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Page Reviewed / Updated – October 28, 2020

The 10 Best Assisted Living Facilities in Santa Barbara, CA

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Santa Barbara has a rich history of Spanish and Mexican colonization and has carefully preserved its architectural past, making it a stunning place to live. The Parks and Recreation Department offers a wide variety of senior programs that can be enjoyed along the beaches and parks that make up the park system. Seniors also appreciate the public Santa Barbara Golf Club for its challenging holes and scenic views. After a long day in the city, nothing beats dining at the harbor at one of the many restaurants that line Stearns Wharf or the Santa Barbara Harbor.

Santa Barbara is home to over 91,000 people, of which more than 18% are over the age of 65. The city’s population is well educated, with over 49% of residents holding a bachelor’s degree and 87% with a high school degree. Seniors enjoy the mild climate of Santa Barbara, which ranks at 8.9 (out of 10) on the climate index and averages 283 sunny days per year. 

Check out our list of the top 10 assisted living facilities in Santa Barbara. Additionally, find out more about the cost of assisted living in Santa Barbara and what financial assistance programs are available.

Wood Glen Hall

Wood Glen Hall sits along 4 acres of lush, landscaped land in the foothills of Santa Barbara. The expensive one-story building is more like a resort than a senior living community, with gourmet meals and luxury accommodations. Assisted living residents receive 24/7 access to caregivers and live a carefree lifestyle with housekeeping, laundry and maintenance services included in rent. Seniors spend their days dining by the fireside, wandering through the elegant flower beds or walking the garden paths with friends and visiting family members. We included Wood Glen Hall on our list for its impressive garden oasis that is unmatched by any resort or senior living facility in the county. 

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Villa Santa Barbara

Situated in downtown Santa Barbara, near a handful of restaurants and within walking distance of Alameda Park, Villa Santa Barbara is an upscale assisted living facility. The apartment complex features studio and one-bedroom apartments complete with balconies and patios that overlook the stunning coastline. The facility is staffed 24/7 and features three restaurant-style meals served in a community dining area. Seniors enjoy the scenic rooftop terrace and dance floor. Regular outings are planned to the beach, wineries and local casinos. We included Villa Santa Barbara on our list because it's one of the best downtown options for seniors who want to remain within city limits.

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Vista del Monte

Vista del Monte is a hidden gem tucked into the Santa Barbara foothills between the coastline and the mountains, just five minutes away from the buzz of downtown. The elegant assisted living community offers a variety of floor plans and chef-prepared gourmet meals. Seniors are encouraged to stay engaged via a full suite of classes and lectures and a fully stocked and curated library collection. Vista Voices, an in-house choir, is another way for artistic seniors to show their talent when they aren’t busy having fun and staying fit at the Fitness and Aquatic Center located on-site. Founded originally to serve as a retirement community for educators, we placed Visa Del Monte on our list for its extensive list of life-long education and enrichment programs. 

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Alexander Gardens Assisted Living

Situated in the Upper East district of Santa Barbara, Alexander Gardens is an all-inclusive senior community that offers assisted living residences to seniors in need of daily aid to maintain independence. The luxury community takes care of housekeeping, linens and laundry so that residents can focus on enjoying life with grace and renewed engagement. The Mission Revival craftsman-style house was renovated to provide family-like care to seniors. The small community feels more like a hidden resort, with a full array of exercise, memory fitness, art and music activities planned daily. Residents receive personalized gourmet meals three times a day crafted from local fresh ingredients. 

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  • Residents are invited to help maintain the courtyard gardens
  • Apartments are equipped with a 24/7 monitored call system

Valle Verde

Nestled into the bottom of the hills at the southwest corner of Hidden Valley Park, Valle Verde is an assisted living and senior living community that offers stunning resort cottages. The community provides continuing care, allowing seniors to age in place in a scenic and elegant community among friends. Cottages are situated along a lushly landscaped garden and terrace-lined walkways. Shared common spaces include a theater, fitness center and large courtyards. 

