Senior Services in Palo Alto

Where to Go, Who Can Help and How to Get There

senior services

Aging in our society introduces a new set of challenges, and some of those might be particularly felt in Palo Alto — especially by seniors on limited incomes, as the cost of living is triple that of the national average and more than double the state average. That’s primarily due to a housing index that’s seven times the national average, though, and since the area offers excellent amenities, weather and overall safety, many older adults still choose to live here.

Seniors that make a home in the area can benefit from a number of resources and services to help them overcome financial challenges or best enjoy the many amenities of the community. Senior services in Palo Alto include resources for housing and finances, transportation, caregiving and entertainment and activities.

Check out the recommendations for providers of these Palo Alto seniors services below.


Housing for Seniors in Palo Alto

Palo Alto is a beautiful and enjoyable place to live for those that can deal with the high cost of living. The weather is generally warm and mild, and the crime rate is only 1% above national average. That makes Palo Alto safer than close to half the other cities in the nation.

Housing resources for seniors include communities and assisted living options as well as resources to make owning a home in the area slightly less expensive. The city also offers financial programs to provide assistance for those with limited or low income. Some recommended Palo Alto resources for seniors in this category are listed below.

1. The Vi

Address: 600 Sand Hill Road, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Phone: 650-853-5000. Website: 

 The Vi at Palo Alto is a gorgeous senior living community that encourages intellectual pursuits and activity among its residents. The many amenities include art classes, community rose gardens, stately common areas, meal preparation and housekeeping. Plus, since the location offers continuum care, seniors have peace of mind that they can move seamlessly from independent living to more supported services should the need arise.

2. Lytton Gardens

Address: 2185 N. California Blvd., Suite 215, Walnut Creek, CA 94596. Phone: 925-956-7400. Website:

Located in central Palo Alto, Lytton Gardens provides seniors with a home that’s easy walking distance from much of downtown. Residents can remain active in the city or take advantage of numerous activities and dining options provided on-site.

3. Sunrise of Palo Alto

Address: 2701 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Phone: 650-319-8643. Website:

From housekeeping to easy access to the city’s art and theater areas, Sunrise of Palo Alto offers comfortable living and plenty to keep older adults socializing and active. Whether seniors need a short stay for respite care, assistance following a surgery or a full-time independent living home, this condo-inspired community is a great choice for many.

4. Palo Alto Commons

Address: 4041 El Camino Way, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Phone: 650-320-8626. Website:

The flexibility of this community makes it a good choice for seniors that aren’t sure what might be right for them now or in the near future. Independent living in a private apartment is one option, and residents can move up and down the care continuum at Palo Alto Commons as needed. One-bedroom or studio apartments, a bountiful activity calendar and delicious meals are just some of the amenities offered here.


Financial Resources for Seniors in Palo Alto

Rate discounts and tax exemptions are available for seniors in Palo Alto, to help their dollars stretch a little further.

1. City of Palo Alto Rate Discount 

Seniors in Palo Alto that meet income requirements or who have medical needs that necessitate above-normal utility use may qualify for a rate discount. Seniors in a household of one with an income less than $3,879 or a household of two with an income less than $4,443 per month may qualify for a 25% discount on electrical or gas charges and 20% off of storm drain charges. Even if you don’t meet the income requirements, you may receive assistance if you have medical needs that require you to use more electricity.

2. Senior Parcel Tax Exemptions

Since 2015, property owners in the city have paid a parcel tax to help fund the district schools. But individuals age 65 or older who own and live in a single-family residence are exempt from this tax. To qualify for the exemption, simply bring proof of birth and residence to the Palo Alto Unified School District at 25 Churchill Avenue.

Seniors must apply for this exemption by June 30 for the next year. If you miss the application deadline, you must pay the parcel tax and then apply for a refund at the same office. You’ll need proof of payment, your tax bill, proof of birth and a completed Parcel Tax Refund Form.


