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Different Types of Senior Housing in San Diego

Updated on June 29, 2012
Retirees flock to the warm San Diego climate.
Retirees flock to the warm San Diego climate.

While it is not the most affordable choice for retirees, San Diego is a favorite retirement destination. The weather is one of the big draws to the San Diego area, for seniors looking for a semi-arid climate year round. Those who can't afford San Diego often settle for more reasonable options in Florida or Arizona. However, for those whose heart is set on senior housing in San Diego, with so many options, the best approach is to identify what is important to you in order to narrow your search.

Age Requirements for Senior Communities

To be considered "senior" housing at least of one of the people living there will need to be 55 or older. Children are allowed to visit, but there is a time limit. The usual restriction is no more than two weeks at a time, so if you have grandchildren this is something to think about. If senior housing still sounds desirable to you, communities for those 55 and older can be found in San Diego under a variety of names including:

  • Active adult communities
  • 55+ communities
  • Retirement communities
  • Assisted living communities

Senior Housing Considerations

Before you make the move to a community in San Diego designed for those 55 and over, take time to identify what you want out of senior housing. Ask questions like:

  • Are you looking for a gated community?
  • Do you want a community that offers activities and clubs?
  • Are you looking for housing that offers independent, assisted living, or continuing care options?
  • Do you want to rent or buy?
  • Do you want an apartment with a view?
  • Are you looking for luxury housing, or something more affordable?

Independent Senior Living Options

Independent senior options are numerous in the San Diego area. Apartment complexes dedicated to the 55+ crowd are numerous, and single-family homes in senior communities are also available. Some communities offer independent living as well as continuing care facilities so seniors can live in one community even when the time for assistance or skilled nursing comes into play.

  • Senior apartments: Senior apartment complexes offer age-restricted housing. Residents are usually 55 and older. Services available differ from one complex to another, but may include things like recreation programs, communal dining, and transportation services.
  • Retirement communities: Retirement communities offer a number of options from single family homes, to condos, townhouses, or duplexes. Instead of rent, retirees can buy the housing option of their choice, but rentals are also available. For those who choose to become homeowners, additional fees are often charged for services provided.
  • Continuing Care Communities (CCRCs): Continuing Care Communities are an ideal choice for those who want to cover present needs as well as long-term needs. CCRCs offer independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing services all in one community.

Affordable Senior Housing in San Diego

For the most affordable options for senior housing in San Diego, consider nonprofit retirement communities such as St. Paul's Manor. This retirement community provides independent, assisted living, and skilled nursing communities.

Medicare and Assisted Living

If you depend on Medicare to help pay for your living costs, it is important to know that in California, Medicare does not pay for assisted living. However, you may qualify for Medicaid assistance programs or VA Aid, if you qualify.


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