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  • Outdoor heated pool and poolside grill 
  • Flexible dining plan includes purchase of fresh produce

Maravilla Santa Barbara

Situated right off Route 1 near the San Jose Creek and an array of stunning eucalyptus trees, Maravilla Santa Barbara is an upscale senior living community that offers independent and assisted living, along with a memory care community. Spread over 20 acres, the campus is full of engaging amenities, including large landscaped gardens, swimming pool and spa, multiple movie theaters, internet lounge, clubhouse and lounge, and gift shop. Seniors enjoy gourmet meals at the Monarch and Mariposa Grille restaurants on-site and have access to caregivers 24/7 or as needed. We included Maravilla Santa Barbara on our list for its outstanding list of amenities within a garden oasis. 

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Located off Route 101, just a few blocks from Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, Villa Riviera is a luxury senior retirement facility that offers assisted living so residents can live carefree. Meal plans let residents enjoy stone oven pizza at the casual Mountain View Cafe or gourmet dinner service in the Oaks Dining Room. There's plenty to do throughout the day, between the state-of-the-art fitness center, heated outdoor pool and spa, painting in the art studio and spending a day in the city. All residents have a customized LifeConnect Wellness plan that aims to create holistic wellness. 

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  • Nu-2-U thrift store on campus 
  • Personal trainers available in the LifeCenter 

Villa Riviera

Villa Riviera is a nonprofit senior living community located in Lower Riviera, just a few blocks away from Orpet Park. Balconies offer scenic views of the Pacific Ocean or the downtown, and grand porch areas provide access to lush garden space and walking paths. Residents enjoy access to 24-hour caregiving staff and security as well as daily housekeeping and laundry service. Seniors spend their days relaxing by the fireside lounge on cooler evenings, taking part in scheduled nature walks and enjoying locally sourced organic meals.

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GranVida Senior Living

Located next to the Albertsons shopping plaza near Route 101 in Carpinteria, GranVida Senior Living offers a resort-like senior living community with personalized care plans and care coordination available. Senior residents are invited to enjoy their days within the elegant campus, playing chess with friends in the living room, enjoying the warm summer breeze on the patio terrace or having their hair done in the salon. In the background, 24/7 care staff ensure every resident has help with ADLs and access to all activities. Menu-style meals are provided three times a day in the upscale dining area, and daily specials like the Winemakers Dinner and fresh catch of the day keep meals exciting.

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Pacifica Senior Living Santa Barbara

Tucked into downtown Santa Barbara near Mission Creek, Pacifica Senior Living offers seniors a base to enjoy the city’s top attractions, such as the Botanic Gardens and State Street shopping. The campus features scenic walking trails through landscaped courtyards, an on-site beauty salon and 24/7 available staff to help out as needed. Studio apartments offer hardwood floors and patios or balconies so residents can enjoy the soothing breeze without stepping out of their homes. Restaurant-style meals are served daily in a community dining area, and snacks are available all day.

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  • Secure campus only accessible via a coded gate
  • Community health resource referrals

The Cost of Senior Living and Care in Santa Barbara

Most of the types of senior living in Santa Barbara are slightly more expensive than the average cost of care in California, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Assisted living in the city is $75 more per month than the state average, home care is $73 more and adult day care just $33 more. 

The only type of senior living where the cost is less in Santa Barbara than the state average is the cost of a semi-private room in a skilled nursing facility, which is $152 less in Santa Barbara. 

Note: Senior care cost data wasn’t available for Santa Barbara, so the data for the closest city, Oxnard, was used. 

How much does Assisted Living Cost in Santa Barbara?

Assisted living in Santa Barbara costs seniors an average of $4,575 a month. This is just slightly more than the California monthly average of $4,500. Sacramento, the state capital, comes in somewhat lower than these prices, at $4,473 a month, on average. These costs are in line with both Los Angeles and San Diego at $4,500 a month.

At just $3,150 a month, Bakersfield reports the lowest assisted living cost among surveyed California cities. Stockton is somewhat more expensive at $3,500 a month, while Chico costs run to $4,000. San Francisco has the state’s most expensive assisted living costs at $5,500, or nearly $1,000 a month more than assisted living in Santa Barbara.

How much does Home Care Cost in Santa Barbara?