Transportation for Seniors in Palo Alto

Public transportation for seniors is critical. First, because it ensures older adults can get to medical and other important appointments. Second, because it reduces the health impact of losing a driver’s license or being uncomfortable with driving in certain areas or long distances. Without the ability to easily navigate the city, older adults risk isolation, which can lead to depression and other issues. Check out the senior services in Palo Alto related to transportation below.

1. Caltrain

Address (Office): 1250 San Carlos Ave. San Carlos, CA 94070-1306. Phone: 800-660-4287. Website:

Caltrain runs south from Palo Alto all the way to Gilroy and north to San Francisco, so seniors can use it to visit family in the Bay area or access medical providers or other offices outside of Palo Alto. Senior fares are discounted around 50%; you can receive the discount if you are 65 years or older and have a Medicare card or apply for a California transit discount card. Caltrain also accommodates wheelchairs and does have wheelchair lifts on applicable cars.

2. SamTrans

Address (Office): 1250 San Carlos Ave. San Carlos, CA 94070-1306. Phone: 800-660-4287. Website:

SamTrans provides service throughout the entire metro area, widening the range over which seniors can seek adventure whether they can or want to drive or not. Seniors who hold a Medicare card can receive a discount of 50% on day passes ($2.75 each) or buy an unlimited monthly pass for just $27. Riders with disabilities can access free training on accessibility options and leverage resources such as boarding lifts and special seating.

3. Marguerite Shuttle

Address (Mailing): Stanford Transportation, 415 Broadway, 3rd Floor, Redwood City, CA 94063-8877. Phone: 650-723-9362. Website:

The Marguerite Shuttle is a free bus service run by Stanford. While most of the transit runs near the campus, there are lines connecting various areas with train stations, hospitals and malls, so seniors may be able to use this service to get around to critical areas. The buses are also all wheelchair accessible.

4. El Camino Hospital: RoadRunners

Address: El Camino Hospital (Mountain View Campus), 2500 Grant Road, Mountain View, CA 94040*. Phone: 650-940-7016. Website:

* This is just one of many pick-up locations.

Seniors that need to get to a health-related appointment but can’t manage public transportation may be able to call on volunteers of the RoadRunners program. This program providers transportation within a 10-mile radius of El Camino Hospital or an 8-mile radius of Los Gatos Hospital. Interested seniors can call 650-940-7016 to request a ride or find out more.

5. Avenidas Door to Door

Address: 450 Bryant Street Palo Alto, CA 94301. Phone: 650-289-5400. Website:

This is a specialty ride-share service that provides transportation to anywhere seniors need to go as long as the trip is less than 12 miles. The service does cost between $10 and $30 per ride depending on the length of the drive and whether the request was for same-day service. However, seniors don’t pay at the time of service. Fees are billed on a monthly basis for the previous month’s services, making this a good choice for caregivers or families who want to provide easy access to transportation for a loved one.

6. One Access Medical Transportation

Phone: 510-648-2085. Website:

One Access Medical Transportation is a for-fee service that’s equipped to carry individuals in wheelchairs or gurneys as well as provide transport for individuals who are fully or somewhat ambulatory. The service is available for trips to any occasion, not just medical appointments, and the staff is trained in first aid, CPR and AED. Staff also sees seniors into buildings and to the waiting room or other safe space associated with their appointments, never leaving them at the door or curb.

7. GoGo Grandparent

Address: 4701 Patrick Henry Dr #25, Santa Clara, CA 95054. Phone: 855-464 – 6872.  Website:

GoGo Grandparent connect seniors with services from Lyft or Uber without requiring that they have a smartphone. Older adults or their caregivers can call this service to quickly schedule a pickup by phone.

8. Mon Ami Companions

Address: 2627 Hanover St, Palo Alto, CA 94304. Phone: 650-267-2474 Website:

Mon Ami Companions offer a fun experience driving to doctor’s appointments, on errands, and more in the company of a kind, energetic college student. There’s no hourly minimum; the service costs $25/hr and $0.75/mi to book.


