I. What You Should Know About Home Care in the Bay Area, CA

Because it spans nine counties and over 100 cities, estimating the population of the Bay Area is difficult, but the state of California estimates that more than 7 million people reside in the area. Approximately 12% of the population is aged 65 and older. In San Francisco County, one of those nine counties, the population is 881,549 people with 16.1% age 65 and older.

The Bay Area has many beautiful sights and attractions. The Napa Valley region is known for its world-famous wineries and vineyards, many of which are open for tours and tastings. In San Francisco, a variety of cultural attractions help residents to explore all forms of art.

Seniors are often drawn to the Bay Area because of its waterfront location and temperate climate. Mild winters and warm, comfortable summers mean that seniors can enjoy the outdoors year-round. The mountains, valleys and waterfront areas mean it has several microclimates as well. The region also boasts several excellent transit systems that make it easier to get around town, including the Bay Area Rapid Transit system. The region is also home to the UCSF Medical Center, which is ranked eighth in the nation for senior care by U.S. News & World Report.

II. What You Should Expect to Pay for Home Care in the Bay Area, CA

Home care and home health care services in the Bay Area cost an average of $6,101 based on the 2020 Genworth Cost of Care Survey. This average is the same for both home care, which provides homemaking assistance, and home health care, which adds in some medical care services.

The Genworth Cost of Care Survey estimates an average of 44 hours of care a week when determining these averages. This means the cost of care breaks down to about $32 an hour. The actual cost you pay for home care and home health care may vary depending on the type of care you need and the number of hours you require help.

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

The Bay Area’s average of $6,101 a month is one of the higher costs for home care and home health care when compared with nearby cities. California’s state average is much less at $5,529 per month. The national average is $4,481 for home care and $4,576 for home health care, nearly $1,500 less. Salinas is closer with an average cost of $6,006 a month, while in Redding seniors pay $5,386 a month for both types of home care. Los Angeles has lower averages that are $500 to $600 less.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

The Bay Area’s costs for home care are mid-range compared to other types of senior care. The most affordable option is adult day care, for which Bay Area seniors pay around $1,950 a month. Assisted living costs are nearly the same as home care and home health care at $6,100 a month. The most costly option is nursing home care, which averages $12,471 for a semi-private room.

Note: Data for the Bay Area was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, San Francisco, was used instead.

III. How to Find Home Care in the Bay Area, 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 the Bay Area, 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 the Bay Area, CA

Bay Area Community Services Adult Day Programs

What You Should Know
BACS offers an Adult Day Program that gives participating members a place to spend time socializing, exercising and taking part in education and recreation. The program also includes two meals and two snacks each day. Families with a senior living at home can use the Adult Day Program for respite care or to help the senior spend time out of the home. Door-to-door transportation is provided for those who do not have a way to get out of the house.

Who Is Eligible
Any senior living in the Bay Area is eligible to participate in the Adult Day Program.

How to Get Started
To enroll in the Adult Day Program, contact the BACS main office at 390 40th Street, Oakland, CA 94609 or call (510) 613-0330. Seniors can also dial 211 to find their local social services location.

Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program

What You Should Know
HICAP provides free, objective counseling about Medicare for seniors. Through this help, you can understand your rights and benefits as a Medicare recipient. You can also get advice about supplemental insurance when there are gaps in your insurance coverage. Should you need to make a Medicare appeal, this organization provides legal help to do so. Counselors are independent and do not sell insurance, which means the advice they give will be unbiased.

Who Is Eligible
Anyone who is eligible for Medicare is eligible for HICAP counseling. Home-bound seniors can have a counselor come to their homes.

How To Get Started
To find a local HICAP counselor in the Bay Area, call (800) 434-0222.

In-Home Supportive Services

What You Should Know
IHSS is supported by the San Francisco Human Services Agency. It provides older adults with assistance in their home with the activities of daily living, such as cooking and bathing. This assistance is provided free to qualifying seniors, and care recipients can take control over hiring their care providers through this program.

IHSS is set up so that qualified seniors can have their family or friends serve as caregivers. If you qualify for the program and have a caregiver you prefer, that person can apply to provide in-home services for you.

Who Is Eligible
IHSS is available to seniors living at home, who need help with activities of daily living, and who receive or qualify for Medi-Cal.

How to Get Started
You can get started by calling (415) 355-6700 or by completing the IHSS Referral Form. You can also apply in-person at the IHSS Independent Provider Assistance Center at 2 Gough Street, San Francisco, CA 94103.

Meals on Wheels of San Francisco

What You Should Know
For home-bound seniors, obtaining and preparing healthy food is often challenging. Meals on Wheels delivers two meals a day to seniors throughout the area. These meals can be modified to meet your special nutritional or dietary needs, such as softened food or diabetic-friendly meals. Meals come hot, refrigerated or frozen, depending on your needs, and daily delivery is available. Along with meals, you will get a friendly visit from the Meals on Wheels volunteer. Volunteers are trained to check on the well-being and safety of the seniors they visit, and many who take part in the program develop relationships with their delivery drivers. For seniors who are still able to cook, but not able to leave home to get groceries, Meals on Wheels of San Francisco also offers a grocery delivery service.

Who Is Eligible
You may qualify for Meals on Wheels San Francisco if you are aged 60 and older, live in the city and have a contributing factor that means you cannot shop or cook for yourself.

How to Get Started
To apply for home-delivered meals, call (415) 355-6700 to reach the San Francisco Department of Disability and Aging Services’ Information, Referral and Intake Line and apply for the program. It can have a waiting list, so an early application is important.

SF Paratransit Service

What You Should Know
SF Paratransit is a van and taxi program. It helps disabled adults and frail elderly persons get around the city of San Francisco, as well as portions of San Mateo County. This service includes pre-scheduled, door-to-door service in ADA-accessible vans, as well as paratransit taxi services. A group van is available when you wish to attend a community-based service, such as a senior day program. Seniors can request a ride from their home to the location they need to visit, such as a store or medical provider.

Who Is Eligible
You may be eligible for SF Paratransit service if you’re unable to use the accessible public transit options available within the city without the aid of another person, or if you are unable to get to and from a Metro stop or station because of your disability.

How to Get Started
To get started with SF Paratransit, download the application or pick one up at the SF Paratransit Office at 68 12th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103. You can also call the Mobility Management Center at (415) 351-7000 to learn more about the application process.