About Assisted LivingAssisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.Complete guide to assisted livingBest of 2024 Assisted Living Winners
About Memory CareMemory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering. Complete guide to memory careBest of 2024 Memory Care Winners
About Independent LivingIndependent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.Complete guide to independent livingBest of 2024 Independent Living Winners
About Senior LivingSenior living is a term used to describe various housing and care options for older adults from maintenance-free, 55+ facilities for active seniors, to secure, fully staffed facilities for seniors with Alzheimer's or dementia. Complete guide to senior livingFind senior living facilities near you
About Nursing HomesNursing homes provide short-and long-term care for seniors who have physical or mental health conditions that require 24-hour nursing and personal care.Complete guide to Nursing Homes
About Senior ApartmentsSenior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.Complete guide to Senior Apartments
About Care HomesResidential care homes are shared neighborhood homes for seniors who need a live-in caregiver to assist with activities of daily living, like dressing and bathing.Complete guide to care homes
Veteran ResourcesVA benefits for long-term care, such as Aid and Attendance benefits, can help eligible veterans and their surviving spouses pay for senior care.Guide to VA benefits for long-term care
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10 Best Independent Living Communities in San Diego, CA

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Who are you searching for?

Find all of the sunshine, sand, and entertainment you could want in San Diego, California. Healthy and active seniors — looking towards the next exciting phase of their lives — often find their ideal independent living communities in this popular coastal city. Through A Place for Mom’s partner communities, seniors can find resort-style apartments and condos, daily enriching experiences, amenities, and much more.

We can help you find the independent living community that matches your unique preferences. This all-inclusive guide to San Diego independent living contains detailed information on the 15 communities in A Place for Mom’s partner network within a 10-mile radius of the San Diego city center. Read about independent living community costs, payment tips, as well as local senior living regulations and demographics. Sections also include information on local, senior-specific programs and senior resources in San Diego.

San Diego independent living facilities | 1102 reviews

Showing 64 communities
Last Updated: 6/10/24
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Best of Senior Living

The top senior living communities stand out for their exceptional care and support of seniors in independent living, assisted living, memory care, and in-home care. Our Best of Senior Living Award winners represent the top 1-2% of senior care providers nationwide based on reviews from those who matter most: residents and families.

Best Meals and Dining

Nutritious meals are one of the most important and valued benefits of senior living. Chefs and meal planners provide residents the right balance of vitamins and minerals – and so much more. The best make sure every dish is made with quality ingredients, tastes great and leaves diners excited for their next meal.