Assisted living in Santa Barbara costs seniors an average of $4,575 a month. This is just slightly more than the California monthly average of $4,500. Sacramento, the state capital, comes in somewhat lower than these prices, at $4,473 a month, on average. These costs are in line with both Los Angeles and San Diego at $4,500 a month.

At just $3,150 a month, Bakersfield reports the lowest assisted living cost among surveyed California cities. Stockton is somewhat more expensive at $3,500 a month, while Chico costs run to $4,000. San Francisco has the state’s most expensive assisted living costs at $5,500, or nearly $1,000 a month more than assisted living in Santa Barbara.

How much does Adult Day Care Cost in Santa Barbara?

Adult day care in Santa Barbara costs an average of $1,712 a month. This isn’t much higher than California’s average cost of $1,679. Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego all report an average cost of $1,733 a month, which is just a bit higher than Santa Barbara’s average. Stockton matches the state average of $1,679 a month, coming in slightly higher than Bakersfield at $1,653.

At $2,134 a month, Chico reports the highest cost of home care of all surveyed California cities. At the far opposite side of the spectrum, Los Angeles home care averages just $1,565 a month.

How much does Nursing Home Costs in Santa Barbara?

Nursing home care is slightly cheaper in Santa Barbara than in the rest of California. Costs in the coastal city run to $8,213 a month for skilled nursing, while the state average is $8,365 for a semi-private room. Costs are similar across the state. Sacramento and San Diego, for example, report nursing care costs of $8,517 a month, while nursing home care in Chico runs to $8,456. Care costs in Stockton fall significantly lower at $8,173.

San Francisco reports the highest costs in the state at $9,148. However, Los Angeles averages $7,604, and Bakersfield reports the state’s lowest costs, at $7,513 a month.

Financial Assistance Programs in Santa Barbara

Medicaid Program in Santa Barbara

Medi-Cal is an entitlement program, so all Medi-Cal subsidized plans in the state are open to all applicants who meet the program’s intake requirements.

To be eligible for a Medi-Cal plan, seniors in Santa Barbara must be citizens or legal residents of the United States and permanently reside in the state of California. Seniors may have to provide proof of citizenship and residence during the intake process, though these requirements may be temporarily waived for homeless seniors or those who have a pressing medical need.

Seniors who wish to apply for a Medi-Cal plan must also meet the state’s income eligibility guidelines. These are based off of the federal government’s Federal Benefits Rate, with some adjustment upward for California’s relatively high cost of living. Seniors meet the income requirement if they earn less than 138% of the federal poverty line, or $16,395 a year for seniors applying alone, as of 2018. Married couples may earn up to $22,108 a year and still qualify for benefits, whether both are applying together or one spouse is applying alone. Each additional adult who shares the household with the applicant raises the allowable income threshold by $5,741 a year, whether the extra qualifying adult is applying for Medi-Cal or not.

Applicants who earn more than 138% of the federal poverty line may still be eligible for Medi-Cal coverage. Seniors who earn up to 300% of the poverty line can receive Medi-Cal benefits through a managed care plan with a share of cost and/or co-pay requirement. These vary enormously between specific plans and the recipients’ income level, so only a Medi-Cal intake worker or a certified senior consultant can provide definitive information about eligibility and income requirements.

Seniors in Santa Barbara can apply for Medi-Cal coverage in person, at a county Health and Human Services office, or online through the Covered California website, which lists many other low-cost health insurance options for seniors. The application process can be greatly streamlined for seniors who are already approved for almost any other means-tested benefit program the state offers. Because these programs all use the same intake criteria, the acceptance letter for any of them acts as authorization to enroll in any of the other programs that use the same income and asset guidelines. Programs that pre-qualify a senior for Medi-Cal include:

  • CalFresh, the state’s SNAP or food stamp program
  • WIC
  • TANF, sometimes called welfare or cash aid
  • Section 8 housing support
  • Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP)

Medi-Cal benefits pay for many services seniors in Santa Barbara need to live independently and safely at home. The program and its network affiliates universally cover the cost of preventive care and urgent or emergency care, as well as some or all of the cost of seeing a specialist when recommended or getting a second opinion. Plans also generally cover at least some of the cost of residential care, whether short-term or long-term.

