Guide to Independent Living in New Mexico
New Mexico is situated in the Southwest and is one of the Mountain States of the Rocky Mountains. Dubbed the Land of Enchantment, this state is noted for the art festivals it hosts throughout the year, as well as its diverse selection of museums and historic sites, performing arts institutions and outstanding restaurants. Of its 2.1 million residents, 18% are at least 65 years old. Along with the state’s outstanding amenities and attractions, its low cost of living is a prime selling point for retirees. Statewide, the cost of living is about 12% lower than the national median due to affordable transportation, low housing prices and economically priced health care services. Independent living rates in the state are consistent with the national average at $2,924, which may appeal to those with limited budgets.
Independent living is suited for those who want a residential setting but don’t need help with daily living activities. These communities may be made up of single-family homes, condominiums or apartments, and they provide services, such as housekeeping and yard care, restaurant-style dining and transportation for personal errands.
This guide outlines monthly independent living rates across New Mexico. It also provides information on how to fund services, where to get free help with navigating the process of finding senior services and what to look for in independent living communities.
How Much Does Independent Living Cost in New Mexico?
Note: There currently isn’t authoritative data on the average cost of Independent Living Facilities nationwide, so instead, we use the cost of Assisted Living to estimate it. Since the cost of Independent Living is typically 30-40% lower than the cost of Assisted Living, the numbers below were calculated by subtracting 35% from the cost of Assisted Living as reported in the 2021 Genworth Cost of Care Survey.
Independent living communities in New Mexico charge $2,924 per month. While this is consistent with the national monthly rate of $2,925, it’s among the costlier states in the Southwest for this senior care option. In Arizona and Texas, care costs are several hundred dollars lower at $2,600 and $2,599, respectively. Rates in Oklahoma are about $400 cheaper than in New Mexico at $2,506. In Colorado, monthly independent living fees are a little higher than in New Mexico at $3,088.
The United States
The Cost of Independent Living in New Mexico’s Top Cities
Across New Mexico’s largest cities, monthly independent living rates vary by over $1,000. In Farmington, rates are the lowest in the state at $2,599. In Las Cruces, independent living communities charge $2,922, which is consistent with the state median. Monthly fees in Albuquerque are higher at $3,088, and in Santa Fe, rates are the highest surveyed in New Mexico, exceeding state and national rates at $3,779.
The Cost of Independent Living vs. Other Types of Care
Independent living in New Mexico costs approximately $2,924 per month, making it one of the cheapest senior care options in the state. Adult day health care is the only cheaper option, with monthly rates averaging $1,993. Assisted living, which provides help with daily living activities in a residential setting, costs $4,498. Basic homemaker services cost $4,605 monthly, and those who need skilled home health aide services pay $4,652. Nursing homes provide the highest degree of care outside a hospital setting and charge $7,604 for semiprivate accommodations.
Adult Day Health Care
Home Health Aide
Assisted Living Facility
Nursing Home (Semiprivate room)
Does Medicare or Medicaid Cover Independent Living in New Mexico?
The short answer is no, Medicaid and Medicare do not cover the cost of living in an independent living community. That being said, those who need help with Activities of Daily Living (ADLs), may be able to take advantage of financial assistance programs in New Mexico to partially or fully cover the cost of care in Assisted Living. For more information about financial assistance for those who need help with ADLs, read our guide to Assisted Living in New Mexico.
For more information about other ways to make Independent Living more affordable, such as retirement funds, the sale of a home, etc, read the section below.
How to Make Independent Living More Affordable in New Mexico
Seniors in New Mexico have several options for paying for independent living services if covering services out-of-pocket isn’t feasible. While health insurance policies, such as Medicare and TRICARE, don’t provide this coverage, some long-term care insurance policies may have coverage for certain services, such as transportation and meals, bringing down monthly expenses. For older adults who have access to lump sums of cash, purchasing an annuity may be a way to increase monthly income, and for those who own a house, a reverse mortgage loan may be an option. Finally, some life insurance policies allow customers to access their death benefits for long-term care services, including independent living. Alternatively, they may be able to sell their policy to a third party for cash.