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Photo of White Sands, a CCRC
1111 Photos available
99 Floor plans available
5 star
70%
4 star
10%
3 star
10%
2 star
10%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
The meals and dining service has been excellent, and they have really great activities for us to participate in. Based on my experience so far I would recommend the White Sands community to others.
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Waking up each morning and taking a morning stroll along the coastline before joining friends for a round of golf at the Torrey Pine Golf Course or an outing to the Museum of Contemporary Art. End the day dining alfresco as you watch the sun set over the Pacific Ocean. For the residents of White...
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Photo of Villa Lorena
44 Photos available
5 star
40%
4 star
40%
3 star
20%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
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My Dad was so well cared for here. He loved his staff, loved the delicious food, and thought his apartment overlooking the open space in Santa Luz was so nice. He loved to look out his windows at the view....
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
At Casa Aldea Senior Living, a beautifully designed boutique Assisted Living and Memory Care community uniquely located near the communities of Rancho Santa Fe and Santaluz in San Diego, CA, expect the extraordinary. Casa Aldea ensures senior living is firmly in the 21st Century with its...
Photo of The Remington Club
1818 Photos available
6.8
Review score
16 reviews
6.8
Review score
16 reviews
5 star
37%
4 star
25%
3 star
25%
2 star
0%
1 star
13%
See all reviews
The community is friendly. The apartment is spacious and bright. Daily exercise classes are offered to promote continued movement. The location is very convenient with banks, stores and eateries within...
Provides: Assisted Living, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Nestled in the exclusive community of Rancho Bernardo, The Remington Club strives to offers the finest in independent, assisted and skilled nursing services and outpatient therapy. Our close proximity to shopping, combined with our wonderful activities and social programs, make The Remington Club...
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Photo of Casa Aldea at University City Village
8.5
Review score
1 review
8.5
Review score
1 review
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
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0%
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0%
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Undoubtedly, Casa Aldea at University City Village is a unique senior living community. I could sense the kind, inviting vibe this establishment emanates as soon as I came through the doors—the same vibe I...
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of North Park Sunshine
8.5
Review score
1 review
8.5
Review score
1 review
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
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0%
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North Park Sunshine is a particularly exceptional community for older citizens. This community offers its inhabitants a friendly and inviting atmosphere, from its lovely surroundings to its caring personnel....
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of The Glen At Scripps Ranch
8.0
Review score
1 review
8.0
Review score
1 review
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
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It's been a pleasure getting to know The Glen at Scripps Ranch and finding a new home for my Uncle while working with amazing people. We've been to the Glen in recent months, with my parents now living in a...
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living, Nursing Homes
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes provide short-and long-term care for seniors who have physical or mental health conditions that require 24-hour nursing and personal care.
Photo of Casa De Las Campanas
8.0
Review score
4 reviews
8.0
Review score
4 reviews
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
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After I retired, my daughter felt it was important for her to live nearby in case my wife and I might need some assistance. That was nice of her, but I was disappointed to find out later that she had turned...
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living, Nursing Homes
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes provide short-and long-term care for seniors who have physical or mental health conditions that require 24-hour nursing and personal care.
Photo of Village North
5 star
0%
4 star
100%
3 star
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0%
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Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of Nazareth House
5 star
67%
4 star
11%
3 star
22%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
Our Dad spent 5 1/2 years at Nazareth House. During that time, we visited almost every. We observed interaction between many caregivers and residents. From not only our experience with Dad but others, the...
Provides: Assisted Living, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Nazareth House San Diego is committed to offering active elders personalized assistance, supportive services, and compassionate care in a Catholic, spirit-centered, loving community. Your safety, care, and assistance are assured while your independence is encouraged.The focus at Nazareth House is...
Photo of Town Park Villas
5 star
100%
4 star
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Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
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Photo of Canyon Villas
5 star
33%
4 star
33%
3 star
34%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
Provides: Assisted Living, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Provides: Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of Cerro Pueblo Apartments
5 star
100%
4 star
0%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of Belmont Village La Jolla
1818 Photos available
1818 Floor plans available
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Belmont Village brings more than two decades of experience to its peerless Independent Living, Assisted Living and award-winning Memory Care. Nestled in the heart of the beautiful seaside village of La Jolla, our newest community in San Diego County will offer the unique balance of innovative,...
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Photo of San Carlos Village Apartments
Provides: Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of Jacob Health Care Ctr
Provides: Assisted Living, Nursing Homes
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes provide short-and long-term care for seniors who have physical or mental health conditions that require 24-hour nursing and personal care.
Photo of Santa Fe Villas
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
With so many distinctive features, the simple elegance of Santa Fe Villas offers the ideal combination of stylish comfort, conveniences and detailed custom amenities.Santa Fe Villas Apartment homes for seniors 55+ offer roomy, carefully designed living spaces that embody all the elegant features...
Photo of Wesley Palms
5 star
75%
4 star
0%
3 star
25%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
Provides: Assisted Living, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Photo of Villa Pacifica
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Provides: Independent Living, Nursing Homes
Care types provided by this community
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Nursing Homes: Nursing homes provide short-and long-term care for seniors who have physical or mental health conditions that require 24-hour nursing and personal care.
Even the simple pleasures seem luxurious here - like breathtaking sunsets and towering views of San Diego's "Golden Triangle."  From nearby shopping to famous attractions to the scenic coastline, adventure awaits you every day.  Pacific Regent - La Jolla combines the richness of...
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
See details
Photo of MesaView Senior Assisted Living
5 star
22%
4 star
11%
3 star
45%
2 star
11%
1 star
11%
See all reviews
Two relatives have lived there for a length of time (at different times). They were both happy there. One played the piano for residents. The main building is an older home, kept up well. Residents can feel...
Provides: Assisted Living, Memory Care, Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Memory Care: Memory care facilities provide housing, care, and therapies for seniors who have Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia in an environment designed to reduce confusion and prevent wandering.
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
Our speciality is providing quality care at resonable rates. Villa La Mesa offers modest, homelike accommodations nestled in a very quiet residential area of 'Old' La Mesa. With a total licensed capacity of twenty-nine (29) residents, Villa La Mesa is small enough to offers a warm, homelike...
Photo of St Paul's Manor
5 star
60%
4 star
40%
3 star
0%
2 star
0%
1 star
0%
See all reviews
Everybody's very attentive. It's definitely an excellent price for the services they provide. My mom is in the independent living section. They definitely keep people involved with activities. They have...
Provides: Assisted Living
Care types provided by this community
Assisted Living: Assisted living facilities offer housing and care for active seniors who may need support with activities of daily living, like bathing, dressing, and medication management.
Photo of St. Paul's Manor
77 Photos available
Provides: Independent Living
Care types provided by this community
Independent Living: Independent living facilities offer convenient, hassle-free living in a social environment for seniors who are active, healthy, and able to live on their own.
St. Paul’s Manor is an active living community nestled in the heart of Bankers Hill, close to Downtown, Hillcrest, Balboa Park and Little Italy. Residents walk to church, restaurants, Balboa Park museums and theatre performances at the Old Globe. Attractions include our restaurant, entertainment,...
Photo of Orchard Active Senior Living
Provides: Senior Apartments
Care types provided by this community
Senior Apartments: Senior apartments offer accessible, no-frills living for seniors who are generally active, healthy, and able to live on their own.

