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

Merced is a growing city in central California that’s now home to more than 8,000 residents aged 65 and over. While the area was once dominated by agriculture, the opening of the University of California, Merced in 2005 brought academic prestige as well as a wealth of resources to the community. According to the California Department of Aging, the senior population in Merced County will grow by more than 200% by 2060.

Seniors in Merced who want to remain active have plenty of recreational opportunities both within the city and in nearby areas. The Castle Air Museum offers great views of vintage military aircraft from the birth of flight through the end of the Cold War. The Applegate Park Zoo provides up-close encounters with rescued animals and a large, open green space for picnics and family fun. Merced is also known as a gateway to Yosemite National Park, one of the state’s premier natural wonders. The region’s mild, semiarid climate makes visiting these destinations possible throughout the year.

With abundant recreation and a cost of living that’s 45% lower than the state average, it’s no wonder that more seniors are discovering Merced as a great place to live and taking advantage of supportive home care services.

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

Seniors living at home in Merced can expect to pay the same for both home care and home health care, $5,529 per month, according to data from Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey. In some cases, families pay a bit more for home health care due to the additional medical services provided.

You can estimate how much home care will cost your family by adjusting Genworth’s monthly average, which is based on 44 hours of care per week. The hourly rate for care is estimated to be $29, so you would expect to pay about $1,200 per month if you only need 10 hours of care per week and as much as $20,000 per month if you require round-the-clock assistance.

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

The cost of home care in Merced is the same as the state average for California. It’s also very similar to nearby cities in the Central Valley. Just to the north in Modesto, the average monthly cost is $5,148. Stockton is similarly priced at $5,243 per month. When you get close to the coast, prices rise, including in San Jose where the monthly average for home care is $6,197.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

Home care is the second most expensive type of care available to seniors in Merced. For residents who only require some supervision during the day, adult day care is the most affordable option at just $1,804 per month on average. Assisted living offers a community experience with 24-hour supervision, and it costs an average of $3,750 per month. Nursing homes offer the most intensive type of care and have an average monthly cost of $9,399.

III. How to Find Home Care in Merced, 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 Merced, 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 Merced, CA

Weatherization Assistance

What You Should Know
Offered by the Merced County Community Action Committee, the weatherization assistance program is designed to help low-income seniors improve the energy efficiency of their homes so that they can spend less on heating and cooling. The program accomplishes this by subsidizing the purchase of new, energy-efficient appliances and a variety of home repairs, such as insulation and weather stripping. A safety inspection of all gas appliances in the home is provided free of charge.

Who Is Eligible?
Weatherization assistance is available to all residents in Merced County who are responsible for their energy costs and meet certain income requirements. Both renters and owners can apply for the program. Townhomes, apartments, condos, single-family homes and mobile homes are all eligible.

How to Get Started
All applications for the weatherization program in Merced must go through the Merced County Community Action Committee. They can be reached at (209) 723-1225. You can also print out an application and mail it to their office.

Home-Delivered Meals

What You Should Know
Merced County’s Area Agency on Aging provides home-delivered meals to seniors in Merced who are unable to procure their own. Staff members deliver five nutritious meals once per week to beneficiaries. These meals don’t require any preparation other than heating. Seniors who are able to leave their own homes can participate in the congregate meals program, which provides weekday meals at seven locations throughout the county.

Who Is Eligible?
Being aged 60 or over is the primary eligibility requirement for the meal delivery program in Merced. A staff member from the local Area Agency on Aging will perform an assessment before deliveries begin.

How to Get Started
In many cases, seniors who are eligible for this program are referred to Merced’s Area Agency on Aging by a doctor, caregiver or family member. If you’d like to apply directly, call (209) 385-7550.

Free Senior Transportation

What You Should Know
In 2017, Merced County used funds from a mass transit project to create a free ride program for seniors. If you’re an eligible resident, you can travel along fixed bus routes throughout the county at no cost. You may take advantage of accessible seating reserved for seniors. Buses have ramps and designated spaces for wheelchairs, but your mobility device should have its own braking and safety features. If you need door-to-door service, ADA Ride may be able to help.

Who Is Eligible?
All seniors who are aged 62 and over can ride Merced’s bus routes for free by simply showing valid government identification to the driver. The ID must clearly show your date of birth.

How to Get Started
Since you don’t need an application to ride for free on Merced’s fixed bus routes, you can start traveling immediately. If you’d like to apply for the Paratransit program for door-to-door service, you can call (877) 232-7433 or fill out an application at the ADA Ride website.

Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)

What You Should Know
Health insurance is an important part of paying for home care in Merced, and the volunteers at HICAP can provide a wealth of information related to Medicare and supplemental insurance that you may be eligible to receive. They’re trained in a variety of subjects, including prescription drug plans, medical bills, claim denials, Medicare Advantage and long-term care options. All volunteers at HICAP are prohibited from selling insurance or receiving payments of any kind for their services.

Who Is Eligible?
Anyone who wants information about insurance benefits for themselves or a loved one is free to call HICAP for assistance.

How to Get Started
To start receiving valuable information from a volunteer at HICAP, all you need to do is call (209) 385-7550. Representatives will help you set up a counseling appointment or give you more information about the program.

Senior Community Center

What You Should Know
The senior center in Merced is a great location to find resources and participate in activities with other members of the community who may also be living at home in retirement. Activities include yoga, table games, dancing classes, writing groups, arts and crafts and tax assistance. A large library of books is available for borrowing, and computers are set up for Internet use. Every Friday, the center hosts a social event with bingo. The Senior Community Center also hosts AARP meetings on the fourth Wednesday of every month.

Who Is Eligible?
Everyone is welcome to participate in activities and meetings at the Senior Community Center. You’re also welcome to book private parties and events at the main hall when it’s available.

How to Get Started
The Merced Senior Community Center is located at 755 West 15th Street. It’s open Monday through Friday during the day, but you can book a private event most weekday evenings and weekends by calling (209) 385-6855.