Living in New Mexico provides a variety of experiences. The state has a low cost of living, with cheap houses, low rents, and fair-priced goods. The rich culture and ancient heritage also make the state attractive to the elderly who like the vintage feeling. On the other hand, things like high poverty and unemployment rates make New Mexico unattractive to live in. This is further worsened by the high crime rate which creates serious security concerns, and the poor state of the road infrastructure. The dry weather and high-altitude environment may also pose a challenge to the health of older residents who find that they need to hydrate more often and shortness of breath becomes a frequent occurrence. The desert climate means hot days are very hot and cold days tend to be very cold as well. Overall, seniors who can find a balance will get to enjoy the affordable living in the state so long as they can keep up with other aspects.
State Resources for Seniors
The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department is in charge of the welfare of elderly residents. This department provides resources for seniors, to help them get access to necessary assistance. Some programs are administered by the state, while others are offered by charities and nonprofits. The website of the New Mexico Aging and Long Term Services Department, seniors can find useful links to internal and external assistance services. To get these resources, visit https://nmaging.state.nm.us/
New Mexico Community Dental is a dental clinic that provides high-quality dental care to the residents of the state, including seniors. The dental services offered include x-rays, cleanings, fillings, whitening, extractions, crowns, etc. All of these services are provided whether or not the senior has health insurance. For older people who have no health insurance, discounts may be offered and a sliding fee scale used to decide the charge for care. This sliding fee discount is dependent on the income level of the senior and can reduce the cost of some dental treatments to as low as $20. To find out more about the discounts, visit https://nmcommunitydental.com/income-based-discount-program/.
The Department of Dentistry at the University of New Mexico (UNM) runs a clinic that offers low-cost dental care to patients of all ages, including the elderly. This clinic is staffed by professional dentists and dental residents who offer a wide range of dental care options, including complicated procedures. Some of the services provided include implants, crowns, oral surgery, dentures, root canals, etc. To get help from UNM’s clinic, visit https://unmhealth.org/services/dentistry.html.
First Choice Community Healthcare is a medical establishment that operates several clinics in New Mexico. The clinics offer healthcare services to seniors and can help with medical exams, diagnosis and treatment of several ailments, minor surgeries, etc. The fees charged are generally affordable. However, a sliding fee discount service is available for seniors who are experiencing financial challenges and are unable to pay for their care. Interested seniors can learn more about the services offered at https://www.fcch.com/index.php?page=services.
Presbyterian Medical Services offers comprehensive healthcare to seniors in New Mexico. Elderly residents over the age of 60 can get treatment to manage chronic illnesses, prevent some common illnesses and stay healthy. Checkups help seniors curb potential harmful diseases before they can degenerate to more life-threatening forms. A senior center is also available to provide assistance in form of meals, transportation, health education, etc. Seniors can visit https://www.pmsnm.org/programs-services/senior-services/ for more details.
Charities and Organizations
Silver Horizons is a nonprofit organization that provides assistance to seniors in New Mexico. This charity offers various forms of help to seniors to ease the burden of meeting all their needs. Seniors can receive financial assistance to pay for household and utility bills. Assistance is also given to help with home repairs and ensure safety standards are met. Free groceries are available to help eradicate hunger and promote healthy nutrition among the elderly. Services are provided to seniors from the age of 50 years. To get started with getting help from Silver Horizons, visit https://www.silverhorizons.org/home.
The Catholic Charities of New Mexico is another charity organization that helps seniors in the state. Several programs are offered to help meet different needs of the older residents of New Mexico. Housing assistance is provided to seniors who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness to help them get back on track to getting more permanent housing. The elderly can also take advantage of transportation services provided by Catholic Charities to get to medical appointments, grocery stores, etc. This program is open to all seniors over the age of 60 years, irrespective of their income. Seniors can get help from Catholic Charities by going to https://www.ccasfnm.org/.
Seniors can get aid from the Salvation Army to meet some of their needs. Food pantries in various parts of the state provide food for older residents. Clothing assistance is also available, along with financial aid to pay for urgent needs like rent and utilities. Referrals are provided to direct the elderly to other agencies where they can get help from. Seniors can visit https://newmexico.salvationarmy.org/ to get help from the Salvation Army.
