I. What You Should Know About Home Care in San Mateo

Twenty minutes from San Francisco, San Mateo is home to approximately 16,000 seniors ages 65 and older. While the city has a high cost of living, its many varied amenities, attractions and services still make it an appealing retirement location, as do its picturesque beaches. San Mateo’s smaller size also means you can have a slower paced lifestyle while still being near the busy life of San Francisco, with its historic Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco Giants games and Broadway shows. The beautiful, balmy climate affords many opportunities to enjoy the Japanese gardens and many parks and open-air shopping.

If you want to tap into the lifelong learning opportunities that the numerous local colleges afford, San Francisco State’s ElderCollege program lets seniors 50 and older sit in on any class of their choosing for $55 a semester. And for $50 a year, seniors can also join San Francisco State’s Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where, in addition to ongoing free courses, members can participate in group trips, monthly interest groups and access to the libraries and computer labs at SF State.

Seniors can also appreciate the high-quality health care that is readily available, including access to UCSF Medical Center, ranked number one for geriatrics care by U.S. News and World Report.

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

According to Genworth’s 2020 Cost of Care Survey, homemaker services in San Mateo cost, on average, $6,100 per month. This weekly cost reflects 44 hours of care weekly, averaging $35 per hour for approximately 6 hours, 7 days a week. Costs vary depending on the number of hours needed per month. If, for example, you need homemaker services for only 20 hours per week, the cost drops to $2,773 per month. On the other hand, if care is needed 24 hours a day, costs can increase to as much as $23,295 per month or $5,824 per week at an hourly rate of $35.

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

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

San Mateo’s costs for homemaker services and home health aides are just a bit higher ($6,100) than they are for California ($5,529). Nationwide, home health aides cost approximately $95 more per month, and this is largely related to the medical nature of this form of care. San Mateo’s costs are similar to those of neighboring cities. Vallejo has the same homemaker costs ($6,101), and higher home health aide costs ($6,673). San Jose has the closest costs for both homemaker ($6,197) and home health aides ($6,292), while costs are slightly higher in nearby Santa Cruz ($6,292 for both forms of care).

The Cost of Home Care Compared to Other Senior Living Options

In San Mateo, home care costs, which are the same for homemaker services or home health aides ($6,100), are lower than adult day care and skilled nursing. Although adult day care, at $1,950 a day, may initially look less expensive, the hourly rate is significantly higher, averaging $244 for an eight-hour day. This is in comparison to home care’s $35 average hourly wage for 44 hours of care a week. Skilled nursing, at $12,471 per month, is more than double the monthly cost of home care. When medical care is needed 24/7, skilled nursing may be advisable, but in many instances, the care provided through home health aides can cover most medical needs, with the added benefit of receiving services in the comfort and familiarity of your own home. Assisted living, at $6,100 average per month, is equal to home care, but it represents a move to a new, unfamiliar environment, away from familiar faces, patterns and routines that bring a sense of solace and peace.

III. How to Find Home Care in San Mateo, 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 San Mateo, 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 San Mateo, CA

Area Agency on Aging for San Mateo County

What You Should Know
This federal program, administered by San Mateo County’s Health Aging and Adult Services division, addresses the needs of older adults in San Mateo County. AAA also provides a number of supports and services to help seniors to live at home independently, such as home-delivered meals. You can receive health insurance and counseling and enjoy congregate meals, with transportation provided if necessary. A number of programs aimed at health prevention are also offered, including Wise and Well, which includes health screenings as well as individual counseling.

Who Is Eligible?
If you or your loved one are 60 and older, you are eligible to receive AAA’s services.

How to Get Started
To learn more about what programs or supports best fit your individual needs, call (650) 573-3527 or send a message via the website.

San Mateo Aging Services

What You Should Know
Part of the San Mateo’s Parks and Recreation Department, Aging Services offers a wide array of classes, programs and events to local seniors. Classes that provide a detailed overview of Medicare are provided, as are Computer and Electronic Device classes. The “Safe at Home” program lets those receiving or considering home care learn more about wearable emergency alert devices, and those looking for assistance paying for health care, utilities and home repairs can learn if they qualify for benefits through the BenefitsCheckUp screening service. Additionally, seniors who are homebound and need help shopping for groceries can turn to Shopping Assistance for Seniors who are Homebound. The Senior Center offers many classes daily, from band and chorus groups to bingo and history lectures. Get Around!, a senior transportation program, offers rides around San Mateo and surrounding areas at a discounted rate.

Who Is Eligible?
While some specific programs, such as Get Around!, are limited to seniors 60 and older, some services are available for individuals of all ages.

How to Get Started
Begin by visiting the senior center or calling them at (650) 522-7490.

Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.

What You Should Know
In existence for over 70 years, Peninsula Volunteers Inc. is a local nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of seniors in the San Mateo area. Staffed entirely by volunteers, PVI runs Little House, a place where older adults can meet for meals, activities and socialization. Fitness classes, arts and crafts, technology enrichment and lifelong learning are offered, as are group meetings, clubs and travel opportunities. At the Little House Boutique, handmade items, jewelry and cards are available, and all funds support PVI. Meals on Wheels is also offered through PVI for homebound seniors. Daily meals, with additional food deliveries on holidays and weekends are provided, with safety and wellness checks during dropoff.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for Meals on Wheels, individuals must be 60 or older, San Mateo County residents and either living alone, recovering from a recent hospital stay or homebound and unable to prepare meals. Those interested in a Little House membership can choose from several types, and fees can be paid in monthly or annual installments.

How to Get Started
To contact PVI or Little House with general inquiries, complete the online message form, or call Little House at (650) 272-5000. To learn more about Meals on Wheels, call (650) 323-2022.

San Mateo Veterans Services

What You Should Know
San Mateo County’s Veterans Services connects veterans and supports them and their families through advocacy, annual events and assistance filing all claims and benefits. At the Veterans Office, individuals can meet with trained counselors to determine which benefits are available to them, including pensions and disability compensation claims. In-home care and home loans may also be available. San Mateo also hosts Rebuilding Together Peninsula, a nonprofit focused in part on helping veterans have greater stability in their homes.

Who Is Eligible?
Senior veterans and their loved ones are eligible to access all that Veterans Services offers.

How to Get Started
Reach the VSO Office at (650) 802-6598 to learn more about their services and support options.

Aging and Adult Support Services

What You Should Know
San Mateo County’s Aging and Adult Support Services has several programs for seniors who wish to receive care in their homes. Its In-Home Supportive Services, the largest home and community-based program in the state, provides home care services to those who meet Medi-Cal requirements. The agency’s Nutrition Programs for Older Adults program connects seniors to congregate dining as well as home food delivery.

Who Is Eligible?
To qualify for IHSS, residents must meet Medi-Cal requirements. Other services, such as the Nutrition Programs, are available to any individual 60 and older, regardless of income.

How to Get Started
A 24-hour hotline is available for both emergencies as well as general advice by calling (800) 675-8437 within California or nationwide at (650) 573-3900.