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Assisted Living in New Mexico

Over the years, New Mexico has grown into a popular retirement destination thanks to its mild, sunny climate, scenic surroundings and reasonable cost of living. Although the Land of Enhancement lags behind other contenders in our 2024 Senior Living Report, it ranks in the top 20 for health care and transportation, and it was our 28th pick for quality of life.

Today, New Mexico is home to more than 380,000 senior citizens who represent about 18% of the state’s 2.1 million residents. Experts estimate that more than 30% of the population will be aged 60 or older by 2030. Older residents have access to excellent medical facilities, including the Senior Health Center at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. On top of that, the cost of living is 18% lower than the national average, and assisted living prices are on par with the rest of the country. You can expect to pay about $4,500 per month for this type of residential care.

This guide takes a look at the cost of assisted living across New Mexico and the Southwest. It also highlights financial assistance programs, government agencies and nonprofits that can help you get the support you need.

The Cost of Assisted Living in New Mexico

When trying to decide how to pay for assisted living, one of the first questions that comes up is "How much does it cost?" With the impact of inflation, it's more important than ever to have up-to-date information when making a financial plan for senior living. To help shed light on real senior living prices, has compiled proprietary cost data from its network of over 75,000 senior living providers to offer insight into the average cost of assisted living in New Mexico and its 7 cities.

The Cost of Assisted Living in New Mexico's Top Cities

Faced with rising costs, seniors must account for cost variations between New Mexico's cities. Compared with the current average assisted living cost of $4,185, seniors in the state capital of Santa Fe pay around $954 more each month. Those in Las Cruces and Albuquerque also pay higher-than-average rates for their care, with respective fees running between $5,100 and $4,283. Averaging $2,850, Rio Rancho offers a considerably more affordable alternative. 

New Mexico


Santa Fe




Rio Rancho


Las Cruces


Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Assisted Living in New Mexico

In New Mexico, average assisted living fees were $3,465 in 2022. Rates increased by a considerable 20.8% to $4,185 in 2023. Projected monthly fees for 2024 are $4,752. Nationwide, average fees increased by a more manageable 9.6% (from $4,070 to $4,459). While inflation has caused assisted living costs to rise steadily in neighboring states, impacts have varied. Between 2022 and 2024, costs increased by just 5.4% in Colorado and 5.7% in Texas. Arizona experienced an increase of 10.3%, while Oklahoma's significant rise of 19.4% was more in-line with the inflationary effect in New Mexico.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
New Mexico$3,465$4,185$4,752
U.S. Average$4,070$4,459$4,802

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

The type of care affects the overall cost of senior living in New Mexico and factors such as the level of support needed, specialized programing, in-house medical care and communal amenities. When choosing their care setting, older adults should examine their preferences, care needs and financial situations. Assisted living averages $4,185 per month. Independent living stands cheaper, at $2,961. Memory care is costlier, at around $5,214 each month.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Assisted Living in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s Centennial Care Medicaid program provides robust coverage for services provided in the state’s assisted living facilities. This Medicaid system follows a managed care model where benefits are administered by private insurance companies. Centennial Care helps residents pay for medical care, behavioral care and long-term services and supports when these services are necessary.

Individuals who require a nursing home level of care and meet financial requirements for full Medicaid coverage are eligible for Personal Care Option services. To meet the level of care requirements, applicants must need help with at least two activities of daily living due to a disability or functional limitation. Benefits may also be available to individuals who require assistance with instrumental ADLs as determined by a personal needs assessment.

What Assisted Living Services Are Covered by Medicaid in New Mexico?

The goal of PCO services is to prevent nursing home placement and help seniors maintain their health and independence. It covers a variety of residential supports, including the following.


  • Assisted living
  • In-home care
  • Emergency response systems
  • Private-duty nursing
  • Adult day health care
  • Home modifications
  • Skilled therapy
  • Housekeeping
  • Meals and nutritional services


You can learn more about this program and other available benefits by contacting the state’s Aging and Disability Resource Center at (800) 432-2080.

Other Assisted Living Programs

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

The Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, better known as PACE, is an integrated health coverage option available to older adults who require a nursing home level of care and qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. Multidisciplinary services are designed to prevent institutionalization and help seniors remain in the community.

If you’re eligible for Medicaid, you won’t have to pay a monthly premium. If you only have Medicare, you must keep paying your Part B and prescription drug coverage premiums, but there are no co-pays or deductibles. With PACE, you receive medical care and long-term care through a single provider. Assisted living is part of the benefits package when these services are deemed necessary.

