Senior Services in Berkeley
Where to Go, Who Can Help and How to Get There
Berkeley offers a lot for residents, both in the available amenities right in the neighborhood and in its proximity to the Bay and cities such as San Francisco. With the best that the west coast has to offer a train or metro ride away — and glorious weather that leaves the air warm enough for outdoor pursuits almost year round — it’s no wonder seniors who lived much of their lives in or around Berkeley would like to remain in the area for retirement. It’s also not surprising that the town would attract seniors from other areas.
But living in Berkeley at any age does come with some potential challenges. The cost of living in the area is almost double that of the national average, and housing costs are more than triple the national average. Even compared with California’s fairly high average cost indexes, Berkeley comes in higher for housing, transportation, health care and grocery costs. Crime is also relatively high in the area; crime rates are over the national average, and Berkeley floats in the bottom 15th percentile for safety when compared to other cities of its size.
It’s not all bad news, though. Plentiful amenities and Berkeley senior services help bridge the gaps that can form due to some of the issues in the area. Check out the housing, financial, transportation, medical, caregiver and activity resources for seniors in Berkeley below to learn how the area can support a safe, stable retirement.
Housing for Seniors in Berkeley
With a housing cost that’s triple the national average, Berkeley can be an expensive place to buy into if you’re planning a move during you’re retirement. Even if you already own a home in the area, expenses and the effort related to maintaining it can become more than you might want to face on a fixed income. Whether you’re facing financial fears as a senior or simply want to downgrade to a living space that’s easier to maintain (and comes with stellar amenities), Berkeley senior services step up to provide a number of options.
1. Amistad House
Address: 2050 Delaware Street, Berkeley, CA 94709 Website: https://www.sahahomes.org/properties/amistad-house Phone: (510) 548-5189
This 60-unit HUD community offers affordable housing for disabled adults and seniors. The HUD nature of the housing means seniors only have to pay 30% of their adjusted monthly income on housing, and the building is within walking distance to a variety of amenities, including a pharmacy and grocery stores. Public transit options are also convenient.
2. Helios Corner
Address: 1531 University Ave., Berkeley, CA 94703 Website: https://www.sahahomes.org/properties/helios-corner Phone: (510) 981-9802
Helios Corner is another affordable housing option for seniors, and it has 80 units in a green building. It’s located on the intersection of University Ave. and Sacramento Street and is near parks, public transit and grocery stores. Both BART and AC Transit stops are located within walking distance, and the ground floor of the building houses a Salvation Army food pantry and the home office of Satellite Affordable Housing Associates.
3. Mable Howard Apartments
Address: 1499 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://jsco.net/property/mable-howard-apartments/ Phone: (510) 658-7492
This complex rents space to adults who are age 62 or older. In addition to the 40 individual apartments, the property includes a common room, community garden and on-site laundry facilities. An on-site office ensures seniors can connect with property management as needed, and the building has high speed internet. Dining options and public transportation stops are conveniently located nearby.
4. Redwood Gardens
Address: 2951 Derby Street, Berkeley, CA 94075 Website: https://csi.coop/en/locations/CA/berkeley/50 Phone: (510) 549-2210
This HUD-subsidized property has 169 units amid several buildings that surround a courtyard where residents can enjoy safe outdoor time. Seniors can choose from studio or one-bedroom apartments that all contain fridges and electric ranges. Some units are designed specifically for individuals who have special physical needs, and the property has secured entry for additional safety. Lounges on each floor, a library, community rooms and easy access to nearby amenities also make this a good choice for many seniors.
5. Silverado Berkeley Memory Care Community
Address: 2235 Sacramento St., Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://www.silverado.com/silverado-locations/california/berkeley/berkeley/ Phone: (510) 841-4844
This community offers memory care services for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s or other diseases that cause memory issues. The staff plans social events and other activities, often with the specific goal of focusing on brain health to help seniors maintain the cognitive function they do have. Outdoor courtyards, a range of floor plans and live-in community pets help make this location feel like home.
6. Chaparral House
Address: 1309 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: http://www.chaparralhouse.org/ Phone: (510) 848-8774
Seniors who need a higher level of skilled nursing care may find a home at Chaparral House. The staff offers nursing-home style care in a home environment, and clinical professionals are available 24 hours a day to help with medication management and other needs. Exercise groups, art classes, live musical entertainment and other activities help keep residents active, and faith services are offered weekly for those that want to attend them.
7. Margaret Breland Apartments
Address: 2577 San Pablo Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://jsco.net/property/margaret-breland-homes/ Phone: (510) 981-0774
This apartment complex offers 28 units for seniors. Affordable rents, a choice between one-bedroom and studio apartments and two courtyards are just some of the reasons older adults might want to move in here. The building also has a laundry room, community room and staff that plans recreational and community-building events.
