California Assisted Living Research Guide

David Besnette

By David Besnette


You are so, so fortunate if you are researching assisted living, memory care, independent living or are looking for a Residential Care Home for the Elderly (RCFE) in California.

The State of California provides numerous outstanding research tools, facility databases, and assistance to anyone and everyone – if you know where to look.

The best thing is that the data provided is always ad-free, trustworthy (from state sources) and updated regularly – something that most other senior living sites can’t do.

In This Assisted Living & Senior Care Research Guide for California, You’ll Learn:

  • How to find facilities statewide, by city from State of California data
  • How to find facilities by city, or zip code, or other search filters or criteria
  • How to see facility complaints, code violations, and inspections
  • How to view rules and regulations for Assisted Living in the State of California

How To Find Senior Living Facilities in California (Statewide)

I’ll actually cover the first three bullet points from above in this section.   You’ll learn the MOST trustworthy way to find facilities in California, and then focus on your specific city, area or zip code.

First, you’ll need to swing by the California Department of Social Services.  They have redone this site in recent years, and it’s AWESOME!

You will immediately be greeted to a very easy-to-follow selections page like this:

DSS Search California

The page can be accessed here.

California Placement

From there, I assume you’ll be looking at senior care options and would choose either:

  1. Adult Residential and Daycare
  2. Elderly Assisted Living
  3. Home Care

For this example, we’ll choose Elderly Assisted Living.  From there, you’ll be taken to another easy-to-follow search box like this:

Search Box for CA Assisted Living

Very simply, from there, enter the City, or Zip Code you are looking for (for Assisted Living) and your list will then be displayed.

Alternatively, if you know the facility name, or facility number, or wish to do a county-wide search, you can certainly do that too.

From there, you’ll get a list of facilities that can be filtered, or sorted by the facility name (alphabetically), the facility status (licensed, or pending), and more.

Once you choose a facility, you can then review detailed information and data about the facility that includes:

  • How to get in touch with the facility directly
  • The facility’s address
  • Facility Capacity (number of beds)
  • The State Licensing Contact Information
  • A ‘Stay Updated’ button to receive alerts about the facility
  • A tabbed section where visitors can view complaints, inspections, citations, reports and more

Facility Overview Example

Facility Detail

View of Tabbed Section with Complaints and Inspections Data

Tabbed Section

Other great things about this sites and the data provided is that it allows you to e-mail the facility information to another person (you’ll find that link at the bottom of the data provided) and you can access other important pages provided by the DSS including a glossary section, and a page where you can download the facility data directly if you want.

How To View California’s Assisted Living (RCFE) Rules and Regulations

There are several documents available to you that outline the rules and regulations that cover the Residential Care Homes for the Elderly in the State of California – facilities that provide assisted living services to the elderly

The first document is the Manual of Policy and Procedures which is a 58 page PDF document, available to the general public, providing in-depth information, definitions, rules and standards for the State’s thousands of RCFE’s.

The first page looks like this:

RCFE Regulations California

 

There are additional pages you’ll need to become familiar with including:

  • Part II – Application Procedures, Operating Requirements, Application Denial and more
  • Part III – Background Checks, Resident Assessments, Resident Rights and more
  • Part IV – Food Services, Health and Safety, Allowable Health Conditions and more

Additionally, the California Legislature website offers another way to research and view the Rules and Regulations concerning Elder Care Facilities in California here.

Additional Support and Sites

Some other incredibly helpful sites for you to visit if you are wishing to learn more about assisted living in California:

  1. You must, must must stop by CalQualityCare.  This is another highly trusted not-for-profit site that offers a very comprehensive search tool for finding all types of senior care options statewide.  Assisted Living, Nursing Homes, Hospice, Adult Day Care, and Home Health are all included.    They have a ratings system that is very good, and provide really in-depth data and statistics for Senior Living facilities statewide.  
    Ratings
  2. The California Assisted Living Association is a great place to get questions answered, find support, and to stay tuned into the Assisted Living industry in California. They even have their own search provider tool to find assisted living in California.
  3. Specific more for Southern California the San Diego Tribune, in partnership with U-T Watchdog, provides a very good database and tool for researching assisted living violations.
  4. Consumer Advocates for RCFE Reform also provides a very informative site and Facility Search Tool and database.   
    Facility Finder

All of these sites and resources I’ve shared with you on this page should be treated as safe ways to navigate California’s assisted living and senior care industry, facilities, rules and standards.   Unlike most other online ‘guides’ and databases that aren’t updated very often, and are overly-commercial and ad-laden, these sites will get you the information you need quickly, and you can be very confident that it is accurate!

 

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