Our methodology

How we identify the top facilities in your location

We developed a proprietary recommendation system that ranks communities based on factors
we know are important to seniors and their families:

  • Proximity to your location
  • Recent, high-quality reviews
  • The amount of information available

Where we source our information

14,000+ communities

We’ve collected data from and about our network of more than 14,000 senior living communities in the U.S. for over twenty years, and we update this information at least once a year.

350,000+ reviews

Additionally, we’ve gathered over 350,000 reviews from senior living residents and family members to provide first-hand accounts of what senior living communities are really like.

What families are saying about independent living in San Diego

Recent reviews for independent living in San Diego

White Sands, a CCRC in La Jolla, CA

5.0
White Sands facility has everything from independent living to skilled nursing. They have a lot of activities to offer, it is in a really beautiful location. We could not be happier with our decision, we know our mother is safe there. The food is excellent with a wide range of choices. The rooms ...
Read more

Novellus Clairemont in San Diego, CA

4.0
My loved one has recently made the move into this community and so far I have no complaints of how things had been going for him. He has had a few health problems but other than that the experience has been pleasant for him. The staff have done a great job at staying organized in his care plan ...
Read more

Cypress Court in Escondido, CA

4.1
Love my apartment! Most residents are wonderful people, have made lots of nice friends. Food is great. I love that I'm surrounded with people that are fun and you can have conversations with them. I love that I no longer have to cook or clean. I still drive and am able to park my car in gated ...
Read more

Costs of independent living in the San Diego area

The average monthly price that families paid for San Diego independent living facilities in 2022 was $4,328 per month. This number comes from A Place for Mom’s proprietary data, and the price reflects the average monthly cost of room and board in addition to any add-on fees, entrance fees, or care costs.

Costs of independent living typically include monthly rent for the senior’s dwelling, utilities, activities, and sometimes meals. Some communities are all-inclusive, meaning that all costs are reflected in one monthly price. Other communities, however, charge additional fees for extra services. Personal services, pet rent, and admission fees may come at additional costs.

Independent living prices in San Diego can vary depending on location, services, and the size of the senior’s floor plan. Some San Diego independent living communities offer assisted living and skilled nursing care on the same campus. That way if a resident’s care needs ever change, they won’t need to move. Some communities take this a step further and are licensed as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs). In these cases, entrance fees may apply to cover future care costs. Stand-alone independent living communities may not have entrance fees, as they do not provide senior care.

The following cost figures represent average starting costs for independent living communities in the area. Please note that starting costs don’t necessarily include care costs, entrance fees, and any add-on service fees.

Average monthly cost of Independent Living in San Diego, CA vs. nearby cities

San Diego, CA
$4,554/mo
$4,757/mo
$4,490/mo

Average monthly cost of Independent Living in San Diego, CA vs. the state and national average

San Diego, CA
$4,554/mo
U.S. national average
$4,090/mo

Average monthly cost of Independent Living in San Diego vs. other types of senior living

$5,793/mo
Independent Living
$4,554/mo

Median monthly costs of Independent Living in San Diego, CA by room type

Semi-Private
$5,243/mo
Studio
$5,784/mo
1 Bedroom
$6,994/mo
2 Bedroom
$8,262/mo
Detached Cottage/Bungalow
$8,793/mo

Average cost of Independent Living in San Diego over time

San Diego, CACA stateNational

How people pay for independent living in San Diego

While the costs of independent living aren’t covered by public pay methods, such as Medicare or Medicaid, seniors have many options to fund their senior living lifestyle. Combinations of personal resources can typically be used to cover the costs of rent at an independent living community, while Medicare and Medicaid may help cover the costs of in-home care services.

