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What do seniors in New Mexico have in common with their counterparts across the U.S.? The short answer: A lot. Let’s explore what economic, health and demographic data about older adults in New Mexico reveals about the quality of life of seniors in the state and how it compares to other states across the U.S.
By most measures, New Mexico is more or less representative of the U.S. as a whole. The state’s percentage of those 50 and up is 36.3 percent, which is only slightly higher than the nation. And life expectancy in New Mexico, while a bit lower, is in the range of overall U.S. life expectancy. Also, the median age in New Mexico (38.1) isn’t far off from the U.S. median age of 38.5 years.
But there are a couple of major ways in which New Mexico diverges from the prevailing winds. First, the median age in New Mexico rose much more rapidly over the past decade than the U.S. median age did, and, most dramatically, seniors in New Mexico are a much more diverse bunch than their counterparts across the country. That’s because more than half of New Mexico’s 60-plus population are people of color, the fourth-highest rate in the country and far higher than the overall U.S. rate of 27.6 percent.
*Includes Black, Native American, Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander or individuals of one or more other races, and Hispanic/Latinx people of any race.
New Mexico's Senior Living Costs
Boasting a housing index of 94.90, retiring in New Mexico is a little cheaper compared to the national average. One bedroom apartments average out to $668 a month (US average of $825 a month), while two bedroom apartments are about $826 a month (US average of $1027 a month).
Wondering what the numbers look like when it comes to monthly costs of living in New Mexico as a senior? Firstly, the average home health care costs are approximately $3,813 a month. This fee enables the elderly to live comfortably in their own homes while receiving aid to keep the house clean and complete everyday errands.
Adult day care facilities are available throughout the state for an average cost of $2,188 a month. This fee allows seniors to stay at a supervised facility during the day. Since adult day care does not include extensive nursing care, it's best for those who are mostly independent but could use some social activities to keep them busy, and therapeutic and health services.
Seniors requiring more help with their everyday tasks and activities may want to look into staying at an assisted living facility in New Mexico. Here, seniors are able to receive personal care and health services for an average monthly cost of $4,000.
Nursing homes are also available in New Mexico for seniors needing 24/7 supervision and care. The cost for a semi-private room is roughly $6,349 a month, while a private room is about $7,406 a month. This form of living is the most expensive, but residents can be assured they'll receive top notch personal care, medication, housing, supervision, skilled nursing care 24/7, and therapies and rehabilitation as needed.
Living Options for New Mexico's Seniors
New Mexico's seniors can choose between several living options depending on individual needs and circumstances: independent living, assisted living, memory care, or nursing home care. Read more about each option below and determine which one is best for you and your lifestyle.
Seniors in New Mexico who are relatively healthy, active, and do not require round the clock nursing care generally prefer independent living. The state is home to more than 70 independent living facilities, and it costs anywhere from $1,045 to $3,382 a month to stay at one here. If you're an older individual who prefers apartment style living, the state also offers plenty of apartment choices for seniors 55+ or 65+ depending on the community. Active senior communities typically offer great amenities like small gyms, walking trails, pools and jacuzzis, and more for residents to take advantage of.
More than 130 assisted living facilities exist in New Mexico to provide seniors with attentive caregivers, healthcare, and access to local activities and social opportunities. Seniors staying at assisted living facilities can expect to receive assistance with housekeeping duties, laundry, transportation, meal services, and 24-hour safety surveillance.
It costs anywhere from $1,900 to $6,150 a month to stay at an assisted living facility in New Mexico depending on several factors like location. If you're looking to stretch your dollar for living costs, then you may want to consider looking in the Albuquerque area, where assisted living prices are lower. The highest assisted living costs in the state are found in the Santa Fe metropolitan area.
Seniors living with dementia will find 113 memory care facilities to choose from in New Mexico. Memory care facilities offer specialized care by professional staff for seniors suffering from memory loss. Facilities are highly monitored to prevent any aimless wandering that could exasperate the stress and feelings of helplessness a senior may feel when trying to remember where they are. Memory care facilities cost $60,900 a year on average, with the highest costs in the Santa Fe metro area, with prices reaching up to $9,644 a month, or $an average of $86,130 a year. Albuquerque has the lowest cost facilities, coming in at an average of $61,875 a year.
New Mexico has the 4th highest population [pdf] of seniors over 65 years of age. The senior population is projected to double by 2030, and already has more people over 65 than under 18. Unfortunately, with such a high senior population, New Mexico is ranked 8th in the nation with the most seniors living with food insecurity.
There are only eight adult daycare centers in the state, and while they aren't more expensive than other states, they also aren't any cheaper. On average, an adult daycare center will cost $24,700 a year, with the Farmington area having the most expensive ones at $35,360 per year. Santa Fe tends to have the lower cost options, costing around $14,040 a year.
Hospices in New Mexico are more plentiful, with 47 to be found throughout the state. Hospices can vary significantly in costs, but all or most of the costs can be covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurances. Hospices specialize in managing any pain and suffering a senior may have due to their terminal illness. Grief counseling is also offered to patients and their families, as well as therapeutic activities like artistic expression through painting and sculpting.
As for respite care facilities, seniors and familial caregivers will have 95 options to choose from. Respite care is the temporary care of a senior, so that the primary caregiver who is unpaid, like a spouse or son/daughter, can have a break, or when the primary caregiver is unable to give the level of care the senior needs. Respite care costs $73,263 a year on average, with a cost range of $7,047 a month up to $15,573 a month.
U.S. Census Bureau, ACS 1-Year Estimates Subject Tables (2010, 2017 and 2018)
Annual rental cost, Zillow Rent Index, States
Job openings, pulled from Indeed.com and SimplyHired.com in April 2020
Employment and wages, Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2019 publication
Household income and population figures, U.S. Census Bureau, most recent publications on all topics