8. Alameda County Social Services Elder Abuse Hotline
Address: 6955 Foothill Boulevard, Suite 143, Oakland, CA 94605 Website: https://www.alamedasocialservices.org/public/services/elders_and_disabled_adults/elder_abuse.cfm Phone: (866) 225-5277
This service of Alameda County Social Services provides an option for seniors or their family members to turn to if they believe financial or other abuse is occurring. The website offers information about what financial abuse might look like and offers some tips on how seniors can protect themselves.
9. Catholic Charities of the East Bay Housing Services Alameda County
Address: 433 Jefferson Street, Oakland, CA 94607 Website: https://www.cceb.org/housing-services-in-the-county-of-alameda/ Phone: (510) 768.3100
This organization helps adults age 55 or older who are at risk of losing their housing because of affordability issues. The agency may be able to help cover back rent if an eviction is being threatened, pay for utilities if someone is already receiving rental assistance or cover a deposit to assist a senior ready to move into a new location.
Transportation Services for Seniors in Berkeley
Transportation is a key ingredient for success in retirement — and, really, any time in life. The ability to get out of your own home and to other places in a city or metro area lets you continue to handle independent living activities such as shopping, keep up with your medical providers at appointments and enjoy important socialization opportunities including entertainment activities, dinner with friends or even classes or support groups. It’s not always possible for seniors to continue to drive themselves, especially in crowded metro areas. But individuals retiring in Berkeley have a wide range of transportation resources to choose from when they want to get out and about.
1. AC Transit
Website: http://www.actransit.org/discounted-passes-on-clipper-2/ Phone: (510) 891-4706
AC Transit is the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, including bus lines. Seniors age 65 and up can get discounted Clipper passes that can be used on these lines for an unlimited number of times each month. You’ll have to provide proof of age, such as a Medicare card, and a photo ID. But once you get the Clipper card, you can also use it on CalTrain, BART and numerous other California public transit systems.
Website: https://www.bart.gov/ Phone: (510) 464-6000
BART stands for Bay Area Rapid Transit. It has dozens of stations located throughout the metro area, connecting seniors in Berkeley with amenities and services in San Francisco and other areas. If you’re age 65 or older, you can purchase BART tickets for a fare that’s discounted up to 62.5%. The public transit service also offers organized field trips for older adults that involve traveling on the lines to a local event or attraction. The purpose of these trips is to foster socialization while encouraging a familiarity with BART and the process of riding.
3. East Bay Paratransit
Website: https://www.eastbayparatransit.org/ Phone: (510) 287-5000
Seniors that can’t use regular bus or train lines, such as those operated by BART or AC Transit, due to health conditions or disabilities, may be able to rely on East Bay Paratransit. This is also a public service, but instead of traditional buses, it uses vans that are wheelchair accessible. The program is actually a joint effort of BART and AC Transit to provide ADA-compliant public transportation in many of the same areas the other public lines run.
4. Berkeley Rides for Seniors and the Disabled
Website: http://www.ci.berkeley.ca.us/ContentDisplay.aspx?id=3992 Phone: (510) 981-7269
This program provides transportation options for those who are 70 years of age or older or who have a disability The service actually includes four different programs, and to be eligible, you must be a resident of Berkeley and be registered with East Bay Paratransit Services. Some of the options include travel training for seniors who want to take other modes of public transit as well as taxi and van vouchers.
5. GoGo Grandparent
Website: https://gogograndparent.com/ Phone: (855) 464 – 6872
This organization offers an easy way for older adults or their family members or caregivers to manage ride services. Typically, Uber and Lyft require use of a mobile app, but GoGo Grandparent partners with these companies so you can order a ride by calling 1-855-GOGO-USA. Plus, the company keeps emergency contact information on file, so drivers know exactly who to call if something unexpected happens or if they need to inform someone that a drop off location or time for a senior has changed.
Caregiving Resources in Berkeley
Seniors may find that as they age, they would like some assistance with various tasks — even if they’re choosing to live in their own homes. Caregiving resources offer options for getting help with daily tasks, such as meals or transportation, or more advanced assistance with dressing or bathing. Some organizations provide companion services, so seniors have someone to talk to and engage with, and there are also resources on this list for family caregivers.
1. Jewish Family and Community Services
Address: 2484 Shattuck Ave., Suite 210, Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: https://jfcs-eastbay.org/home-care/ Phone: (510) 684-6009
One of the services offered by this organization is personalized home care from geriatric social workers. The team conducts home visits to identify potential needs and make recommendations for what type of care seniors might need. Aging services, counseling and support groups for family caregivers are also offered by this organization.
