Senior Living in California

As you begin your search for the living environment that best suits your wants and needs, this index can help you understand the options available.

Senior Housing Definitions

Independent Living

Independent living is designed for seniors who require little or no assistance. In California, these independent living communities, also known as retirement homes, do not provide supportive services or help with activities of daily living.

Assisted Living

Assisted Living refers to a special combination of housing, personalized supportive services, and health-related care designed to respond to the individual needs of those who require help with activities of daily living. In California, Assisted Living communities are licensed as Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly (RCFEs) by the Department of Social Services.

Memory Care

Some RCFEs meeting additional staff training, programming, and physical plant requirements also offer housing and services to residents living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. These are commonly known as Memory Care communities.

Continuing Care Retirement Community

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer several levels of care, including independent living, Assisted Living, Memory Care, and skilled nursing care. In California, all communities offering continuing care contracts must hold a certificate of authority and an RCFE license. A Skilled Nursing Facility license issued by the Department of Public Health is required for nursing homes.

Nursing Home

Nursing homes in California are licensed as Skilled Nursing Facilities through the Department of Public Health. These facilities provide 24-hour skilled care for chronic and short-term conditions that require medical and nursing care. Patients generally rely on assistance for most or all activities of daily living.

RCFE Data & Statistics

Visit RCFEs by the Numbers

Learn more about RCFEs (Residential Care Facilities for the Elderly) which encompass Assisted Living, Memory Care, and Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), including data on cost, growth, and quality of life.

Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Visit Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Learn about this program which provides valuable assistance to residents, their friends, families, providers, and the public in the resolution of quality of care and quality of life issues.