Medicaid Waivers in Santa Barbara

Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)

Seniors who live in Santa Barbara County and receive Medi-Cal benefits can get help with the cost of residential care through the state’s Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). ALWP benefits are open to seniors on a state health insurance plan who have medical clearance to enter a skilled nursing home, but who are willing to opt out in favor of assisted living. Program benefits are paid as a voucher to participating assisted living communities in 15 California counties, including Santa Barbara County. 

Seniors can apply for an ALWP waiver through their Medi-Cal caseworker and receive pre-clearance to move into assisted living. Alternatively, seniors who already reside in a qualifying facility can apply through their property’s benefits specialist. For more information about ALWP, seniors in Santa Barbara can call the program’s local office at (805) 681-4550.

Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) waiver pays many of the costs seniors have when they choose to remain at home rather than move into residential care. Applications are handled by Medi-Cal caseworkers and county social workers. Some MSSP benefits include:

  • Benefits information and advice from experienced case managers
  • Home caregiver assistance that can be delivered to the senior’s own home or the home of a relative
  • Respite care
  • Home improvements for greater access and mobility, such as ramps and rails
  • Some home repairs
  • Transportation and disabled ride vouchers, as well as scheduling service for on-demand medical transportation
  • Household chore assistance
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) call buttons
  • Adult day care, which may be delivered at home or in a residential care setting
  • Temporary protective supervision for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease
  • Meal service at home
  • Senior-specific money management advice from experts
  • Translation and interpreter services

Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver

The Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver pays some of the costs associated with moving out of residential care settings and back into a private home. Seniors in Santa Barbara can apply for this program before their discharge from post-acute and skilled nursing care, or they can request facility benefits specialists apply on their behalf well in advance.

Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)

The Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver program picks up many of the financial odds and ends seniors have to pay in order to live at home. Benefits are approved through a Medi-Cal caseworker, and they include:

  • Adult day care in the home or at a residential care setting
  • Meal delivery
  • Regular social activities with other seniors in Santa Barbara
  • Required physical and mental health therapy in the home or at a facility nearby

Other Financial Assistance Programs in Santa Barbara

In-Home Support Services (IHSS)

For seniors who are living in their own homes, or in the private home of a loved one, Medi-Cal offers support through the In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. IHSS employs thousands of caregivers who must meet background check requirements and attend preliminary training. Seniors enrolled in the program can hire caregivers with IHSS funds, then sign off on caregivers’ time sheets twice a week and authorize payment for their care. Hours are allotted by a program worker and do not roll over from one month to the next. Caregivers may be chosen from a list of nearby providers, or they can be a spouse, friend or family member of the senior receiving benefits.

Paid Family Leave

California’s Paid Family Leave Act allows many family members to care for their senior loved ones at home or in a residential care facility. The program pays a bi-weekly check from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) that supplements missing pay for up to six weeks with medical authorization recommending such care for the senior. Recipients must be spouses or immediate relatives of the senior in need of care, and applications go through the EDD.

More Senior Living Resources in Santa Barbara


Phone Number


Housing Development and Preservation Program (805) 564-5461 The Santa Barbara City Housing Development and Preservation Program administers several low-income and seniors’ fixed-income housing units in the city. The program maintains a current list of affordable rental units, and it can directly assist Santa Barbara seniors in setting up in their new home. Applications can be made online or by phone.
Community Services Department of Housing and Community Development (805) 681-4200 The Santa Barbara County’s Housing and Community Development administers the federal Section 8 low-income housing voucher for county seniors who need assistance paying the rent. Demand is very high for this program, so seniors in Santa Barbara must apply to join the waiting list, which can be done online or by phone.
Alexander House Foundation (805) 966-3665 Seniors on fixed incomes who have resided in Santa Barbara for at least 10 years may be able to apply for rent support through the Alexander House Foundation’s rental assistance program. This benefit is restricted to seniors aged 65 and over. Applications can be made by phone or by emailing a program administrator.
Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP) (805) 617-2897 The Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County can help seniors sign up for low-income home energy assistance program (LIHEAP) including the Energy Crisis Intervention Program (ECIP). ECIP pays an average of $500, and in emergencies up to $1,000, as a one-time payout to cover the cost of overdue home energy bills. Applications can be made by phone or online.

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