2. Alegre Home Care
Address: 5767 Broadway, Suite 201, Oakland, CA 94618 Website: https://www.alegrecare.com/ Phone: (800) 598-4777
This company provides caregivers that are selected because of their passion and experience in helping others. Case managers support caregivers to ensure each senior receives the support that works for them, including options such as bathing and dressing, transportation to appointments, mobility exercises, medication reminders and assistance in recovering from illnesses.
3. Thrive Home Care
Address: 14895 E. 14th Street, Suite 300, San Leandro, CA 94578 Website: https://www.thrivehomecare.com/ Phone: (800) 410-8818
This service provides non-medical home care for seniors who need a bit of extra assistance aging at home or getting out and about. Service options include hourly care, respite care for times when family caregivers need a break, 24-hour care and transportation.
4. CSS Home Care
Address: 1999 Harrison Street, Suite 1800, Oakland, CA 94612 Website: https://csshomecare.com/?utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=local&utm_source=yelp Phone: (510) 570-1445
An expert team from CSS Home Care manages services provided by carefully-screened staff members. The management team includes gerontologists and social workers, and services include memory care, post-surgical care and hospice care. The team will also provide one-on-one care in a facility setting to help ensure seniors get the services they need and don’t feel isolated during the process.
6. Alzheimer’s Association Caregivers and Loved Ones Support Group
Address: 2320 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: https://www.communityresourcefinder.org/ResourceView/Index?id=1447260 Phone: (800) 272-3900
Family members who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia can take part in support groups that meet once a month. The groups tend to be small, with 10 to 15 people in each session, and they offer a place for talking through issues, getting support from others and learning about helpful resources.
7. Family Caregiver Alliance
Address: 101 Montgomery Street, Suite 2150, San Francisco, CA 94104 Website: https://www.caregiver.org/support-groups Phone: (800) 445.8106.
This is another option for caregiver support groups. If you’re caring for someone over the age of 60, this service might be helpful, and the organization also hosts a Spanish-speaking support group on the second Monday of each month.
General Support Services for Seniors in Berkeley
Increasing numbers of organizations are beginning to find and fill needs for seniors, and these agencies don’t all fit easily into categories such as housing, transportation, health care or caregiving. Checking out some of the general Berkeley senior services available to you below.
1. Center for Elders’ Independence
Address: 1497 Alcatraz Ave., Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://cei.elders.org/ Phone: (510) 433-1150
The center provides assistance and services for seniors to help them maintain independence in their own homes, even if they require some assistance with activities such as transportation, nutrition or medication. The comprehensive services range from care to full management of the billing processes, and the center can seek reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid.
2. City of Berkeley Aging Services Division
Address: 1900 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 Website: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/aging/ Phone: (510) 981-5200
This local government division runs a variety of programs, including the North and South Berkeley senior centers and several housing initiatives. It also mans a referral line; seniors can dial 211 to get information about affordable housing and other relevant services within Berkeley or the surrounding Alameda County area. Volunteer programs, a monthly newsletter and other helpful initiatives from this organization are designed to help keep seniors informed about their options for resources in the city. The agency also offers support groups for caregivers.
3. Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay
Address: 2320 Channing Way, Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: http://aseb.org/ Phone: (510) 644-8292
The ASEB offers services for seniors who are dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease and for their families and caregivers. An early-stage program helps individuals who are first dealing with these diagnoses, while three adult day health care centers offer safe, engaging programming for older adults who need care during the day. Workshops, support groups, family support programs and referrals are all also offered by this organization.
4. Geriatric Care Managers
These organizations offer geriatric care manager services to help families and others ensure older adults are cared for. Experts connect seniors and their caregivers with resources that can help with various needs. The process typically begins with a needs assessment and a personalized plan for accessing resources for legal, medical and financial needs.
Geriatric care management agencies in the area include:
Address: 3030 Ashby Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705 Website: https://www.agingcare.com/local/healthcare-liaison-berkeley-geriatric-care-managers-ca Phone: (510) 704-8476
Creative Care for Older People
Address: 2220i Sacramento St., Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://www.agingcare.com/local/creative-care-for-older-people-berkeley-geriatric-care-managers-ca
Matsui Senior Options
Address: P.O. Box 2836, Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://www.agingcare.com/local/matsui-senior-options-berkeley-geriatric-care-managers-ca
Activities for Seniors in Berkeley
Staying active can be important to maintaining mental and physical health at any age. Bodies and minds tend to come with use-it-or-lose-it riders, and seniors who don’t use their muscles, memory and other functions may be at risk for decreased functionality over time. Getting out and about in Berkeley offers seniors the chance to be as mobile as possible and stay social. Check out some of the options for entertainment and learning as an older adult in Berkeley.
1. UC Berkeley Botanical Garden
Address: 200 Centennial Dr., Berkeley, CA 94720 Website: https://botanicalgarden.berkeley.edu/ Phone: (510) 643-2755
Seniors can see more than 10,000 types of plants on the 34-acre grounds of this attraction. The gardens are more than 100 years old and provide a look at landscapes from all over the world. Seniors get a discounted rate on admission, and everyone gets in free the first Wednesday of every month.
