $4,385 a month on average.

How much does Adult Day Care Cost in San Marcos?

Adult day care costs an average of $1,733 a month for San Marcos seniors. This is exactly the cost seniors pay in Sacramento and San Francisco, though it is a little over $50 more per month than the $1,679 seniors pay across California on average. Many California cities cluster close to the middle for adult day care costs, though one outlier, Chico, reports an average monthly cost of $2,134. Los Angeles rests on the other end of the price continuum, at just $1,565 a month for adult day care.

How much does Nursing Home Costs in San Marcos?

Nursing home care in San Marcos averages $8,517 a month, roughly $150 a month more than the average cost in California, which is $8,365 for a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility. Sacramento matches San Marcos’ average price, at $8,517, while San Francisco tops the list of surveyed cities at $9,148 a month for nursing care.

Some of the lowest costs seniors pay in California are in San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles, where costs average $7,604, or in Bakersfield, which reports an average price of $7,513 a month.

Financial Assistance Programs in San Marcos

Medicaid Program in San Marcos

Seniors in San Marcos who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty line may be eligible for financial assistance through the state Medicaid program, known in California as Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays for basic medical care, some medications and much of the cost of residential care for seniors who qualify for the program. Unlike some assistance programs, Medi-Cal is an entitlement, which means any eligible resident of California who meets the income requirements may apply and receive care with no waiting periods or annual enrollment caps. 

Annual income thresholds are based on federal poverty guidelines, which are adjusted upward every two years. In 2018, seniors applying for Medi-Cal could get no-cost healthcare if they earned less than $16,395 a year from all sources combined. Married couples are allowed to earn up to $22,108 a year and may apply individually or together. Each additional adult who lives in the household raises the allowed income level by an extra $5,741, whether that adult is applying for Medi-Cal or not.

Medi-Cal delivers health coverage through an in-state network of private health insurance companies, such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente. Medi-Cal plans offered through these carriers can be examined, and seniors may choose the one they prefer, through the Covered California website. Applications can also be submitted through a county Human Services office. Medi-Cal plans can be either HMOs or PPOs, and seniors must choose their preferred option during the annual open enrollment period at the end of the year.

Many seniors in San Marcos can streamline their application process if they have previously been approved for certain other low-income benefit programs. These programs use the same enrollment and eligibility criteria as Medi-Cal, and so approval by one or more of them is considered evidence of eligibility for Medi-Cal. Some programs even use the same application form as Medi-Cal. Compatible programs that Medi-Cal intake workers can accept include:

  • TANF, also called Cash Aid or welfare
  • CalFresh, the state’s SNAP or Food Stamp program
  • WIC
  • Section 8 housing support
  • Acceptance into subsidized low-income housing
  • Refugee status or federal approval of asylum

Medicaid Waivers in San Marcos

Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)

Seniors who live in San Diego County may be able to pay some of the costs associated with assisted living with an Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP) voucher. This voucher applies to seniors who qualify for Medi-Cal and have a medical recommendation to live in a skilled nursing care home. To get the waiver, seniors must opt out of the higher level of care and transition into a participating assisted living facility. ALWP vouchers are only available in 15 counties in the state, including San Diego.

Applications for ALWP vouchers can be made prior to moving into assisted living, through a Medi-Cal caseworker, or after the move through a benefits specialist at the facility. Seniors can also call the San Diego County benefits office through the Choose Well helpline at (619) 795-2165.

Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver

Seniors who choose to remain in their homes in San Marcos may be able to pay some of the associated costs of independent living through the state’s Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) voucher. This voucher covers many of the costs that help keep seniors safe and comfortable in their own homes, including:

  • Expert advice about eligible benefits from case managers
  • Caregiver assistance at home
  • Respite care
  • Adult day care
  • Some mobility-based home improvements, such as new wheelchair ramps and guard rails
  • Approved home repairs and weatherization
  • Vouchers for public transportation, as well as scheduling and payment assistance for medical and disabled ride services
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) hardware, including call buttons
  • Protective supervision in the home for seniors with dementia
  • Translation and interpreter services
  • Meal service
  • Financial advice from certified senior financial advisers

Seniors in San Marcos can apply for the MSSP voucher through their Medi-Cal caseworker. They can also submit an application through the benefits specialist at a residential facility they are transitioning out of, such as a post-acute care home.

Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver

Seniors can get some of the cost of moving home from residential care covered by the Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver program. This voucher pays for miscellaneous reasonable expenses related to the transition back home after time spent in residential care. Applications are usually submitted through the discharge or benefits planner at the discharging facility.

Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)

San Marcos seniors with unmet financial needs can get some help through the Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver program. This catch-all program helps seniors whose needs might otherwise fall through the gaps with financial assistance paying for, among other things:

  • Adult day care in the home or at a local facility
  • At-home or facility-based meal delivery
  • Scheduled social events with other seniors in the program
  • Physical and mental health therapy delivered either at the seniors’ home or in a local facility

Other Financial Assistance Programs in San Marcos

In-Home Support Services (IHSS)

Seniors in San Marcos may be able to get in-home caregiver assistance through the In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. This voucher pays seniors’ preferred caregivers for the hours they work in the seniors’ home. Caregivers can be spouses, family or friends of seniors in the program, provided they are CPR certified and attend a training session. Seniors can enroll in IHSS through their Medi-Cal caseworker. Program participants are allotted a certain number of hours per month the state will pay for caregiver help, and they must sign off on hours worked every two weeks to authorize payment.

Paid Family Leave

San Marcos seniors can get temporary caregiver assistance from an immediate family member who has taken up to a six-week leave of absence from work under California’s Paid Family Leave Act. This act provides for payroll deductions from employees’ paychecks, which can then be paid back out to cover lost wages during family members’ illness or transitional periods when coming home from residential care. 

Benefit amounts vary with the workers’ previous wages during a three-year look-back period, and with the amount of money, the employee has contributed to the fund over the years. Applications should be submitted as early as possible through the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD), which may be done by phone. EDD may require documentation of the family relationship and medical need for support, as well as to conduct a telephone interview as part of the approval process. By state law, employers are required to hold the caregiver’s job open for up to six weeks while they are out.

More Senior Living Resources in San Marcos


Phone Number


San Diego County Health and Human Services (HHS) (858) 694-3900 San Diego County provides multiple services that help San Marcos seniors get or stay in affordable housing. HHS administers the local Section 8 housing choice voucher program, offers emergency homelessness assistance and maintains a list of affordable properties in the area. Seniors can get in touch online or by phone.
Aging and Independence Services (800) 510-2020 San Diego County’s Aging and Independence Services provides caregiver support, training resources and financial assistance for seniors in San Marcos who wish to remain in their own homes. Seniors can apply by phone.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (800) 411-7343 San Diego Gas & Electric offers reduced rates to San Marcos residents with qualifying low income through the state-funded LIHEAP system. This program can significantly reduce monthly home energy costs, and seniors in San Marcos can apply for it directly through the mail with SDG&E. Applications can be requested by phone.

For additional information and planning, please read our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in California.