Private pay methods in San Diego

Personal assets, such as savings accounts, Social Security benefits, and investments can be used to help cover monthly expenses at independent living communities. Seniors that own property or have life insurance have more options to help cover their senior living costs:

Caregiver Resources
Reverse Mortgages and Long-Term Care: The Pros and Cons
By Merritt Whitley, senior living writer and editor
Veterans Affairs benefits

If a senior qualifies for a VA pension, they can use that income to cover the costs of living at an independent living community. Veterans with disabilities that are enrolled in VA health care and receive a VA pension may also qualify for the VA Aid and Attendance — a pension add-on for seniors with qualifying health conditions. Like the pension, this additional monthly stipend can be used for anything that improves the senior veteran’s quality of life.

At least one of the following eligibility requirements must be met in order to receive the Aid and Attendance benefit:

  • The senior requires help with at least one activity of daily living.
  • The senior has an illness that, without care, keeps them in bed for most or all of the day.
  • The senior has significantly impaired eyesight.
  • The senior is currently in a nursing home or skilled nursing facility.

For disabled, housebound seniors, the Housebound allowance can help pay for in-home care services. This allowance is specifically for senior veterans who spend the majority of their time at home, or in some cases an independent living facility, due to a disability.

It may be helpful to note that a veteran cannot receive both VA Aid and Attendance and Housebound allowance at the same time. Seniors can apply for the Housebound allowance or VA Aid and Attendance by downloading VA Form 21-2680. The approval process is difficult, so it is worth it to look for some assistance when trying to apply.

Senior veterans can find local assistance with VA pension and benefit applications by contacting the San Diego VA Regional Benefit Office. Benefits counseling and assistance is also available through the County’s Office of Military and Veterans Affairs (also referred to as the OMVA). And, volunteers are available through the San Diego Public Library’s Veteran’s Resources Center to assist veterans in accessing their benefits.

Additionally, seniors who need assistance enrolling in VA health care can look into CalVet’s helpful resource — the Veterans Benefit Enhancement Program (or VBE). Through this program, seniors are guided through the process of switching to VA health care from Medi-Cal, a necessary first step in accessing benefits.

183769

Approximate number of veterans who live in San Diego, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Percentage of veterans in San Diego who are over the age of 55, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

Additional resources for San Diego veterans

San Diego VA Regional Benefit Office

Visit the San Diego VA website.
8810 Rio San Diego Drive
San Diego, CA 92108
Phone: 800-827-1000
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.

San Diego County Office of Military and Veterans Affairs

Visit the Office of Military and Veterans Affairs website.
5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92193
Phone: 858-694-3222
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

San Diego Public Library's Veterans Resources Center

Visit the Veterans Resources Center website.
San Diego Central Library, Room 316
330 Park Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 619-236-5800
Hours: Wednesdays, 9:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing
A Place for Mom Veterans Benefits Guide
San Diego Medi-Cal

California’s Medicaid program is called Medi-Cal. It serves people of low-income status by paying for health care services such as medical appointments, rehabilitation, and hospital stays. Medi-Cal doesn’t cover rent in independent living communities. Though, if a senior with Medi-Cal requires medically necessary in-home care services, they can apply for California’s In-Home Support Services program. This program may cover some of the costs of care in the senior’s own home if they meet certain requirements.

Covered California is the health care portal specifically for California residents that offers Medi-Cal as well as low-cost, full coverage health care plans. The Covered California application is the same as the Medi-Cal application, so when you apply through their web portal, you can also see if you qualify for Medi-Cal. This easy-to-use web portal allows low-income residents to gain access to full essential health care benefits on top of their qualifying Medi-Cal benefits.

San Diego resident Medicaid resources

Apply for Medi-Cal through San Diego County

Apply through Covered California.
1879 Logan Ave. J
San Diego, CA 92113
Phone: 800-300-1506
Hours: Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturdays, 5 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Apply for Medi-Cal through Covered California

Visit the Medi-Cal program information website.
Phone: 1-866-262-9881
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Medi-Cal program information

Learn about the San Diego Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92193
Phone: 800-640-4661

San Diego Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Learn about the San Diego Long-Term Care Ombudsman.
5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92193
Phone: 800-640-4661

A Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides free services to residents in long-term care facilities. Services can include assistance with senior care quality, individual preferences, and more.

