Top Ranked Assisted Living Facilities in New Mexico

There are 53 assisted living facilities in NM and the median cost of care is $4,498. The average rating of assisted living facilities in New Mexico is 4 out of 5 stars and the top ranked facility is MorningStar of Albuquerque.

Known for its mild climate and lower-than-average costs of living, New Mexico attracts many retirees who need to make their retirement benefits stretch as far as possible. In March 2022, legislators also passed HB 163, eliminatingthe state income taxon Social Security for residents with incomes at or below $100,000 ($150,000 for married couples filing jointly). 

The following guide provides information on assisted living in New Mexico, including how it compares to other types of senior care, how it's regulated, and where older adults can go for more information about senior wellness and elder law.

New Mexico Assisted Living: Types Of Senior Housing Options

New Mexico is home to members of more thantwo dozen ethnic groups, giving the state a rich cultural history characterized by varying languages, religious beliefs, and holiday traditions. This diversity is reflected in the number of senior care options available to older adults spending their retirement years in the Land of Enchantment.

Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs)

When a loved one can no longer live independently, an assisted living provider can be a good option.  Assisted living residences are for residents who would like to, and can, maintain some independence but need help with meals, housekeeping, and some of the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as showering, getting dressed, or personal hygiene.

Independent Living Communities

Independent living communities are a good housing option for seniors who can still live independently but want to downsize. Each resident or couple lives in a private unit, and most communities offer social programs so residents can meet their neighbors. Housekeeping, chores, and some meals may be provided, although these may incur an additional cost. Unlike the care given in an assisted living community, assistance with activities of daily living and medication management aren't available in these communities. 

Nursing Homes

Nursing homes offer the highest level of care of all senior living options. These communities provide around-the-clock supervision and skilled nursing care, and medical help is available. Generally, people in nursing homes have complex medical issues or need more residential care than is offered in an assisted living facility. New Mexico has both skilled nursing facilities (SNF) for people who require 24-hour care and intermediate care facilities (ICF) for people who don’t need as much medical care. Theaverage cost of nursing home carein the state is $7,604 for a semi-private room and $8,365 for a private room.

Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs)

Many seniors prefer to choose a community that will continue to meet their needs in the future. Continuing care retirement communities have independent living, assisted living, and nursing home facilities on the same property or owned by the same community. This model allows seniors to stay near their friends in familiar surroundings, even as their needs change. The care provided in the assisted living section of a CCRC is the same as in an assisted living community. The difference is that residents can easily move to a skilled nursing room if required. Often, CCRCs are bigger than ACHs, as they encompass more care options. 

Supportive Housing

Supportive Housing is a residential facility designed for older adults or persons with disabilities who are unable to live independently.  These individuals need help with toileting, bathing, dressing, medication management and administration, assistance with meals and housekeeping, and other activities of daily living.  These individuals do not need regular nursing care.  There are several housing options available that range from living in a facility to residents living in their own home or apartment, with community-based support services.

Adult Day Care

Adult day care differs from assisted living because it's only available during the day. Adult day care centers provide senior care during daytime hours, allowing older New Mexicans to socialize while receiving nutritious meals, personal care, and other services. This type of senior care is especially helpful for older adults who need supervision while their regular caregivers are working, attending classes, or participating in other activities. In contrast, assisted living is a residential option with 24/7 supervision available.

Because adult day care centers have limited hours of operation, this type of senior care is one of the most affordable, costing an average of$1,993 per monthin New Mexico in 2021.

In-Home Care

There are two types of in-home care available in New Mexico: homemaker services and home healthcare. Homemaker services generally provide personal care and may also help with errands, chores, and housekeeping. Home healthcare can deliver these services and also offer medical care such as skilled nursing and medication management. Unlike assisted living care, in-home care is provided to people in their homes, making it a good choice for those who prefer to age in place. However, it doesn’t give seniors access to the social and recreational programming of assisted living communities. The average cost of homemaker services is $4,605 and the average cost for home health aides is $4,652 per month.