In-home Care Agencies in Palo Alto

As individuals age, their ability to care for their own daily needs can diminish, necessitating some level of care provided by others. This can run the gamut from family members stopping in regularly to check on someone or a senior moving in with other people to hiring in-home care providers or the senior moving into an assisted living community or nursing home.

If your family is involved in any type of caregiving situation, you’re not alone. According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, more than 34 million people provide unpaid care to someone who was 50 or older annually. For those on this journey in the Palo Alto area, the following senior services may be of help.

1. Care Indeed

Address: 1935 Divisadero St., San Francisco, CA 94115   Phone: 877-504-3822 Website:

Live-in, hourly or nonmedical care services that include support with activities of daily life, medication pickup and reminders, meal preparation, shopping and more.

2. Home Care Assistance

Address: 480 S. California Ave. Palo Alto, CA 94301 Phone: 650-761-4833 Website:

Hourly and 24-hour care with specialty services available for those who are returning home after a hospital visit, have memory issues or require other unique care.

3. Seniors at Home

Address: 200 Channing Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Phone: 650-931-1860 Website:

Care at home, including options for palliative care, dementia services and help managing finances or other important matters, this company offers an extremely comprehensive range of services.

4. 24-Hour Home Care

Address: 228 Hamilton Ave. Suite 300, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Phone: 650-209-3248 Website:

Options include personal care, light housekeeping, meal prep, respite care and services that assist seniors in transitioning from hospital to home after a procedure.

5. Sourcewise Community Resource Solutions

Address: 2115 The Alameda, San Jose, CA 95126 Phone: 408-350-3200 Website:

Provides education and support to help adults of all ages find the resources they need in Santa Clara County. You can search the resource directory to find programs and organizations in the area.


Support for Family Caregivers in Palo Alto

Caregivers sometimes need support, too. The following organizations provide resources to help caregivers and their families share their experiences, to find training and to access the individual support they need to cope with busy schedules, emotional and physical challenges.

1. Stanford Supportive Care Program

Address: Stanford Neuroscience Health Center, 213 Quarry Road, Basement Floor, Room 0511, Palo Alto, CA 94304 Phone: 650-721-8500 Website:

Stanford Health Care provides several resources for caregivers and seniors, including a memory care support group that provides a place for caregivers to support one another, find out more information and seek a safe space for discussing challenges.

2. Kara’s Caregivers Circle

Address: 457 Kingsley Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94301 Phone: 650-321-5272 Website:

This resource provides for group discussions, presentations, training and individual support to equip caregivers for the journey they are on.

3. Avenidas Caregiver Support Group

Address: 450 Bryant Street, Palo Alto, CA 94301 Phone: 650-289-5400 Website:

From free case management to discussion groups and counseling, this resource seeks to equip the entire family for the caregiver journey.


Activities for Seniors in Palo Alto

Palo Alto might have a cost of living that challenges many, but it also has a righ local heritage, vibrant arts and culture scene, diverse spiritual offerings and great opportunities to take in live performance. This  wide range of amenities and activities help keep seniors active and socialized. Here’s a list of just a few things older adults might want to try in the area.

1. Palo Alto Art Center

Address: 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto, CA 94303. Phone: 650-329-2366. Website:

The Palo Alto Art Center offers adult classes and a variety of free and paid programs, including art exhibits and celebrations. Classes range from paper making and altered book events to ceramics, water and introduction to art. Each class does come with a cost, but seniors who know they’ll use this resource repeatedly can join the art center for a discount on classes.

2. Museum of American Heritage

Address: 351 Homer Avenue, Palo Alto, CA 94301. Phone: 650-321-1004. Website:

The Museum of American Heritage offers exhibits on the innovations that shaped the nation’s technology and other products. More than 5,000 artifacts are on display at this property, and the home and gardens are, themselves, an antique to enjoy. General admission to this activity is free. Seniors who want to schedule a paid tour as part of a group can also do so.

