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

Approximately 3.175 million people enjoy the incredible weather and beautiful beaches in Orange County, California, and seniors make up 15.3% of those folks, according to the most recent census data. While the cost of living is an estimated 67.7% higher than the national average, the low crime rate and nearly year-round exceptional weather make it a highly desirable spot for retirees and vacationers.

Housing is the category in which Orange County is most expensive, with a median home cost of $712,500. While a high price tag may be slightly intimidating for those not used to California real estate prices, these costs may be recouped by property sales in the future. Also, home values are typically excluded when calculating financial need for programs such as Medicaid, making a higher-priced home a potentially safe investment.

Orange County has lots of entertainment options, including Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure Park. The Huntington Beach Pier is worth more than one visit, while The Noguchi Museum offers unique experiences.

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

According to Genworth Financial’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, senior homemaker services cost an average of $5,434, while home health services are slightly more, averaging $5,529 per month. Home health services are generally priced at a higher rate due to the medical services included in this category, such as home nursing services.

Your care needs will also impact your total cost of care since Genworth’s figures for home care assume an average of 44 hours of in-home care per week. When paying hourly, keep in mind that the average hourly compensation level is $28.50 for homemaker services and $29 for home health.

Note: Data for Orange County was unavailable, so data for the nearest city, Los Angeles, was used instead.

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

The costs of home care in Orange County, at $5,434 for homemaker services and $5,529 for home health care, are approximately $1,000 higher than the national averages of $4,481 and $4,576. However, when compared to other cities in California, the costs in Orange County are on the lower end of the spectrum. In the neighboring Oxnard Area, the cost of both types of in-home services averages $5,339 per month, while in San Diego, costs for both average $5,716. Santa Maria is even more costly, at $6,101 for both types of in-home care.

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In Orange County, home care is a mid-priced option for those who need some assistance at home to continue living comfortably. At $5,434 to $5,529, costs are approximately $500 more per month than assisted living but substantially more expensive than the $1,647 average for adult day care services. Nursing home care is the most expensive senior care option at an average of $8,060 per month, which is more than $2,500 higher than home health costs.

III. How to Find Home Care in Orange County, 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 Orange County, 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 Orange County, CA

Multipurpose Senior Services Program

What You Should Know
The MSSP is available to seniors who qualify for full Medi-Cal benefits and have a disability that would otherwise lead to placement in a nursing home. As long as care delivered at home is cost neutral, MSSP allows seniors to work with home health agencies and other service providers to receive care in the comfort of their home. Some services covered under this program include case management, durable medical equipment, personal care, home care, chore services and transportation, along with a diverse array of other options.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for MSSP, you must be a senior 65 or older and eligible for full benefits under Medi-Cal with no share of the cost. You must also be eligible for nursing home placement and live in an area that offers the MSSP waiver, which is available in Orange County.

How to Get Started
For more information about the MSSP waiver or to enroll, call CalOptima MSSP at (714) 347-5780 or the general CalOptima helpline at (888) 587-8088.

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

What You Should Know
The PACE program is available to Orange County seniors through various CalOptima providers. It works with a multidisciplinary team to create comprehensive care plans for those who might otherwise need nursing home placement. The goal of this program is to allow you to continue living at home for as long as it is safe for you to do so. In addition to home care services, PACE also offers programs such as adult day care and recreational therapy to those who qualify.

During the application process, an enrollment specialist visits your home to meet with you and explain the program and possible services you may be offered. During this meeting, the specialist also conducts an initial eligibility assessment.

Who Is Eligible?
Eligibility requirements for PACE start with age, location and financial limitations. If you’re at least 55 years old, live within a PACE service area and are financially eligible, you may qualify. Functional requirements are also part of the process and help determine the level of care required for your safety and wellness.

How to Get Started
For more information about PACE or to apply, you can call an enrollment specialist at (714) 468-1100 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Aging and Disability Resource Connection

What You Should Know
Offered in partnership with the Dayle Macintosh Disability Resource Center, the ADRC is available to all local seniors and their caregivers as a one-stop-shop for information and resources. ADRC maintains a database of home health service providers that offer in-home supports throughout Orange County, some of which may accept Medicaid waiver programs. In addition to advocacy and access to information, seniors may also receive a range of community-based services and help to them find the right combination of supports for extending their time at home.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for assistance through the ADRC and Dayle Macintosh Center, you must live in Orange County and be at least 60 years old or living with a disability. Financial eligibility requirements may apply for some programs.

How to Get Started
To learn more about the service offered through ADRC, call (714) 621-3300 or (714) 480-6450.

Meals on Wheels Orange County

What You Should Know
Meals on Wheels Orange County has a variety of programs for local seniors designed to improve access to nutritional, filling and delicious food. Some services are available solely in exchange for voluntary contributions, while others are offered under a pay-for-service model. Senior Cuisine Delivered is a paid program that provides affordable, restaurant-quality meals delivered to seniors’ doors. The home-delivered meals program is available to seniors who can’t cook for themselves but otherwise can live safely at home. Grab & Go meals are also available at a variety of pickup locations throughout the county.

Who Is Eligible?
While there are no eligibility limits on pay-for-service programs, seniors interested in free or reduced-cost meals may need to complete an application process. Financial and functional limits may apply.

How to Get Started
To receive nutritional food through Meals on Wheels Orange County, you begin the process by submitting an inquiry form on the website. After sending an inquiry, a Meals on Wheels enrollment specialist will be in touch for next steps.