Page Reviewed / Updated - August 20, 2019
This guide focuses on the cost of senior care in Alameda, California, and compares the options available elsewhere in the state. Financial assistance programs at local and state levels are also explained, as well as affordable housing resources for low-income seniors. Read more about aged care and benefit programs at the state level in our guide to paying for senior care in California.
All levels of care are relatively expensive in Alameda compared to California as a whole. According to the Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey, assisted living has an average monthly cost that is $1,000 higher than the state average, and nursing home care is higher by roughly $800.
Note:Data on the average cost of senior care wasn't available for Alameda, so the data for the closest city, San Francisco, was used.
Alameda and San Jose share the same average monthly cost for assisted living at $5,500 per month, which makes these two areas the most expensive in the state. In nearby Napa, the price is just slightly lower at $5,425, while Vallejo is relatively affordable with an average of $4,350.
The most affordable assisted living in California is in Bakersfield with an average cost of $3,150 per month, and the cheapest major cities are Sacramento and Los Angeles with prices of $4,473 and $4,500 per month, respectively.
In-home care in Alameda is relatively expensive with an average cost of $5,625 per month compared to the state average of $4,957. The cost is roughly $300 higher in Napa — the highest in California for this level of care — and $1,100 lower in Vallejo.
Visalia has the cheapest home care in the state at an average of $4,290 per month, followed by Bakersfield at $4,385. Los Angeles and Sacramento have the lowest cost of all major cities, both with an average monthly cost of $4,767.
Adult day care in Alameda has an average monthly cost of $1,733 which is slightly more expensive than the California average of $1,679. In nearby Napa, the cost is approximately $400 higher, making it the most expensive in the state for this level of care.
Hanford has the lowest cost for adult day care at $867 per month, roughly half that of the state average, followed by Visalia with an average of $1,040.
Nursing home care in Alameda has an average cost of $9,148 per month, which is roughly $800 higher than California as a whole. Napa has the highest cost in the state at $9,962 per month, while Vallejo is substantially cheaper at $8,167.
Visalia is the most affordable area in the state for nursing home care with a monthly average of $6,540. Los Angeles has the lowest cost of all major cities at $7,604 per month.
The federal government partners with individual states to support low-income and other at-risk residents through the state-run Medicaid programs; in California, it's called Medi-Cal.
Qualified residents receive essential health benefits including:
Assisted living may also be covered if the individual successfully applies for the Assisted Living Waiver program, which is explained in this guide. However, even when fully qualified, assisted living isn't an entitlement as part of Medi-Cal, so there is often a waiting period. Nursing home care is an entitlement, so all qualified applicants will be covered with no delay.
Recipients of Supplemental Security Income are entitled to full Medi-Cal coverage with no further eligibility checks.
Californians applying for Medi-Cal based on age or disability must be a legal resident of the state and 65 years of age or older, or meet the standard of disability as defined by the Social Security Administration.
Applicants must also be at or below the limits for income and assets. As of 2019, Medi-Cal allows an income up to $1,271 per month for an individual applicant and $1,720 for a married couple if both are applying for services. The limit for countable assets is $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for a couple if both are applying.
Assisted Living Waiver
California's Department of Health Care Services manages the Assisted Living Waiver program. The ALW is not yet available statewide, but it's currently available in Alameda County and much of the surrounding area, and residents are not restricted based on their home county.
The goal of this program is to prevent elderly or disabled Californians from being placed in a nursing home when an alternative such as assisted living would be more beneficial to the resident and more cost-effective for the state.
Applicants must be eligible for full Medi-Cal coverage. The application process begins with an assessment by qualified nurses, and this assessment must show that the applicant requires a level of care equal to that of a Medi-Cal-funded nursing home. The assessment must also show that the individual can safely live in assisted living or public housing as an alternative to a nursing home.
The Assisted Living Waiver isn't an entitlement program under Medi-Cal, which means there is often a delay to receive services. Current residents of Medi-Cal-funded nursing homes are given a higher priority while waiting to receive ALW services.
Residents of Alameda County can arrange an assessment through the Norcal Care Coordinator Agency and download the pre-screening form from the website. Norcal staff will handle the application after the assessment is complete. Call (925) 519-6100 for assistance.
More details about this program can be found in our California ALW guide.
Medi-Cal HCBS Waivers
Waivers for home and community-based services are created at the state level so that some federal restrictions on Medicaid can be lifted on an individual basis. The main goal of HCBS waivers is to create alternatives for seniors and people with disabilities who wish to remain living outside of a nursing home.
Applicants are assessed to evaluate the level of care required to keep them safe and healthy, and it must be determined that the applicant requires HCBS waiver services in order to prevent nursing home placement. Medi-Cal coverage with no share of cost is also required.
Home and community-based services include:
HCBS waiver services aren't entitlements under Medi-Cal, which means applicants must wait to receive services if there are no places available at the time.
Applications for home and community-based services must be submitted to the In-Home Operations division of DHCS. Alameda residents can call the Northern California IHO on (916) 552-9105 or send an email to [email protected] to request services.
In-Home Supportive Services
The IHSS program is managed locally by Alameda County Social Services. It uses federal and state funds to help seniors and other at-risk groups remain in their own home and therefore delay the need for residents to be placed in a nursing home.
Applicants qualify for individual services based on their needs and the number of activities of daily living they require assistance with.
In-Home Supportive Services may include:
Services are available to Medi-Cal recipients who are at least 65 years of age, or blind or disabled by Social Security standards. Applicants are assessed by a social worker in the early stages of the application process, and it must be determined that the applicant requires IHSS in order to delay the need for nursing facility care.
Alameda County residents can apply for the IHSS program by calling (510) 577-1900 or by downloading the application form on the Social Services website.
The local housing authority manages 415 units of public housing for low-income residents of Alameda County. Rent and utilities are subsidized by the federal government. Some units are designated for seniors, and there are options for disabled residents. HACA also manages the Section 8 rental assistance program in the county.
This is an affordable housing community on Stargell Avenue in Alameda for low-income residents. It's a participant in the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program, which sets a limit on the maximum rent a tenant can be charged.
This rental complex on Neptune Gardens Avenue in Alameda has 52 units for low-income residents. It's a participant in the LIHTC program.
This is an affordable housing community on Crolls Garden Court that offers apartments with up to three bedrooms for low-income residents. Rent is subsidized by the federal government through HUD.