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Cost of Assisted Living in Vista, California

Page Reviewed / Updated - July 09, 2019

This guide is for seniors in Vista, their caregivers and families who may need information about local senior living options. It is meant to clarify the various levels of senior care local seniors can choose between, as well as to illuminate the likely costs of each. Resources are also included for seniors who may need state- and city-specific assistance to pay some of the common costs associated with assisted and independent living in the Vista area.

For more information about senior living in Vista, please see our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in California.

The Cost of Senior Living and Care in Vista

The cost of senior living in Vista tends to stay close to the cost of equivalent levels of care across the rest of the state of California, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. Assisted living, for example, costs an average of $4,500 in both Vista and the state at large. Adult day care is a little more expensive in Vista, at $1,733 a month to California's $1,679. Other levels of care diverge somewhat in price, though Vista remains within a few hundred dollars a month of the state average.

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

How much does Assisted Living Cost in Vista?

Assisted living in Vista costs $4,500 a month, on average, which is the same price seniors pay across the rest of the state. Sacramento, the state capital, is close behind these prices, at an average of $4,473 a month for assisted living. Los Angeles seniors also pay an average of $4,500 a month for care.

Some California cities range far from this median cost, however. San Francisco, for example, averages $5,500, while San Luis Obispo is close behind at $5,450. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Bakersfield seniors pay an average of $3,150 a month for assisted living, while seniors in Stockton pay an average of $3,500, exactly $1,000 a month less than both Vista and the state of California.

How much does Home Care Cost in Vista?

Home care costs an average of $4,767 a month in Vista. This is exactly the average cost also reported by Sacramento and Los Angeles, and it's almost $200 a month less than the California state average cost of $4,957. Stockton matches the state at this price, which is close to the middle range of home care costs in the state. 

San Francisco is one of the more expensive cities in California for home care, where seniors pay an average of $5,625 a month. Bakersfield seniors have typical prices on the opposite end, at an average of $4,385, while Chico seniors pay a monthly average of $4,433 for the same level of care.

How much does Adult Day Care Cost in Vista?

Adult day care in Vista costs an average of $1,733 a month. The average seniors pay across the rest of California is $1,679. Sacramento and San Francisco both match Vista, with seniors in each city also paying $1,733 a month for adult day care, while seniors in Stockton pay the state average of $1,679.

Los Angeles is the most affordable city surveyed for adult day care, at just $1,565 a month, while Chico runs some of the highest costs in the state, at $2,134.

How much does Nursing Home Costs in Vista?

Nursing home care in Vista costs an average of $8,517 a month. Sacramento reports the same price, which is close to $150 a month more than the California state average cost of a semi-private room, which is $8,365.

Across the state, some of the lowest costs for nursing home care can be found in Los Angeles and San Luis Obispo, which both average $7,604 a month for nursing home care, while Bakersfield seniors pay an average of $7,513, the lowest price among surveyed cities in California. San Francisco has some of the highest costs for nursing home care, at $9,148 a month, or $631 a month more than seniors pay for similar care in Vista.

Financial Assistance Programs in Vista

Medicaid Program in Vista

Seniors in Vista may be able to get help paying some or all of the costs of residential care through the state-funded Medicaid healthcare program, which in California is known as Medi-Cal. Medi-Cal pays the cost of basic and emergency healthcare, as well as many prescription drugs and some long-term care options seniors may need, such as nursing home care or memory care.

The program delivers benefits through an in-state provider network that functions exactly like private health insurance, with both HMO and PPO options seniors can choose between during the annual open enrollment period. Medi-Cal benefits are an entitlement, which means all eligible seniors in Vista can sign up for the program without waiting periods or annual enrollment caps. 

Seniors in Vista may be eligible for coverage if they meet Medi-Cal's residency and financial requirements. Seniors applying for Medi-Cal must be citizens or legal residents of the United States and residents of the state of California, though the state residency requirement may be temporarily waived in the event of an emergency.

Applicants' income is limited to less than 138% of the federal poverty line, which set Medi-Cal's maximum income threshold at $16,395 a year for seniors applying alone. Married couples in California can apply for no-cost Medi-Cal if they earn up to $22,108 a year from all sources combined. Each additional adult in the seniors' household adds an extra $5,741 to the total allowable income, whether the other adults are applying for Medi-Cal or not. Seniors who earn more than these limits may still be eligible for Medi-Cal if they earn up to 300% of the federal poverty rate, though seniors in this category may be asked to pay an annual share of the cost before their benefits kick in. 

Seniors in Vista who need Medi-Cal coverage can browse through the available plan options, compare prices and coverage levels and submit an application online through the Covered California website. They can also apply in person or by mail through the San Diego County Office of Human Services, though this process takes longer than an online sign-up.

Seniors in Vista who are already approved for certain other low-income programs may be able to speed up their approval for Medi-Cal by showing their approved status for means-tested entitlements. Many of these other programs use the same criteria for acceptance as Medi-Cal, and so approval in one is often enough to merit an automatic approval for state healthcare. Some compatible programs California accepts as proof of need include:

  • WIC
  • CalFresh, the state SNAP or food stamp program
  • TANF, the cash aid or "welfare" program
  • Section 8 housing support
  • Current residence in public housing or a homeless shelter

Medicaid Waivers in Vista

Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)

Seniors who receive Medi-Cal coverage and have medical clearance to live in a nursing home may be able to get financial help living at a lower level of care through the state's Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). ALWP vouchers pay the monthly cost of assisted living for seniors in Vista who waive placement in a higher and more expensive level of care, in favor of staying in an assisted living facility.