The Social Security Administration provides financial assistance for low-income seniors through the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program. This program assists seniors over the age of 65 by giving them monthly payments to help them meet their basic needs. Eligibility for SSI is determined by income and asset value. Seniors who wish to apply must have assets worth not more than $2,000. In calculating asset valuation, certain essential assets like the residential home and a vehicle for getting around are excluded. The exact amount awarded to recipients varies depending on the specific need compared with the income earned. To find out more about Supplemental Security Income, visit https://www.ssa.gov/benefits/ssi/.
The Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP) is for seniors who are still able to work. This program helps them develop skills through on-the-job training. Participants are then transitioned into unsubsidized employment where they can put their new skills to use and earn some money. Resources relating to this special employment program can be found at https://nmaging.state.nm.us/services/senior-services/employment-programs.
Congregate Meals are available for the consumption of seniors who cannot afford healthy food for themselves. These meals are served at approved locations where groups of seniors can come for assistance. Congregate meals provide food for the elderly and a place to interact with others to stay healthy. Screening is also done to determine the nutrition needs of seniors so that the food provided can be optimized to give the best benefits. The Home Delivered Meals program on the other hand provides food for homebound seniors who cannot get good for themselves and are unable to come to congregate meal sites. Nutritious meals are delivered to the elderly recipients, helping them maintain a healthy diet and decent lifestyle. Both of these programs may provide breakfast and lunch at least five days in a week. This helps ease the burden on recipients of assistance. For more information, visit https://nmaging.state.nm.us/services/senior-services/meals-nutrition.
The Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) provides food items to eligible seniors in the state. This is done in the form of food boxes provided to serve as a means of supplemental nutrition. These boxes contain nutrient-rich items like milk, canned fruits, vegetables, cereal, etc. The contents are not intended to serve as a full month’s worth of food supplies, but rather as a booster food for the elderly. Seniors can find more details on CSFP in New Mexico at https://www.hsd.state.nm.us/lookingforassistance/commodity-supplemental-food-program/.
The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (SFMNP) is another initiative that helps seniors get access to food items. SFMNP assists low-income seniors by providing them access to fresh fruits, honey, vegetables and herbs. This program offers coupons which beneficiaries can exchange for locally grown agricultural produce in the state. Information on the program is available at https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfmnp/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), previously known as Food Stamp Program helps low-income residents with resources for food. SNAP provides funds to eligible residents to help them buy food or seeds to be planted for food. Eligible seniors receive an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card with which they can access their benefits. This card can be used to make purchases at grocery stores and other approved outlets. The EBT card can only be used to purchase authorized food items. Additional detail on SNAP can be gotten from https://www.hsd.state.nm.us/lookingforassistance/supplemental_nutrition_assistance_program__snap/.
Housing Assistance and Home Repair Grants
The Section 504 Home Repair program provides loans and grants to help seniors fix their homes. The program is available to all seniors, however, those under the age of 62 are only eligible for loans. Loans of up to $40,000 can be obtained to undertake repairs to get rid of challenges to health and safety. The funds can also be used to make modifications to make the home more accessible, such as installing wheelchair ramps, reducing the height of countertops, etc. Loans have a 1% interest rate and a 20-year repayment period. Seniors over the age of 62 may qualify for grants with a lifetime limit of $10,000. These grants are provided to carry out repairs for seniors who cannot afford home repairs otherwise. Seniors who receive grants are expected to live in the home for at least 3 years afterwards. Selling the home earlier than that would require them to pay back the grant received. Other requirements of the program are at https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/single-family-housing-programs/single-family-housing-repair-loans-grants/nm.
Seniors can also get help with maintaining their homes through assistance provided by Habitat for Humanity. This nonprofit organization has volunteers who help carry out minor home repairs for free. Habitat for Humanity can help with non-structural repairs, installation of ramps for wheelchairs, fence repairs, etc. All services are provided after considering the income of the senior and the type of repairs necessary. To learn more about what Habitat for Humanity offers, visit https://habitatabq.org/home-preservation/.