2. North Berkeley Senior Center
Address: 1900 Sixth Street, Berkeley, CA 94710 Website: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Health_Human_Services/Division_on_Aging/Locations,_Programs,_Services.aspx Phone: (510) 981-5190
Seniors can get involved in enriching activities at this center and take advantage of a number of support services. Options include group meals, health and wellness education and recreational activities designed for seniors age 55 and older. Taking part and growing in this community helps seniors reduce the risks of isolation. The center has an 18-passenger van and provides transportation to and from the location as well as to local resources during scheduled trips.
3. Henry Ramsey Jr. South Berkeley Senior Center
Address: 2939 Ellis Street, Berkeley, CA 94703 Website: https://www.cityofberkeley.info/Health_Human_Services/Division_on_Aging/Locations,_Programs,_Services.aspx Phone: Phone: (510) 981-5170
This is a second location for seniors offered by the city of Berkeley, the North Berkeley Senior Center being the first. This location offers the same types of services and resources, including classes and trips. The resources are designed to help seniors age gracefully, be more active and live a more enriched life. This center also has access to a van to help seniors get to activities.
4. Berkeley Adult School
Address: 1701 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley, CA 94702 Website: https://bas.berkeleyschools.net/ Phone: (510) 644-6130
Seniors can access a range of educational options via this school, including diverse programs for older adults and adults with disabilities. Classes designed specifically for those age 55 and up include information on managing car insurance premiums by taking a mature driver’s course and staying active and healthy. The courses are often taught at local senior centers and other accessible locations, so seniors can find them in their area.
5. Berkeley Repertory Theater
Address: Peet’s Theatre – 2025 Addison St., Berkeley, CA 94704; Roda Theatre – 2015 Addison St., Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: https://www.berkeleyrep.org/ Phone: (510) 647–2949
This is a Tony Award-winning regional theatre that puts on a wide range of plays and programs, ranging from classics to new material. Showtimes include 8 pm Tuesday through Saturday and 7 pm on Sunday, and matinees are at 2 pm on Sundays and alternating weeks at 2 pm on Thursdays and Saturdays. Seniors age 65 or older can save $10 on ticket prices when they buy them an hour before each show.
6. Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)
Address: 2155 Center Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: https://bampfa.org/ Phone: (510) 642-0808
Seniors can find a wide range of exhibits at this university museum. Individuals age 65 and older get a discount on admission of $2 off, and if you bring a child age 13 or under, you get in free, making this an ideal outing with grand kids. On the first Thursday of each month, all the galleries are free for everyone. The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.
7. Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse
Address: 2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94704 Website: https://www.thefreight.org/ Phone: (510) 644-2020
This is a nonprofit community arts organization that hosts a wide range of entertainment acts and especially encourages artists that play music rooted in the history and culture of the region. Seniors age 65 and older save $2 on tickets, and the location provides assisted listening devices. You can also sign up for classes to learn to play various types of music.
8. Lawrence Hall of Science
Address: 1 Centennial Drive, Berkeley, CA 94720 Website: https://www.lawrencehallofscience.org/ Phone: (510) 642-5132
Seniors age 65 and older get $4 off admission, and members get in free. Exhibits explore a wide range of topics, including animals, earth and space, brain teasers and the Bay area. The hall puts an emphasis on interactive programs that help people of all ages learn and engage with science.
9. Tilden Regional Park
Address: 2950 Peralta Oaks Court, Oakland, CA 94605 Website: https://www.ebparks.org/parks/tilden/ Phone: (510) 544-2747
This is one of the oldest parks in the area and offers access to swimming at Lake Anza and a carousel. A Botanic Garden makes it possible to peruse endangered plant species as well as many native varieties, and the Tilden Nature Area includes a Little Farm and other nature education programming. Seniors can plan picnics in the park, fish, golf, hike or camp.
Companions for Seniors in Berkeley
With so many opportunities for assistance and activities, it can be a daunting proposition to narrow down what a senior wants to look into or choose some entertainment options for the day or week. And even once you do the work of researching these Berkeley senior services, you may need to get out of the house and engage with them for the best result. If you’d like company on this journey, consider a Mon Ami companion. These caring college students can help you navigate web resources and learn more about your own community or accompany you to museums or other activities to provide fellowship, moral support or even friendship along the way.
Companion Services for Seniors in San Francisco
With so many offerings to consider, seniors may be a little intimidated by the options the Bay area has. Whether you want to get out and enjoy music, history and art or learn more about navigating the internet so you can find the resources you need, you don’t have to go it alone. Companions from Mon Ami can help you navigate any of the above resources or join you for an enjoyable afternoon at a museum or concert.
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