10 Assisted Living Communities in New Mexico
Fairwinds Rio Rancho
Brookdale Rio Rancho
Brookdale Country Club
Brookdale Santa Fe
Brookdale Tramway Ridge
Pacifica Senior Living Santa Fe
Elmcroft of Quintessence
Elan Santa Monica
Assisted Living in the Painted Desert
New Mexico is the jewel of the American Southwest. Vast desert vistas characterize this state, broken here and there by jagged mountains at the southern maximum of the Rockies chain. New Mexico has hot, dry summers that can be easygoing for seniors with asthma and other respiratory issues and short, very mild winters that are likewise easy on aging citizens with arthritis and other cold-sensitive conditions. New Mexico’s 2 million citizens have their choice between living in a modern metropolis like Santa Fe or Albuquerque, smaller tourist towns like Sedona and rural ranches off the main highways that cluster around small frontier towns.
The official nickname of New Mexico is “Land of Enchantment,” and the state does its best to live up to the designation. Much of New Mexico's countryside features colorful cliff sides and mesas in warm-hued desert landscapes. These deserts are home to the greater roadrunner, the state bird, and yucca cacti, the state flower. These bloom in force every few years, when occasional heavy rains bring the desert to life, which can cause issues for seniors with asthma, but they paint the desert all the colors of the rainbow for a few weeks every second or third year.
What Is Assisted Living?
Assisted living is a form of long-term residential care for seniors who need some help with the activities of daily living (ADLs), such as dressing and taking some medications, but who still want to live somewhat independently. Aging citizens in assisted living commonly have a private or semi-private room for themselves, but staff at the property help with meal preparation, coordinating group activities and emergency response, as needed.
What Does Assisted Living Cost in New Mexico?
In New Mexico, the average monthly cost of assisted living is $4,000, according to the 2018 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
Assisted living costs about $4,000 a month in New Mexico. This is somewhat more than the national median monthly cost of $3,750. Home health aides, who are often the last level of care before a senior moves into assisted living, can cost $3,956 a month in New Mexico.
How Is Assisted Living Regulated in New Mexico?
Assisted living communities in New Mexico must hold a state license from the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD). This department monitors reports about conditions at New Mexico’s residential care facilities and conducts periodic inspections to enforce quality standards. The department also publishes guidelines for effective senior care at multiple levels of dependency, and for staff training requirements.
How Is Assisted Living in New Mexico Affected by Laws and Taxes?
New Mexico has a relatively high sales tax of 7.55 percent that applies to most items, but there's an exemption for food and prescription medications, which can help stretch independent seniors' budgets. Social Security income is subject to state tax, which puts New Mexico in a small minority of states that dip into aging citizens' federal benefits. The state also taxes income from IRAs and 401(k)s, though low-income exemptions and deductions can help ease the burden somewhat.
Politics in New Mexico
New Mexico is the only state in the Union to have a bilingual constitution. It’s also the only state to recognize Spanish as an official language, alongside English. The constitution establishes a standard three-branched state government with a bicameral legislature. Large sections of the state, particularly in the northwest corner, are under the authority of reservation governments, which maintain state-to-state relations with the federal government in Washington D.C.
The state of New Mexico makes it pretty easy to vote by mail or to cast an absentee ballot. Early voting is allowed for about a month before Election Day, and completed ballots may be dropped off in person at the Secretary of State's office or at an early voting location. Mail-in ballots are also accepted, and residents don't need a justification for permanent vote-by-mail status. Seniors with mobility issues may find this exceptionally helpful if getting to the local polling station is a challenge for them.
Politically, New Mexico made a relatively rapid switch from being a reliable red state to consistently supporting Democratic candidates in national elections. New Mexico keeps all of its five electors together in a first-past-the-post, winner-take-all system that ensures the winning presidential candidate gets all the votes the state has to cast for president.
- Most people think of California for domestic wines, but the state of New Mexico has over 50 wineries of its own. The semi-arid climate and dense nutrient buildup in much of New Mexico's soil makes ideal growing conditions for many varieties of vine. The first of these was founded in 1629, just eight years after the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock, and 7 years before Harvard was founded. Today, local Wine Trail tours are a popular group event for senior day trips.
- Since 1972, New Mexico has been the site of the world's largest hot air balloon festival. Each year, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta attracts over 500 teams of enthusiasts to the state. The October festival takes advantage of a quirk of local weather, when steady low-lying winds allow the balloons to cruise along a predictable route and set down in a large group without too much trouble. Seniors may be able to find discount rates with local companies if they decide to take a few-hour balloon trip themselves.
- New Mexico isn't all desert. Roughly 25 percent of the state is designated woodland or forest by the federal government. Much of this green space occurs around halfway up the slopes of the state's mountains, where the air is a little cooler and better watered. Seniors who like to hike in misty forest glades can easily reach some of the public trails in Gila National Forest, which covers 3.3 million acres of land, or in any of New Mexico's six other national forests.