The New Mexico Mortgage and Finance Authority provides assistance with repairs and modification of the homes of low-income seniors. These modifications may be done to make the home energy-efficient, or for accessibility. Major repairs like replacement of heating systems are also covered. Information on the full range of services can be found at https://housingnm.org/home-repair-and-energy-efficiency/home-rehabilitation/home-investment-partnership.
Transportation programs for seniors in New Mexico help older citizens get to medical appointments and other important places like grocery stores. These programs provide mobility for seniors who may be unable to get around otherwise.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Mexico (BCBSNM) provides medical transportation for seniors who are unable to find any other form of transport. The assistance provided is completely free and covers medically necessary visits to the hospital. Seniors can visit https://www.bcbsnm.com/community-centennial/plan-details/transportation for more information.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation provides the Park and Ride transport service. This is a low-cost shuttle service that seniors can take advantage of to get to locations across the state. Services are available every day, except for designated public holidays. This option can help seniors conserve financial resources and start from $2 for a trip. Further details on Park and ride can be obtained from https://www.dot.nm.gov/travel-information/park-and-ride-bus-shuttle-service/.
Z Trans is a transportation provider that operates within the state. Seniors who live within the Ruidoso service area can get rides through the Senior Dial-A-Ride Service. This service provides transportation for seniors to help them get from their homes to any location they need to be in. Details on this can be found at https://ztrans.org/services/.
Other providers of transportation assistance can be found listed at https://nm.medicalhomeportal.org/services/category/545.
Help with Utility Bills
The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is a federal initiative that helps financially challenged residents with their utility bills. LIHEAP is focused on providing assistance with energy costs associated with heating and cooling the home. Eligibility for this program is determined on specific income guidelines and seniors usually get program priority. The application process can be hastened if utility disconnection is imminent or has been carried out. The funds to settle the outstanding utility bills are provided directly to the utility company to restore or continue service, as the case may be. Additional details on LIHEAP can be obtained from https://www.hsd.state.nm.us/lookingforassistance/low_income_home_energy_assistance_program/.
The Lifeline program can help eligible low-income seniors get discount on their phone bills. Lifeline offers discounts on phone and broadband services from participating companies. Lifeline assistance may also provide funds to purchase a small smartphone for use. A senior can only use one Lifeline discount, and eligibility for the program is determined by income levels. Seniors can visit https://www.centurylink.com/aboutus/community/community-development/lifeline.html#lifeline to learn more about Lifeline.
Assistance for Senior Veterans
The Rural Veterans Transportation Program is provided by the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services (NMDVS) for veterans across the state. This program helps veterans by providing them with free transportation to and from medical appointments. Veteran are required to book three days ahead and receive a round trips ride for free. The program helps veterans who live in rural areas with low population density, and improves their mobility options. Program details for the Rural Veterans Transportation Program are available at https://www.nmdvs.org/rural-veterans-transportation-program/.
The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) also provides health care services for veterans in the state. This is done through VA medical centers located in the state. At these medical centers, veterans can receive various forms of healthcare, including emergency care, x-rays, management of chronic diseases, etc. Information on the VA medical centers in New Mexico can be found at https://www.va.gov/new-mexico-health-care/health-services/.
New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers (NMVIC) offers assistance to veterans by giving them appliances for the home. Veterans can get clothes, furniture, and other home appliances from NMVIC to help furnish their homes. Food items are also provided to support healthy nutrition and eradicate hunger. Housing services ensure that veterans can get a temporary place to stay while they seek more permanent housing options. Information on the activities of the New Mexico Veterans Integration Centers can be found at https://www.nmvic.org/.
Veterans who require assisted living or continuous medical care can take up residence in the New Mexico State Veterans’ Home. This is a comprehensive care and living facility that provides all the necessary care for veterans while giving them a place to live also. A fee is charged for residency in this Veterans’ Home. For more details, visit https://www.nmhealth.org/about/ofm/ltcf/nmsvh/.