Although the PACE model is used across the country, availability is limited to specific cities and zip codes. Currently, PACE is available to qualifying Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries in the Albuquerque area, including parts of Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties. You can learn more by calling the InnovAge PACE center in Albuquerque at (505) 916-1932.

How to Know if You’re Eligible for Medicaid in New Mexico

If you require a nursing home level of care and meet age and disability requirements, you may be eligible for Medicaid long-term care benefits, which have different financial eligibility criteria than other government-sponsored health insurance programs. You must also have limited income and assets. New Mexico sets the monthly income limit at 300% of the federal benefit rate. For 2023, this is $2,742 per month, or $32,904 per year.

Assets are limited to $2,000 per individual or $4,000 if you and your spouse require long-term care. If your spouse isn’t applying for long-term care coverage and will remain at home, he or she can keep up to $148,620 in assets. You’re also entitled to a vehicle and personal belongings. The value of your home may be excluded, and your spouse may be available to claim a portion of your income as a monthly needs allowance to help you qualify.

Household SizeNumber of ApplicantsIncome Limits Per Year*Asset Limits: Applicant(s)Asset Limits: Non-Applicants
One Person1$32,904$2,000
Two People1$32,904**$2,000$148,620
Two People 2$66,808***$4,000***

* Depending on the facility setting, a recipient may not be able to keep income up to this level.

** Income limit is for applicant only.

*** Income is limited to $2,742 per month per spouse.

**** Assets are limited to $2,000 per spouse

As part of your application, you must provide proof that you:


  • Live in New Mexico
  • Are a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Require a nursing home level of care
  • Are aged 65 or older or are disabled


How to Apply for Medicaid in New Mexico

The Human Services Department provides several application options. You can apply online, over the phone or by visiting a local office.


  • For faster service, complete an online application at
  • To apply over the phone, call the Consolidated Customer Service Center at (800) 283-4465
  • If you’d like to use a paper application, mail your documents to the Central ASPEN Scanning Area (CASA), P.O. Box 830, Bernalillo, NM 87004.
  • You can also fax a copy of your paper application to (855) 804-8960.
  • To apply in person, visit the nearest Income Support Division field office.
  • If you don’t have a printer, the customer service center can mail you an application.


Information You Will Need

Make sure that you have the following documents on hand when you complete your application.


  • Address and proof of residency
  • Valid identification
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status
  • Medical records related to disabilities
  • Health insurance information
  • Proof of income
  • A list of assets
  • Details about any government benefits you receive

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

If you need help completing your application or if you have questions about the process, you can contact the following agencies for assistance. Free advice may also be available through senior centers and legal aid offices in your area.

ProgramContactServices provided
DHS Consolidated Customer Service Center(800) 283-4465For help with Medicaid and other benefits available through the Department of Human Services, contact the Consolidated Customer Service Center. Agents can help with applications and answer eligibility questions.
Office of Fair Hearings(800) 432-6217 option 6If your application for Medicaid was denied, or you've been notified that your benefits have been reduced or terminated, you're entitled to appeal. Contact the Office of Fair Hearings for more information.
Income Support Division(505) 827-7263The Income Support Division operates a network of county-level field offices that handle applications for a variety of financial assistance programs, including Medicaid, food stamps and help with housing or utility bills.
Medical Assistance Division(505) 827-3100The Medical Assistance Division of the HSD is responsible for administering the state’s Centennial Care Medicaid program. It provides resources for consumers and providers.

Does Medicare Cover Assisted Living in New Mexico?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of assisted living in New Mexico. Assisted living facilities are considered to be a “residential setting” and not a “clinical setting,” (think nursing homes). While Medicare doesn’t cover the cost of care received in an assisted living community, it does still cover things like approved medications, doctor visits, medical equipment, etc., just like it would if you lived at home.

For more information about when Medicare can be used to pay for senior living in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in New Mexico.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Assisted Living in New Mexico

Seniors who are not eligible (due to location, financial situation, or other factors) for other types of financial assistance, do still have some options. See the table below for an overview of some of the most common ways to make Assisted Living affordable.

NameHow To ApplyHow It Works
Aid and AttendanceLearn more and apply online at who receive a VA pension may also be eligible for the Aid and Attendance benefit, a monthly cash allowance that veterans receive in addition to their standard pension amount. The benefit is intended for veterans in need of long-term care services and may be used towards paying for Assisted Living.
Reverse MortgagesLearn more about your options and how to apply at ftc.govIf you own a home, you may be able to use a reverse mortgage to help pay for Assisted Living. Reverse mortgages are loans that one can take out against the value of their home, essentially converting some of the home's equity into cash. Reverse mortgage loans do need to be repaid with interest, typically within 12 months of receiving the loan.
Long-Term Care (LTC) InsuranceLearn more about Long-Term Care Insurance and how to apply for a policy at who already have long-term care insurance may be able to use it to pay for Assisted Living. Most policies cover at least a portion of the cost, but it depends on the specific policy terms. Note that older adults who are already in need of Assisted Living will not typically be eligible to sign up for a LTC insurance policy.