3. West Bay Opera

Address: 1305 Middlefield Rd. Palo Alto, CA 94306. Phone: 650-424-9999.  Website:

Experiencing music can help keep your brain young and foster better cognitive function and reduced anxiety. Seniors might consider a night at the West Bay Opera, which performs classics such as La Traviata and Verdi’s Macbeth. Ticket prices are between $35 and $92 for each event, though seniors who want to attend an entire season can save money with season passes. Wheelchair accessible seating is available toward the front and back of the theater.

4. The California Pops Orchestra

Address: 3790 El Camino Real, Mail Suite 341, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Phone: 650-856-8432 Website:

If opera isn’t your thing, you might consider an evening with an orchestra. The California Pops Orchestra is one option; it’s an all-request orchestra that brings a fun interactive element to every show. Season tickets cost between $137 and $257 depending on seating, and the San Mateo Performing Arts Center has been renovated to ensure compliance with ADA accessibility. That includes handicap parking, convenient drop-off areas and 34 wheelchair accessible seats.

5. Palo Alto Chamber Orchestra

Address: 4000 Middlefield Rd # M1 Palo Alto, CA 94303. Phone: 650-856-3848. Website:

Palo Alto has its own orchestra to enjoy, and admission to these events is often free. The organization also sponsors numerous outreach and community programs to get people of all ages involved in music. Seniors who play instruments may be able to get involved in classes or on a volunteer basis.

6. Oshman Family JCC

Address: Taube Koret Campus for Jewish Life, 3921 Fabian Way, Palo Alto, CA 94303.  Phone: 650-223-8700. Website:

The Oshman Family Jewish Community Center offers a wide variety of resources and activities, including sports, arts, social activities and education and worship opportunities for those who are Jewish. Seniors of all types of backgrounds can attend lectures, take classes or participate in fun events. Membership at the center allows seniors to take part in activities at five other community organizations, and if you’re not sure the Oshman Family JCC is right for you, you can use a free 3-day pass to give it a trial run.

7. Stanford Live

Address: 327 Lasuen Street, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. Phone: 650-724-2464. Website:

The Stanford Live program works to bring a variety of live performances to area venues. From comedy to dramatic theater to music, seniors can enjoy presentations at venues that include Bing Concert Hall, Bing Studio, Frost Amphitheater, Memorial Auditorium and others. Tickets are priced per event, and seniors who are also Stanford alum can save 10%. Wheelchair seating, assisted listening devices and sign language interpreting are some of the accessibility options offered by Stanford at these programs; seniors or their families can call ahead to arrange assistance.

8. Ananda

Address: 2171 El Camino Real, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Phone: 650-323-3363.  Website:

Seniors that want to get in touch with their spiritual side or learn more about the health benefits of yoga can do so at Ananda. The facility offers a wide range of classes and events, including yoga training and worship and prayer events. Many events are free, though some are fee-based.

9. Stanford Theatre

Address: 221 University Avenue, Palo Alto, CA.  Phone: 650-324-3700. Website:

If you miss going to the movies but you don’t enjoy the crowded, cold and loud ambience of modern theaters, consider attending an event at the Stanford Theatre. This historic building sports a Wurlitzer organ and other accoutrements of Golden Age Hollywood movie theaters. Classic movies such as Bringing Up Baby and Roman Holiday play on the screen in this magnificent building, and seniors age 65 and older pay a discounted ticket price of $5.

Companions for Seniors in Palo Alto

Knowing about available resources and activities does little good if you’re not comfortable stepping out to take advantage of them. If you need help navigating any of the above, a Mon Ami companion can help. Our companions are energetic, friendly and compassionate, and they’re ready to spend time conversing or playing games in your home or adventuring on Palo Alto public transportation and seeking out new mysteries in local museums with the special senior in your life.

In this article

1. Housing for Seniors in Palo Alto
2. Financial Resources for Seniors in Palo Alto
3. Transportation for Seniors in Palo Alto
4. In-Home Care Agencies in Palo Alto
5. Support for Family Caregivers in Palo Alto
6. Activities for Seniors in Palo Alto

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