Cost of Assisted Living in Santa Rosa, California

Page Reviewed / Updated - May. 2019

This guide is intended to help Santa Rosa seniors find affordable senior living in their area. It is also meant to help caregivers, families and other loved ones anticipate the likely costs of senior care, develop a clear idea of the options available and to make informed decisions about senior care in the Santa Rosa area. Finally, this guide should also help seniors and their loved ones find the financial resources necessary to cover the costs of senior living in Santa Rosa.

For additional information about senior living, or to learn more about the options seniors have available, visit our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in California.

The Cost of Senior Living and Care in Santa Rosa

Senior care in Santa Rosa tends to be somewhat more expensive than the average for the state of California. In most categories, costs of senior care run several hundred dollars higher than average in Santa Rosa. Assisted living, for example, costs $5,500 a month in Santa Rosa, while the average cost for California is $4,500, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.

Home care is similarly priced in Santa Rosa, where monthly costs average $5,625, which is $668 a month more than California's average cost of $4,957. Prices for senior living in Santa Rosa are somewhat closer for adult day care, though Santa Rosa's cost of $2,362 a month is still substantially above California's average of $1,679.

Nursing home care can be one of the most expensive senior living options in any California city. In Santa Rosa, the cost of a semi-private room averages $9,258 a month, while California's average for the same accommodations is $8,365, nearly $1,000 less per month.

Santa Rosa Assisted Living Costs

The average cost of assisted living in California is $4,500 a month. Santa Rosa's average cost for the same service is $1,000 more, at a reported $5,500. Among surveyed California cities, only San Francisco matches Santa Rosa, at $5,500 per month for assisted living. Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento all have averages of $1,000 per month or more less than Santa Rosa. Los Angeles and San Diego average $4,500 a month for assisted living, while Sacramento is slightly cheaper, at $4,473 a month.

Some California cities are substantially more affordable than the bigger metro areas. Assisted living costs in Chico, for example, are $4,000 a month, while Stockton reports an average cost of $3,500. The least expensive California city surveyed for assisted living, Bakersfield, reports an average cost of just $3,150 a month — $2,350 per month less than the Santa Rosa average.

Santa Rosa Home Care Costs

Home care costs in the state of California average $4,957 a month. This is substantially lower than the average cost for care in Santa Rosa, where home care averages $5,625 a month. Other California cities group close to these two price points, such as San Francisco, which shares Santa Rosa's $5,625 average cost, and Stockton, which matches California at $4,957.

Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego all share an average cost for home care of $4,767 per month. Costs in Chico and Bakersfield, meanwhile, average significantly lower than Santa Rosa, at $4,433 and $4,385 for home care, respectively.

Santa Rosa Adult Day Care Costs 

Adult day care costs an average of $1,679 across California cities, though the average cost in Santa Rosa is substantially higher, at $2,362 per month. Sacramento, San Francisco and San Diego are intermediate, with each reporting an average cost of care of $1,733 per month.

Stockton exactly matches the state average, at $1,679 per month, while Bakersfield is only slightly less, at $1,653. Chico comes closest to Santa Rosa for adult day care costs, at $2,134 a month, while Los Angeles reports some of the lowest monthly costs for adult day care, at $1,565.

Santa Rosa Nursing Home Costs

Nursing home care averages $8,365 per month for a semi-private room in the state of California. This is several hundred dollars a month less than Santa Rosa, where the average cost of care is $9,258. Among surveyed California cities, only San Francisco is close to Santa Rosa, at $9,148 per month for similar services.

Sacramento and San Diego both report average costs for skilled nursing services of $8,517 per month. This is somewhat above the state average, but only a little ahead of the cost in Chico and San Diego. Prices there average $8,456 and $8,517 per month, respectively. 

Stockton reports an average monthly cost for nursing home care of $8,173 per month, which is near the low-middle end of the spectrum. Los Angeles and Bakersfield are both outliers toward the low end of costs. Nursing home care in Los Angeles costs an average of $7,604 per month, while Bakersfield is the least expensive of all, at $7,513.

Financial Assistance Programs in Santa Rosa
Medicaid Program in Santa Rosa

Seniors and low-income families in the United States may be able to get low-cost or free health insurance through the Medicaid program. This program is a federally funded entitlement, which means that all applicants who meet the eligibility requirements of the program may sign up and start receiving benefits immediately, without any waiting periods or enrollment caps.

Medicaid operates as a joint venture in all 50 states, with the federal government paying half of the cost of care and the state picking up the rest. Management of each state's program is generally left to the local government. In California, the state Medicaid system is known as Medi-Cal, and it helps eligible residents pay some or all of the cost of preventive care, urgent and emergency care and residential care options for seniors, such as skilled nursing and memory care. The plan also has a prescription drug component, though the list of covered medications changes from time to time.

Seniors in Santa Rosa who need help paying for their senior living arrangements may be able to use Medi-Cal benefits to reduce their personal costs. The state government chooses to deliver care through a network of private insurance carriers, such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross/Blue Shield, which administer seniors' benefits as if they were any other HMO or personal-pay option (PPO). The system can get complicated for new applicants, but intake workers and senior consultants are generally able to answer questions about coverage and eligibility criteria.

Seniors in Santa Rosa can apply for Medi-Cal coverage online, through the Covered California website, or in person at a Sonoma County Economic Assistance Division office. Applicants must provide proof of residency and income, as well as fill out an application for the program. In California, the Medi-Cal application paperwork can also be used to sign up for CalFresh, the food stamp program, cash aid and the WIC nutrition program. Financial and other eligibility requirements for these programs are virtually identical, and so Medi-Cal is assumed to be approved for anyone who has already been accepted by the other means-tested entitlement programs the state offers.