Medicare

Medicare is a federal health care program for seniors aged 65 years and older. While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of rent for independent living, it may cover some medical care costs. Seniors already enrolled in Medicare who meet low-income requirements may be eligible for Medicare Savings Programs that may partially cover a Medicare premium.

Seniors can apply for Medicare Savings Programs online and see which program best fits their needs. There are four different Medicare Savings Programs in California, each of which may cover some of Medicare Part A, B, C, or a combination.

San Diego resident Medicare resources

Social Security Administration

Visit the Social Security Administration website.
1333 Front St.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: 800-772-1213
Hours: Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

You can learn about each part of Medicare and apply online.

California Department of Aging

Visit the California Department of Aging website.
Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP)
Phone: 1-800-434-0222

Participate in the Medicare Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP).

San Diego Aging and Independence Services

Get information on senior health, nutrition, assisted transportation, and more by visiting the San Diego Aging and Independence Services website.

5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92193
Phone: 858-495-5885
Hours: Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

San Diego Long-Term Care Ombudsman

Learn about the San Diego Long-Term Care Ombudsman.

5560 Overland Ave., Suite 310
San Diego, CA 92193
Phone: 800-640-4661

A Long-Term Care Ombudsman provides free services to residents in long-term care facilities. Services can include assistance with senior care quality, individual preferences, and more.

Dial 2-1-1

Get assistance with community services.

Public assistance in San Diego

The HUD 202 program — a program from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (or HUD) — is available to seniors with low-income status. If an independent living community is part of a HUD 202 program, they provide affordable senior housing for very low-income seniors.

Social Security Income (or SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) are other options available to seniors who cannot work and are in need of rental assistance. Seniors over the age of 65 who meet all required financial criteria may be able to use these monthly payments in addition to other retirement benefits.[03]

Understand California laws and regulations for independent living communities

Since they are basically like senior apartments with more amenities, stand-alone independent living communities in California don’t need to be licensed as a senior care community. However, if the community shares a campus with other senior care facilities, such as assisted living and memory care units, or is a part of a Continuing Care Retirement Community (or CCRC), then licenses may apply.

In California, CCRCs or senior care facilities must have a Residential Care Facility for the Elderly (or RCFE) license through the California Department of Social Services, also known as the CDSS. With this license, the senior care facility must comply with the following regulations:

  • House a maximum of only two residents per bedroom.
  • Provide individual privacy in each bathroom.
  • Ensure bedrooms have enough room to accommodate equipment such as wheelchairs and walkers.
  • Provide clean and accessible common rooms for residents.
  • Provide activities involving social, leisure, and daily living skills. [04]

Independent living residents and their rights

Like renting a house or apartment, the owners of independent living communities must provide their renters with safe and well-maintained housing. The following are some examples of regulations a person can expect at a stand-alone independent living community in California:

  • Senior independent living communities typically have a minimum age requirement of 62 years.[05]
  • Tenants have a right to basic services, such as maintenance, landscaping, and fully functioning utilities, when they rent a unit in these communities.
  • It’s illegal for a landlord to refuse to rent to someone due to a disability.
  • Seniors with disabilities have protections under the law when renting.

Accommodations and modifications for seniors with disabilities

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), landlords must agree to reasonable accommodations and modifications for persons with disabilities. Accommodations and certain structural modifications of common areas must be paid for by the landlord, while some structural modifications to an individual unit should be paid for by the renter.[06]

Accommodations involve changes to community procedures that might restrict disabled individuals from access if not changed. Some examples of accommodations include the following:

  • Offering designated parking spaces close to the building
  • Allowing residents to have a service animal

Modifications involve changes to the structure of building common areas or individual units, for example:

  • Installing easy-to-reach appliances
  • Putting a ramp at the building’s entrance

The following are some other protections granted to renters under the Americans with Disabilities Act (or ADA):

  • Seniors with disabilities may keep a service animal even if the community has a no-pet policy.
  • Buildings in the community must be accessible with elements such as curb ramps, as well as restrooms and doors that accommodate wheelchairs.
  • If a community has an elevator, it must be designed or modified to fit a wheelchair and placed in a spot that’s commonly accessed by residents. [06]

Inspection reports

The California Department of Social Services (or CDSS) inspects facilities once each year and within 10 days of receiving a complaint.[04] For senior independent living communities that are licensed as Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs), their inspection reports are available to the public via the CDSS Care Facility Search. To use this search, scroll down to “Search By Facility Group,” select “Elderly Assisted Living,” select the “Facility Type” and “San Diego County,” and then click on the search button. You can also search by facility name or address.

