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Community-Based Services for Seniors

There are a variety of community-based programs and services that can help senior citizens live safely and comfortably at home. The descriptions below explain the key types of programs and services available, and where to get more information about them.  For county-specific information, contact the Senior Information and Assistance Program in your local area by calling 1-800-510-2020, or visiting The Senior Information and Assistance Program is the key resource to access all the services described in this fact sheet.  CANHR also has a list of basic resources for each county in California.

Coordinating Services

Case management (sometimes referred to as “care management” or “coordination”) links persons to needed services through assessment, planning and monitoring.

Publicly funded programs include:

Private services may be provided by:

  • Home health agencies can offer short-term case management services.

  • Fee-for-service Geriatric Case Managers.

Personal Care Services

  • In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) provides Medi-Cal eligible persons who are aged, blind, or disabled with personal care services so they can remain safely at home.

  • Home Health Agencies provide personal care services for a fee.

  • Centers for Independent Living may have a registry of workers who provide in-home care on a fee-for-service basis.

Home Health & Hospice

These services are provided by certified Home Health Agencies. Medicare, Medi-Cal and long-term care insurance may pay for these services if prescribed by a doctor and considered medically necessary. Some Home Health Agencies participate in the Nursing Facility (NF) Waiver Program, and provide nursing home level of care in a person’s home with funding from Medi-Cal.

Caregiver/Dementia Related Services

The focus is on family caregivers providing information, counseling, peer support groups and respite care.


Call the Senior Information and Assistance Program at (800) 510-2020 for availability of programs in your county. There are recommended donation amounts for these services.

  • Congregate Nutrition Services provide meals in a group setting.

  • Home-Delivered Meals (Meals-on-Wheels).

  • For persons enrolled in Medi-Cal, consider participating in Community-Based Adult Services.


Contact the council of churches or hospitals.

  • Telephone Reassurance programs.

  • Emergency Response Systems (e.g., Life-Line) charge a monthly fee.

  • Friendly visitors and Senior Companion Program.


Transportation is one of the most needed and least available services, especially if a person needs to be accompanied, not just dropped off and picked up.

  • Nutrition Services and Community Based Adult Services sometimes provide transportation as part of their programs.

  • Some communities offer reduced fees for public transportation, special taxi services, MediVan services, or run volunteer transportation programs.

Bill-Paying Services

Bill-paying services are sometimes offered as part of publicly funded case management programs. Some non-profits offer bill paying or representative payee services for a fee. If a person lacks cognitive capacity, there are both public (i.e.,Office of the Public Guardian) and private conservators.

Legal/Advocacy Services

  • Contact CANHR’s Lawyer Referral Service for experts throughout the state who specialize in estate planning, resident’s rights, and personal injury and medical malpractice in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

  • Senior Legal Programs  handle consumer and public benefit issues.

  • Contact Adult Protective Services (APS) at (888) 202-4248 for abuse, (e.g., physical, neglect, financial, etc.) that occurs in the community, e.g., the elder’s home or apartment. 

  • If the abuse occurs in a long-term care institution like an Assisted Living Facility or a Nursing Home, contact the Long Term Care Ombudsman Program and CANHR.

  • Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program (HICAP) (800-434-0222) handles issues regarding Medicare billing, Medicare supplemental insurance policies, Medicare HMOs, and long-term care insurance.

Page Last Modified: April 24, 2019