To qualify for Medi-Cal, seniors in Santa Rosa must be:

  • Citizens, legal residents or U.S. nationals living in California
  • Age 65 and over, OR
  • Legally considered disabled, OR
  • Low-income earners

The low-income requirement for Medi-Cal is based on federal benefits rates, with some modification to account for California's generally high cost of living. Applicants must earn no more than 138% of the federal poverty line, which as of 2018 is $16,395 a year for individuals applying for themselves. Married couples, applying individually or as a pair, may earn up to $22,108. For every adult who shares a household with the applicant, an additional $5,741 may be added to the allowable annual income, whether that adult is also applying for Medi-Cal or not.

Seniors who earn more than the allowable limit may still be eligible to receive coverage, although Medi-Cal may impose a co-payment or share of cost requirement. These vary with individual circumstances, and only an intake worker can give a definitive answer to what a specific plan charges. In general, seniors can arrange a share of cost plan up to 300% of the federal poverty line, beyond which they may not be eligible for any Medi-Cal coverage.

In addition to covering the cost of medical care, the Medi-Cal program may also help seniors in Santa Rosa live at home with a caregiver. This is done through the In-Home Support Services (IHSS) program. IHSS allows seniors who have a medical need for a caregiver, due to diminished physical or mental capacity, a certain number of hours a month. The program then issues payment to a caregiver of the senior's choice, who may be a spouse, family member or personal friend, for services rendered. Seniors are able to sign off on caregivers' time sheets to verify the work done, which gives benefit recipients a measure of control over how their care is delivered.

Medicaid Waivers in Santa Rosa

Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP)

Medi-Cal recipients in 15 counties, including Sonoma County, may be able to pay for assisted living through the Assisted Living Waiver Program (ALWP). This waiver is available to seniors who have been accepted into a Medi-Cal managed care plan and who opt out of admission to a skilled nursing facility, preferring to live in a lower-cost assisted living community enrolled in the ALWP system. Applications may be sent through a Medi-Cal worker or via the benefits specialist at a participating assisted living facility.

Multipurpose Senior Services Waiver

The Multipurpose Senior Services Program (MSSP) waiver allows some Santa Rosa seniors to remain in their own homes, instead of taking up residence in an assisted living facility. Applications go through the normal Medi-Cal system. Benefits under this waiver include:

  • Access to case managers who act as guides to understanding benefits
  • In-home care from a caregiver hired by the senior
  • Respite care in the home or at a community facility
  • Ramps, guard rails and other minor home improvements for mobility challenged seniors
  • Some home repairs
  • Vouchers for public transportation and disabled ride service
  • Reasonable household chore
  • Personal Emergency Response System (PERS) call buttons
  • Adult day care in the home or at a second location
  • Protective supervision for seniors with dementia
  • Meal service to the home
  • Senior-focused money management advice
  • Translation services

Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) Waiver

The Home and Community-Based Alternatives (HCBA) waiver helps Santa Rosa seniors cover the cost of moving out of residential care and back to their own homes. Benefits coordinators at participating residential care facilities can often apply on behalf of residents being discharged, though caregivers and family members can also apply through Medi-Cal.

Community-Based Adult Services (CBAS)

The Community Based Adult Services (CBAS) waiver program plugs many of the gaps other waivers leave for paying the cost of senior living at home. Applications for this waiver go through a county Medi-Cal worker, though applications are sometimes filed by residential care staff or social workers working with the senior. Santa Rosa seniors who need help from CBAS may qualify for:

  • Adult day care
  • Meal delivery at home
  • Coordination of social activities with other seniors in Huntington Beach
  • Physical and mental therapy as needed to stay independent
Other Financial Assistance Programs in Santa Rosa

Paid Family Leave 

Residents of California who have a senior loved one who needs their help may take up to six weeks away from work with pay under the state's Paid Family Leave Act. Benefits take the form of a check delivered in the mail every two weeks to make up for pay lost while caring for a loved one. Benefit amounts are based on the recipient's prior salary with a three-year look-back period. Money paid out under this program acts exactly like a private pay check, and the cash can be spent without restrictions, as if it is the recipient's own pay. 

Applications for Paid Family Leave benefits can sometimes be sent through a benefits specialist at work, if the employer permits it, or they can be made via phone or online with the Employment Development Department. This department also processes Californians' unemployment and student aid requests, and the application process is similar. Applicants for Family Leave pay must provide medical documentation of their loved one's needs, as well as proof of their own income to establish benefit amounts.

More Senior Living Resources in Santa Rosa


Phone Number


Sonoma County Housing Authority (SCHA)  (707) 565-7500 The Sonoma County Housing Authority (SCHA) administers Santa Rosa's low-income and income-restricted housing, which usually takes the form of affordable rental units. Rent assistance is provided through the federal Section 8 housing voucher program, though there is a waiting list. Applications can be made online.
Shelter Plus Care  (707) 565-7500 Shelter Plus Care is a project Sonoma County to protect seniors who are at risk of homelessness. Partnering with local agencies, the program administers half a dozen grants to help special-needs seniors, such as HIV-positive and disabled seniors, find and transition into affordable housing in the area. Applications can be made through a social worker, shelter employee or through a Sonoma County Community Development Commission office.
North Coast Energy Services   (707) 495-4417 North Coast Energy Services helps seniors in Santa Rosa sign up for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), which pays some or all of the cost of home utility bills. Proof of income is required to apply, along with an overdue utility bill or disconnect notice. Applications can be made online.
Help 2 Others (H2O)  (707) 535-3395 Santa Rosa seniors can apply for help paying their water bill through the H2O program, which is administered by the city of Santa Rosa. This program reduces the fixed monthly water and sewer bill for Santa Rosa homeowners by 50%. To apply, seniors must have a financial need and call program offices to check availability.