California Department of Health contact information

California Department of Public Health
1616 Capitol Ave.
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377
Phone: 916-558-1784

COVID-19 regulations for San Diego independent living communities

Seniors in San Diego independent living communities are encouraged to follow the city’s COVID-19 guidelines. The most current recommendations for San Diego residents include staying current with COVID-19 vaccines and getting tested if they have related symptoms. In most public places, people aren’t required to wear masks. However, if you have COVID-19 symptoms, had a recent positive test, or have been exposed to the virus, San Diego County asks that you wear a mask in public. Masks are also required in long-term care, senior care, and health care centers, but they aren’t required in independent living communities.

Read the most recent San Diego County COVID-19 guidelines here.

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Vaccinations. San Diego County encourages all citizens to stay up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.

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Masking. Masks aren’t required in public unless you have COVID-19, have been exposed to COVID-19, or are visiting an at-risk setting.

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Facility cleanliness. Surfaces and shared items are routinely cleaned and disinfected with hospital-grade disinfectant.

Types of independent living in San Diego

Active seniors in San Diego have much to take advantage of in independent living communities. Resort-style facilities, an array of on- and off-site enriching experiences, and easy access to care services await seniors who retire in San Diego.

Resort-style senior living

Seniors can have the ultimate oceanside retirement when they choose an independent living facility in San Diego. Maintenance-free living and pet-friendly policies allow seniors to enjoy the comforts of home, release the responsibility of homeownership, and take advantage of luxe amenities.

Relax and rejuvenate in full-service salons and spas, or take a few laps in saltwater-filtered, heated pools. Take advantage of 24-hour concierge services, private access to walking paths, and the comforts of a gated community. Seniors can also stroll through private gardens, relax in therapeutic whirlpools, or even use their community’s own putting green.

When it’s time to dine, enjoy nutritious meals in on-site bistros or take a seat in an oceanfront dining room and order a five-course meal. Several communities offer arranged transportation, and some even take residents directly to San Diego’s unique restaurants. Other communities even have private dining rooms on campus where residents can host family gatherings and parties.

Evenings in San Diego’s independent living communities have much to offer. Seniors can watch their favorite movies in cozy on-site theaters or join social events in the community ballrooms. Sipping on wine from northern California vineyards is another popular evening pastime, after which residents can store their favorite bottles via a personal wine storage service.

A variety of housing options

Retiring in San Diego enables seniors to pick from a range of independent living housing options. Independent living apartments seem to be the most common option in this desirable area. Ranging from studio, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom floor plans, San Diego independent living apartments come in both affordable and resort-style price ranges.

In these independent living apartment layouts, seniors can find private patios or balconies that provide them with their own space to enjoy the balmy sea breeze. These apartments may also include useful storage spaces, like spacious walk-in closets or storage units off the balcony. Similar to standard apartments, kitchens are typically included in the floor plan, whether it’s a kitchenette or a full kitchen.

Options reminiscent of traditional homes are also available to seniors in San Diego. Several independent living communities offer senior-specific neighborhoods with stand-alone homes, from patio homes to villas with ocean views. Many hold up to two bedrooms and two bathrooms and have plenty of storage space, allowing seniors to avoid the hassle of paring down their possessions that moving into a small apartment may require. These types of independent living homes have large living areas, fully equipped kitchens, dining rooms, and patios or balconies. Some are even located closer to the coastline, providing seniors with their own private view of the ocean.

Life-enriching communities

When seniors aren’t maximizing their retirement in the city, they can find just about anything their hearts desire within the walls of their new apartments, condos, or small coastal homes. Many San Diego independent living communities have busy social and recreational calendars to keep each day exciting. From volunteer programs to on-site musical performances and parties, everyone can join in on something that interests them.

Some communities have established senior-led committees and clubs, enabling seniors to take some ownership in their new neighborhood. Others offer on-site worship services for different denominations, so seniors can fulfill their spiritual needs close to home. Foster lifelong learning by sitting in on lectures from visiting professors and other experts, take a fine art class, or help plan next year’s community garden setup. Additionally, active seniors can join the latest on-site fitness program that’s typically hosted by a professional instructor.