Free Independent Living Resources for Seniors in New Mexico
Seniors in New Mexico can talk to options counselors, legal and financial experts and information and referral specialists for one-on-one help with finding the independent living solution that’s right for them. The following table lists free statewide agencies and programs that are dedicated to serving retirees.
|Area Agency on Aging||(800) 432-2080||New Mexico residents aged 60 and over have access to services and support through four Area Agencies on Aging. Each agency serves a designated region of the state and provides a range of free and low-cost services, including information and referrals for community-based programs, transportation services and congregate meals. The agencies also have trained volunteers who provide health insurance options counseling for Medicare beneficiaries, helping them understand their coverage and determine whether a private Medicare plan is right for their needs.|
|AARP New Mexico||(866) 389-5636||AARP New Mexico hosts in-person and virtual events that address topics, such as understanding the latest in consumer technology, filing taxes and safe driving. The organization also provides eligible individuals with discounts on travel and entertainment, and it publishes up-to-date information on legislative bills that may affect older adults in the state.|
|Retired and Senior Volunteer Program||(800) 942-2677||RSVP is the largest nationwide program that provides volunteer opportunities exclusively to older adults. Through their local program, seniors can connect with a range of volunteer opportunities that fit their schedules and interests. These may include serving as classroom aides in public schools, providing administrative or managerial assistance to local charities and nonprofits and delivering meals and friendly visits to housebound members of the community.|
|State Bar of New Mexico||(800) 876-6657||The State Bar of New Mexico’s Legal Resources for the Elderly Program provides free legal advice to older adults on a range of issues, including accessing public benefits and finding options for covering independent living services. It can also help with resolving consumer debt problems and veterans’ or Social Security benefit overpayment.|
|New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services||(505) 383-2400||The New Mexico Department of Veterans’ Services administers benefits to qualifying veterans in the state, including reduced vehicle registration fees, veteran license plates, free and reduced-fee recreational benefits and tax exemptions. The department also has field offices throughout the state where qualifying individuals get help with applying for federal VA benefits.|
COVID-19 Rules and Restrictions for New Mexico Independent Living Communities
The following rules and guidelines were obtained from cv.nmhealth.org, as well as other state-level government sites. Among others, these rules apply to independent living communities and assisted living facilities.
This data has been most recently updated on 2/10/2022, but keep in mind that COVID-19 is a rapidly evolving crisis, so all of the below information can change at any time. For additional questions and up-to-date information, you can contact your loved one’s senior living facility or your local Area Agency on Aging.
Visiting Loved Ones
|Can I visit my relative in person if he/she wants emotional support from me?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Can I visit my relative in person for end-of-life compassion care?||Yes|
|Will my loved one be required to self-quarantine after I visit him or her?||No|
|Do I need to wear PPE and/or a cloth mask if I do visit my relative in person?||Yes|
|Are Hairdressers and other non-medical contractors still allowed in senior living facilities?||Yes|
|Does the state recommend or require that senior living facilities assist families with setting up virtual visit alternatives?||Yes|
|Are visitors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are visitors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Outings and Group Activities
|Are residents allowed to leave the facility for non-medical reasons?||Yes|
|Are residents of senior living facilities who leave and return required to self-quarantine?||No (Conditions Apply)|
|Are senior living facilities required to cancel all group outings?||No|
|Are residents still eating together in the dining hall?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are facilities still allowed to host group activities within the community?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
Safety Measures for Staff & Contractors
|Are staff members and contractors being screened for elevated temperatures?||Yes|
|Are staff members and contractors being tested for Coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|
|Are staff members and contractors being asked questions about health, travel, and potential virus contact?||Yes|
Safety Measures for Residents
|Are staff members required to regularly screen residents for coronavirus symptoms?||Yes|
|Are residents relied on to screen themselves and self-report potential coronavirus symptoms?||No|
|Are staff members required to take residents’ temperatures?||Yes|
|Are residents being tested for coronavirus?||Yes (Conditions Apply)|