Cost Of Assisted Living Care In New Mexico

Theaverage cost of assisted living carein New Mexico is $4,498 per month. This is slightly less expensive than the national average of $4,500 per month.The cost of living in New Mexico is 9.0% lower than the national average with healthcare costs nearly 1.3% lower and housing costs 15.7% less than the national average. The exact price of care differs depending on where in the state you’re located. The cost of assisted living ranges from a low of $3,999 in the Farmington area to a high of $5,814 per month in the Santa Fe area of New Mexico. 

How Costs Compare In Nearby States

If you live close to one of New Mexico’s borders, you may find assisted living in a neighboring state is an affordable option.  The cost of assisted living care is lower in both Arizona and Texas at $4,000 and $3,998.  The average cost of assisted living in Colorado to New Mexico’s north is $4,750.

Quality and Safety of Assisted Living Facilities in New Mexico

The New Mexico Department of Health protects older adults by establishing and enforcing regulations for the operation of assisted living communities within the state. Relevant regulations are outlined inTitle 7 of the New Mexico Administrative Code.

As part of its enforcement duties, the Department of Health conducts regular monitoring visits to ensure that assisted living communities are in compliance with the law. If a community is in violation of any of the regulations, the administrator must develop a corrective plan of action and submit it to the Department of Health for review. A community's license may be suspended or revoked if the violation is severe enough.

Once an assisted living community obtains a license, it must renew that license every year. Each community must continue to comply with regulations regarding policies and procedures, staff training, staff ratios, and resident records.

Paying For Assisted Living Care In New Mexico

The average cost of assisted living in New Mexico is around $54,000 per year, so, understandably, you or a family member may be wondering how to pay for care. A range of options is available to fund senior housing in the state. 

Private Funds

Selling a home is a common way for seniors to raise funds for assisted living care. Income from pensions and Social Security may also pay for some care. Other examples of private funds include your retirement accounts, mutual funds, and other investments.

Long-Term Care Insurance

Long-term care insurance covers personal care, residential care, and other long-term support and services. Each plan is different; however, most offer a daily amount based on the policy that pays for assistance with activities of daily living. Most people buy a policy in their 50s or 60s and access it when required. If you or your family member has a policy, read it carefully to see what care it covers. 

New Mexico Optional State Supplement

New Mexicooffers a supplementto people who qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The supplemental payment is available to individuals living in licensed adult residential care homes, which include assisted living communities. To receive the supplemental payment, a senior must meet all other SSI eligibility requirements.

Programs For Veterans

New Mexico has one Veterans Home in the state located in Truth or Consequences. This home provides skilled nursing care to residents of New Mexico who served in the military. The state’s Department of Military and Veterans Affairs also has offices around the state where team members can help people obtain benefits and services. This includes the Aid and AttendanceBenefit, which can help qualified veterans fund personal care. 

Elderlife Financial can help you understandhow to pay for assisted living.

What Is Included With Assisted Living Care In New Mexico?

The services provided in assisted living communities generally come under three broad categories: personal care, medical care, and amenities. 

Most people move to assisted living communities because they look for easy access to personal care. These services assist with activities of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, walking, and toileting. Communities also provide supervision and can deliver care for unforeseen needs or in cases of emergencies.  

In New Mexico, ACHs must provide care and services in the resident’s care plan. This can include coordinating medical care and appointments. Communities may also deliver health services, with 63% of communities providing skilled nursing. Many have healthcare specialists and on-site services, with 53% of communities offering dental care. In addition, 66% of ACHs have hospice services.

ACHs may provide specialized care for people diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia. These special care units have additional security measures to ensure residents don't wander, a common symptom of Alzheimer's disease. Typically, they also offer programs designed to improve cognitive function and routines that help lower stress.

Mental health issues are a growing consideration for communities, and services to address these concerns are becoming more common. In New Mexico, 87% of communities conduct depression screening, and 51% offer mental health counseling. Social work programs are also found in 53% of ACHs. Social workers can provide counseling, conduct assessments, and help ensure residents have access to all the resources they need.