This program is open to seniors who live in one of the 15 counties in the state that participate in the plan, including San Diego County, and who reside in an approved assisted living facility. Seniors can apply for coverage themselves, by contacting their Medi-Cal caseworker, or through the benefits coordinator at their residential care community. 

Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver

Seniors who wish to remain in their homes in Vista may be eligible for a Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) waiver. This program pays many of the likely costs seniors face when they choose to live independently at home. After approval from a Medi-Cal caseworker, seniors can get vouchers to pay for:

  • Caregiver assistance delivered in the home or at a nearby facility
  • Expert advice about benefits they may be eligible for from experienced case managers
  • Respite care and adult day care, which can be delivered either in the senior's home or at a nearby facility
  • Short-term supervision for seniors with Alzheimer's disease or another form of dementia
  • Some home repairs and mobility-based improvements, such as the installation of new wheelchair ramps or guardrails in the house
  • Vouchers for free transportation on local public transit, as well as call center assistance booking disabled ride services for medical appointments
  • Home-delivered meal service
  • Financial advice from certified senior financial advisers
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) hardware for emergency calls
  • No-cost translation and interpreter services

Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver

Seniors who are moving out of residential care settings and back to their own home may be able to get some financial assistance with the move through the Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) program. This waiver pays many of the common costs of moving out of assisted living, nursing home care, post-acute rehab or another residential care facility, and it replaces multiple older state waivers for each of the facilities seniors could be discharged from. To apply for an HCBA waiver, seniors can request a packet through the discharge planner at their residential care facility prior to discharge, or they can directly contact their Medi-Cal caseworker.

Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)

Seniors who remain independent and wish to stay in their own Vista neighborhood may apply for financial aid through the state Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver program. This catchall program is meant to pick up various miscellaneous costs that can sometimes take independent seniors by surprise or leave a hole in their monthly budget. Though specific items are covered by the CBAS waiver, there is usually a wide discretion allowed for how to spend funds. Applications can go through a case worker. Covered benefits include:

  • Adult day care at home or in a Vista-area facility
  • At-home and facility-based meal service
  • Mental and physical therapy at home or in a facility
  • Social events for local seniors participating in the program

Other Financial Assistance Programs in Vista

In-Home Support Services (IHSS)

Vista seniors can often remain in their own homes with the help of California's In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. This program allows a given number of hours a month to enrolled seniors, who can authorize payment to a caregiver to help them in their own home. Caregivers can be spouses, family members and personal friends of benefit recipients. Caregivers must be CPR certified, pass a background check and attend a training session at IHSS offices. Seniors can apply for IHSS benefits through their Medi-Cal caseworker, while prospective caregivers can apply for the program online.

Paid Family Leave

Seniors in Vista may be able to get up to six weeks of in-home assistance from a close relative, who can take a paid leave from work under the state's Paid Family Leave Act (PFLA). PFLA benefits are deducted from the paycheck of California workers over a period of at least three years, and they can then be paid back during an employee's senior loved one's time of need. Benefit amounts vary with the recipient's prior income over the three-year look-back period and with the amount of past benefits accrued. Pay is structured as a bi-weekly check that can be spent any way the recipient wishes. 

Workers who need to claim PFLA to care for a senior loved one must apply by phone through the state's Employment Development Department (EDD), which may conduct a telephone interview and request documentation of both family relationships and medical need. Because of the delay between application and approval, applicants are allowed to sign up for PFLA prior to the requested leave period. By law, employers in California must hold open an equivalent position at their company for up to six weeks until the employee returns from leave.

More Senior Living Resources in Vista


Phone Number


San Diego County Health and Human Services (HHS) (858) 694-3900 Seniors in San Diego County can get help finding and moving into affordable housing through the Health and Human Services department. HHS signs up seniors for the federal Section 8 housing choice voucher program. The department also provides emergency homelessness assistance and maintains an online register of affordable properties in Vista and the surrounding areas. Seniors can apply to join a Section 8 waiting list or to get help online or by phone.
Aging and Independence Services (800) 510-2020 Aging and Independence Services provides support for caregivers throughout San Diego County. The service also offers Vista seniors financial assistance and training classes that can help seniors live safely and comfortably at home. Applications may be submitted online or by phone.
Community Action Reaching the Elderly (Project C.A.R.E.) (800) 339-4661 Seniors in Vista can get in-home support services, including home visits and health assessments, through the county-funded Project C.A.R.E. Project C.A.R.E. also refers Vista seniors to appropriate help services in cases of neglect and abuse. Seniors in Vista can apply for enrollment in the program by phone.
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) (800) 411-7343 Seniors in Vista may be able to reduce their home energy bills by up to 30% through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). This is a state-funded program seniors in San Diego County can apply for directly through San Diego Gas & Electric by requesting a mail-in packet.