Connected to care

Many of San Diego’s independent living facilities are on the same properties as other senior living types. Some share a campus with assisted living and memory care communities, while others are a part of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (or CCRCs) that host all care types on one campus. When seniors choose an independent living community like this, they can find comfort in knowing they can access care as their needs evolve — without ever having to move to a new facility.

Some independent living facilities are also conveniently located near hospitals and medical centers, bringing peace of mind to residents and their families should urgent health care needs arise. Many senior independent living communities even offer access to on-site health care assessments.

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Unfamiliar with San Diego? Highlights for seniors

489122

Number of seniors over the age of 65 currently living in San Diego, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

14%

Percentage of San Diego seniors over the age of 65, according to the U.S. Census Bureau

77

Average high temperature (Fahrenheit) in August — San Diego’s warmest month, according to Weather Spark

Health care for seniors in San Diego

San Diego seniors can choose from several nationally ranked hospitals and senior-specific centers.

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UC San Diego Health – La Jolla and Hillcrest Hospitals

UC San Diego Health – La Jolla and Hillcrest Hospitals are teaching hospitals that provide general and surgical care. They’re nationally ranked for several areas of adult care, including cancer surgeries, cardiology, and their geriatric clinic.

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Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla

Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla provides general and surgical care. They’re nationally ranked for care, including cardiology and orthopedics.

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Sharp Memorial Hospital

Sharp Memorial Hospital is nationally ranked for lung surgery and urology. This hospital also provides general medical and surgical care, in addition to having geriatric specialists and several senior resource centers.

Transportation for seniors in San Diego

While 93% of independent living communities in A Place for Mom’s network provide scheduled transportation, San Diego has a variety of public transportation options available to seniors. This enables local seniors to explore nearby attractions at their leisure.

Through San Diego Public Transportation’s program, called PRONTO, passengers can buy their tickets online via an app. Their trolleys, trains, and buses are wheelchair accessible via ramps and lifts. In addition, they offer discounted fares for seniors 65+.

Browse the following transportation options for San Diego residents:

  • The San Diego Trolley allows people to travel as far north as the VA medical center, as far south as the Mexican border, and everywhere in between.
  •  The COASTER train is a great option for people who want to spend a day at the beach, as the train has routes to several popular beach communities, such as Carlsbad and Solana Beach.
  • There are several local buses with a variety of routes.
  •  The SPRINTER is the city’s light rail, which offers convenient routes for a small fare.
  •  Pedicabs are available for enjoyable tours of unique San Diego locations.
  •  Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner is a popular train for touring around southern California.

San Diego also has transportation options designed with seniors in mind.

  • Happy2Help Transportation has wheelchair-accessible vehicles and helps seniors travel to and from medical and nonmedical appointments for a fee.
  • Ride FACT is another senior-specific option with low prices. Seniors at least 60 years of age are eligible and must schedule their transportation in advance.

The scores below are based on San Diego’s accessibility of different transportation methods. The highest and best possible score is 100, meaning that higher numbers indicate a popular and easy-to-use method of getting around San Diego.[11]

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53

Walk Score

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37

Transit Score

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43

Bike Score

A group of senior women toasting with wine glasses

Unique senior activities in San Diego

San Diego has something for everyone to enjoy. Endless entertainment awaits — lounge on sandy beaches or visit your new favorite cafes and restaurants. Plan a relaxing cruise or attend an exciting event at the Port of San Diego. From popular and unique restaurants with every cuisine imaginable to senior centers and sports arenas, seniors will find something to make each day of their new lifestyle as fulfilling as they’d like.

Dining and entertainment

Among San Diego’s most popular restaurants are seafood fine dining experiences, unique steakhouse environments, wonderful Mediterranean spots, and more. Seniors are also encouraged to enjoy San Diego’s lively sports scene or participate in America’s favorite pastime by attending a San Diego Padre’s baseball game in Petco Park. View the latest professional football or soccer games at Balboa Stadium, or even catch a rugby or lacrosse game at Snapdragon Stadium.

San Diego is also home to several performing arts centers — such as The Old Globe, the Civic Theater, and the Balboa Theater — which host shows from local and famed musicians, as well as world premiere theatrical productions.

