I. What You Should Know About Home Care in Bakersfield, CA

Seniors who love hot, dry weather should feel right at home in sunny Bakersfield. The city receives an average of just 7 inches of rain annually, and winter temperatures are so mild that snow is unheard of. Bakersfield is part of Kern County, where homeowners receive a number of property tax breaks that can help make home care more affordable. Retirees have access to quality medical care at facilities such as Adventist Health Bakersfield, which was rated the best hospital in the city according to U.S. News and World Report. People 65 and older make up 10% of the city’s 384,185 residents.

Bakersfield is an excellent retirement option for arts, culture and history buffs. The city is home to several popular museums, including the Kern County Museum and the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science. Retirees can also enjoy live concerts and shows at the historic Fox Theater and Mechanic Banks Arena Theater and Convention Center. For outdoor recreation, Bakersfield features several parks, biking trails and the McMurtrey Aquatic Center, where residents go to cool off on sizzling summer days.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in Bakersfield, CA

In Bakersfield, home care costs an average of $5,077 per month, according to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. Home health care, which includes skilled nursing services, such as medication assistance and wound care, costs an average of $5,125. Prices will vary depending on provider and specific services offered.

These rates are based on an estimate of 44 hours of care per week. To break costs down further, seniors can expect to pay $26.63 per hour for regular home care and $26.88 for home health care.

The Cost of Home Care & Home Health Care in Nearby Cities

Both home care and home health care are cheaper in Bakersfield than most other cities nearby but pricier than the national averages of $4,481 and $4,576 per month. To the south in Los Angeles, rates go up to $5,434 and $5,529. In San Diego, home care and home health care cost almost $640 more than Bakersfield, with rates averaging $5,716 for both. Less than 80 miles to the north in Visalia, prices are cheaper than Bakersfield. There, seniors pay about $4,767 for home care and $4,805 to get skilled nursing at home.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Both types of home care services are more expensive than most other options in Bakersfield. Retirees who choose to get care in an assisted living community pay an average of $3,613 per month, or about $1,400 less than seniors who receive care at home. Adult day care, which provides supervision and activities during daytime hours, is least expensive, with rates around $1,652. Nursing home care is for those who need around-the-clock supervision, and it’s priced accordingly at $8,060.

III. How to Find Home Care in Bakersfield, CA

Finding a home care provider for yourself or a loved one can be a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Below, we explain the process of how to find a home care provider in 5 simple steps. Use the infographic below to help guide your search for in-home care in Bakersfield, CA.

An infographic giving steps to finding a home care provider

Remember that there’s not necessarily a right or wrong choice – it comes down to choosing a provider that you feel comfortable with and who’s capable of meeting your specific needs. No matter which provider you choose, you should always have a formal arrangement with your expectations and the payment rate in writing. Doing so will prevent confusion or potential disagreements down the line so that the focus remains on helping the person receiving care.

IV. Home Care Resources for Seniors in Bakersfield, CA

Bakersfield PACE

What You Should Know
The Bakersfield PACE program is an alternative to nursing home placement and provides services that can allow you to keep living in your own home. PACE participants have access to a network of primary health care providers, specialists and counselors to help support their mental health. As a member, you get help at home with your activities of daily living, including personal care, medication reminders, light housework and meal preparation. The Bakersfield PACE center offers many ways to stay active and social with exercise classes, live entertainment, special interest groups and field trips to attractions in the local area. Transportation is provided to and from the center and to doctors’ visits and other types of medical appointments.

If you’re eligible for Medicare/Medi-Cal, all PACE services are provided at no cost to you. Those who don’t qualify for Medi-Cal pay a premium for long-term care benefits and prescription drugs.

Who Is Eligible?
You’re eligible if you’re 55 or older, a resident of Kern or Tulare County and able to live safely in your community with support. You must also meet California’s level of care requirements to qualify for services.

How to Get Started
Complete the referral form to begin the PACE enrollment process. Next, you’ll meet with an intake specialist in your home or at the Bakersfield PACE facility. The specialist will assess your needs and determine your eligibility for the program.

In-Home Supportive Services

What You Should Know
The IHSS program provides services to low-income elderly individuals who would otherwise be unable to stay at home without assistance. IHSS gives you funds to pay for a caregiver of your choosing. If you qualify, you receive personal care at home, including help with bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, toileting and mobility/transfer assistance. IHSS caregivers perform light housekeeping, grocery shopping, laundry and other chores around your home. You also get protective supervision and accompaniment to medical appointments.

Who Is Eligible?
You must be a California resident, live in your own home and receive or be eligible to receive Medi-Cal benefits. Depending on your income, you may be required to pay a share of the cost for IHSS services. If your income is below a certain level, services may be provided free of charge.

How to Get Started
Call (661) 868-1000 or (800) 510-2020 to begin the application process. You’ll speak with a social worker about eligibility, then set up a home visit to help the worker determine if IHSS is right for you.

Meals on Wheels

What You Should Know
Kern County Meals on Wheels delivers hot and healthy meals to Bakersfield residents who struggle to prepare food for themselves. In addition to meals, volunteer drivers also provide friendly wellness checks, which can help prevent loneliness for isolated seniors. Drivers are trained to recognize neglect, abuse and deterioration and can contact family or another caregiver to get seniors the help they need.

Meals are delivered Monday through Friday, 250 days per year. The suggested cost per meal is $2, but you won’t be turned away if you can’t pay.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for delivery, you must be at least 60 years old and homebound due to illness, disability or isolation. You must also be unable to leave your home to participate in congregate meals at a local senior center.

How to Get Started
Fill out the Senior Nutrition Intake Form to begin the application process. If you have questions, call (661) 868-0902.

Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program

What You Should Know
This program provides funding to help low-income seniors pay their electric, gas, propane and other energy bills. HEAP may also cover the cost of furnace and air conditioner repair, as well as weatherization to make your home more energy-efficient and lower the cost of your utility bills. You can only get HEAP benefits once every 12 months. Payments are made directly to the utility company on your behalf.

Who Is Eligible?
You must reside in Kern County, have a household income at or below 150% of the federal poverty level and have a utility bill for at least 22 days of service.

How to Get Started
Call (661) 336-5203 to learn more about the program or download the forms required to apply. You need to submit proof of income, a rental or mortgage agreement and a current utility bill with your application.

Kern County Aging and Adult Services

What You Should Know
Kern County’s Aging and Adult Services department offers a variety of programs, services and informative resources for seniors living at home in Bakersfield. You can visit its website to find out about transportation options, free legal aid, health insurance counseling and ways to stay active in your golden years. Its Volunteer Social Outreach program provides interaction and engagement for seniors who are isolated and struggling with grief, mental illness or substance abuse. Seniors can contact Adult Protective Services through the website to report concerns about fraud, abuse and neglect. APS also provides emergency food, clothing and other necessities to residents in need.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility varies by program, but most are open to residents 60 and up. Some programs may have financial eligibility requirements.

How to Get Started
Call (661) 868-1000 or send an email to [email protected] to find out more about any of its programs and services.