Amenities refer to other features and services of the community. ACHs offer three meals a day and coordinate activity programs to help residents stay active and connected with each other, their families, and the community. New Mexico facilities must also provide transportation and laundry services and may offer housekeeping services. 

Wellness Resources in New Mexico

New Mexico has several large cities, but 12 of its 33 counties are considered rural, creating a unique health care landscape. Rural communities typically have health clinics andcritical access hospitals, giving people access to primary care and emergency services that can be used to stabilize critical patients before transferring them to other facilities. Those in rural areas often travel to Albuquerque, Santa Fe, or Las Cruces for specialty care.

For people interested in assisted living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, many communities are just a short distance from one of the city's three major hospital systems:University of New Mexico Hospitals, Lovelace Medical Center, andPresbyterian Healthcare Services. Presbyterian also has facilities in Santa Fe, along with Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and Santa Fe Indian Hospital. Las Cruces is home to MountainView Regional Medical Center, Memorial Medical Center, and Three Crosses Regional Hospital.

Mental Health Resources

Older adults can access several resources to help them manage their mental health. TheNew Mexico Crisis and Access Lineoffers the NMConnect app, which connects users directly to peer support workers and professional counselors. The app also links to more information on mental health services and community support programs available to New Mexico residents. Those who prefer to contact a counselor by phone should call NMCAL at (855) 662-7474.

UNM Health System also has aresidential programfor older adults who need short-term treatment to improve their physical and mental health. The program focuses on helping older adults identify their motivations and reconnect with their personal hopes for the future. People who are at least 55 years old may qualify for up to three weeks of treatment with this program.

The Transition Into Assisted Living In New Mexico

The decision to move into an assisted living community can be difficult. Generally, you'll notice changes in your loved one that suggest they need some assistance. Signs that this environment could be beneficial include increased isolation, loss of mobility, noticeable weight loss or gain, and signs that they’re neglecting household chores. 

Your older family member may be the one to start talking about assisted living. For many seniors, the idea of moving into a home where cooking, laundry, and other chores are taken care of is appealing. For seniors who realize they need help with daily tasks, the addition of personal care may come as a relief.In New Mexico, 24% of residents need help with eating. Other commonly used services include bed transfer (42%), toileting (46%), and walking (59%). Caregivers in ACHs help 58.% of residents to dress, and 69% of residents need help bathing.

If you think your family member would benefit from assisted living, start by talking about it openly. Highlight the positives of a move, such as social activities, cooked meals, and easily accessible assistance. Some ACHs provide respite care, which may allow your family member to have a trial run. Remember, this should be a conversation, not a lecture. Stay open to their opinion. If they’re not ready to transition to assisted living, talk about the care they need to stay at home.

New Mexico Assisted Living Oversight

The primary agency responsible for overseeing assisted living in New Mexico is the state'sDepartment of Health. This agency issues assisted living licenses, conducts inspections, and makes sure that assisted living communities are following the regulations designed to protect residents from harm.

New Mexico also has a Long-Term Care Ombudsman and a Senior Protective Services department. TheLong-Term Care Ombudsmaninvestigates complaints about the state's nursing homes and assisted living communities, giving residents and their loved ones a voice in maintaining the quality of New Mexico's senior care options.Senior Protective Servicesaccepts complaints regarding suspected abuse, exploitation, and neglect of older adults by family members, romantic partners, and other individuals.

Legal Resources

The term "elder law" is often associated with estate planning, trusts, and help obtaining benefits through Medicare or Medicaid. Unfortunately, the field has grown to include cases involving elder abuse, elder neglect, and exploitation. Skilled attorneys can help older adults affected by these issues.

Legal Resources for the Elderlyis a free helpline for New Mexico residents who are 55 and older. Eligible people have the opportunity to speak with a staff attorney about their legal issues. Legal Resources for the Elderly has also published a handbook to help older adults understand their rights and learn more about how the law protects them. TheNew Mexico Senior Law Handbookhas more than 100 pages of content on government benefits, retirement income, consumer protection, and other topics of interest.