Active senior lifestyles

Active independent living residents can also take advantage of the scenic biking and hiking trails throughout San Diego. Mission Trails Regional Park and the San Diego River Trail lend themselves to both activities, offering views and wildlife sightings. There are also a variety of golf courses for seniors to enjoy, including Torrey Pines Golf Course, Balboa Park golf course, and more. San Diego even has the Ed Brown Center for Active Adults, a senior center where residents can enjoy boxing, tai chi, and dance parties.

Peaceful coastal retirement

For more laid-back enjoyment, San Diego has plenty of public libraries to choose from. In fact, almost every suburb has its own branch of the public library, making it incredibly easy to find your favorite authors. The Mira Mesa Senior Center is a place to enjoy exclusive activities, socialize with peers, and sign up for continuing education programs and community college classes. The City of San Diego’s AgeWell Services even hosts a senior lounge and lunch at Balboa Park for older adults to socialize and relax.

Of course, seniors also have an abundance of gorgeous beaches to choose from, including La Jolla Shores and Cove. Natural beauty, stunning views from the rocky cliffs, unique shops and restaurants, and marine life sightings await. Day trips to Coronado Island are also popular, where coastal cafes, sandy beaches, and more are available to visitors.

Museums and historical attractions

Seniors have many options for exploring local history, many of which have accessibility options for people with disabilities. For example, Balboa Park — San Diego’s 1,200-acre backyard with dozens of museums — offers scooter and wheelchair rentals, though availability is limited. The Comic-Con Museum, the San Diego Museum of Art, breathtaking gardens, tropical trails, cafes, and much more are all located in the park.

Many other museums are also accessible, like the USS Midway Museum, which offers wheelchair rentals, tour scripts, and guides. The San Diego History Center is another popular museum about local history and doesn’t have an admission fee. San Diego also has its own Natural History Museum, with ever-changing exhibits, weekly events, and discounted admission fees for seniors. Or, stroll through Old Town San Diego, a popular downtown area full of historic landmarks and unique shops.

Themed adventures

Seniors who are new to the area may want to explore San Diego’s most popular attractions. SeaWorld San Diego and the San Diego Zoo are just a couple among many must-see places. Many of San Diego’s tourist attractions are also wheelchair accessible and make accommodations for people with disabilities. These accessible attractions offer tour scripts, accessibility guides, and wheelchair rentals with limited availability.

Frequently Asked Questions

Monte Vista Village, Solstice Senior Living at El Cajon and Cypress Court are the top-rated Independent Living facilities near San Diego, CA. These Independent Living facilities received the highest rankings based on verified family reviews. See full list of communities.

The average cost of Independent Living in San Diego is $4,554 per month. This cost may vary based on location, amenities, floorplan, level of care and other factors.

References

  1. A Place for Mom. (2022). A Place for Mom proprietary data.

  2. United States Census Bureau. (2021). Sex by age by veteran status for the civilian population 18 years and over (B21001) [Data set]. American Community Survey.

  3. Social Security Administration. Supplemental security income.

  4. State of California Health and Human Services Agency. Department of Social Services. (2008). Manual of Policies and Procedures Community Care Licensing Division: Residential care facilities for the elderly (RCFE), Title 22, Division 6, Chapter 8.

  5. Intergenerational Housing for Senior Citizens, California Civil Code § 51.3.5 (1988 & rev. 2017).

  6. California Department of Justice. (2003, November). Legal rights of persons with disabilities, 4th edition.

  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Coronavirus disease (2019) preparedness checklist for nursing homes and other long-term care settings.

  8. United States Census Bureau. (2021). Age and sex (S0101) [Data set]. American Community Survey.

  9. Weather Spark. (2022). Average temperature in San Diego.

  10. U.S. World and News Report. (2022). Best hospitals in San Diego, California.

  11. Walkscore. (2022). Living in San Diego.

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1.

A Place for Mom. (2022). A Place for Mom proprietary data.

2.

United States Census Bureau. (2021). Sex by age by veteran status for the civilian population 18 years and over (B21001) [Data set]. American Community Survey.

3.

Social Security Administration. Supplemental security income.

4.
5.

Intergenerational Housing for Senior Citizens, California Civil Code § 51.3.5 (1988 & rev. 2017).

6.

California Department of Justice. (2003, November). Legal rights of persons with disabilities, 4th edition.

7.
8.

United States Census Bureau. (2021). Age and sex (S0101) [Data set]. American Community Survey.

9.

Weather Spark. (2022). Average temperature in San Diego.

10.

U.S. World and News Report. (2022). Best hospitals in San Diego, California.

11.

Walkscore. (2022). Living in San Diego.