Free and Low-Cost Resources for Seniors in New Mexico

There are many resources in New Mexico that assist seniors in their retirement. has compiled information on local organizations, programs and agencies and categorized them into care types for easy reference.

Area Agency on Aging

Retirees can find support and advice on various senior-related issues from their local Area Agency on Aging. The agency provides advice on topics such as financial assistance programs, in-home care and long-term care planning. It also connects seniors and caregivers with community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Area Agencies on AgingThere are four Area Agencies on Aging (AAA) in New Mexico. Albuquerque is home to two of them, another is in Santa Fe, and the fourth is in Window Rock, AZ. Tribal programs have a minimum age of 55 to be able to receive services, while all other areas have a minimum age of 60. Information and services for seniors include respite care, transportation, meals, legal help and adult day care.

Cash Assistance Programs

Cash assistance programs in New Mexico provide financial support to help low-income retirees remain in their own homes for as long as possible. Seniors and caregivers can apply for tax rebates and reductions, discounts on vital services and help covering the cost of heating and cooling their home.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Lifeline Program800-234-9473The LifeLine Program offers a discount on landline or mobile telephone service, ensuring that participants can stay in contact with loved ones.

Financial Assistance for Senior Care and Senior Living

Whether living in their own home or in a senior living community, New Mexico seniors can find financial assistance from numerous local resources. These organizations help residents cover some of the costs associated with in-home or long-term care and connect them with other helpful community-based resources.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Community Benefit Program800-432-2080The aim of the program is to give seniors the help they need to stay in their homes, instead of having to move to nursing homes and other institutional settings. Covered services include assistance with activities of daily living, home modifications to increase accessibility, personal emergency response systems and physical therapy.

Food Assistance Programs

Local organizations help ensure elderly citizens have a balanced diet and receive essential vitamins and minerals to remain healthy. Through nutrition programs, congregate meals, home-delivered meals and food pantries, these programs help New Mexico seniors afford the nutritious food they need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Home Delivered Meals 800-432-2080Home Delivered Meals are delivered to clients who are homebound and unable to prepare their own meals and have no caregiver at home to prepare meals for them.
New Mexico Meals on Wheels505-823-8060Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque is a private 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation founded in 1972 by a group of women from Presbyterian Churches around Albuquerque. We began with 20 clients and 40 volunteers. Today we serve approximately 500 clients and have over 400 volunteers. We delivered 9,400 meals in 1972. Today we are delivering over 140,000 meals a year. Meals on Wheels of Albuquerque provides nutritious meals and crucial social contact each day. Not only do we provide friendship and compassion but we also check the well being of those we serve.

Free Used Medical Equipment

Due to the high cost of purchasing new medical equipment, several organizations in New Mexico collect lightly used medical devices such as wheelchairs, ramps and walkers and distribute them to local seniors and residents in need.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Adelante Back In Use505-341-7171Back in Use recycles medical equipment and assistive devices, helping New Mexicans with limited financial resources get the equipment they need. All donated items are inspected carefully and sanitized before they're distributed.
New Mexico Technology Assistance Program877-696-1470The New Mexico Technology Assistance Program lends assistive technology and medical equipment to New Mexico residents with all types of disabilities. Available items include wheelchair cushions, telephone amplifiers and visual alert systems.

Health Insurance & Prescription Drug Coverage for Seniors

New Mexico seniors who meet certain income criteria can apply to local resources to help them pay for prescription drugs. Eligible residents can also receive assistance through health insurance and other programs to access free or discounted medical services.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Drug Card800-726-4232The New Mexico Drug Card gives users access to pharmacy discounts that can help them reduce their out-of-pocket prescription costs. These discounts are typically applied when a medication isn't covered by Medicare Part D or another type of insurance. Participants can also use the New Mexico Drug Card if the out-of-pocket cost would be less than the cost of purchasing the medication with insurance coverage.

Home Repair and Modifications

Seniors and those with disabilities can access a variety of local resources to help them pay for home repairs and modifications. Programs in New Mexico have different eligibility criteria and often assist retirees by providing grants or loans.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Energy$mart Weatherization ProgramNew Mexico's Energy$mart Weatherization Program provides funds that can be used to increase energy efficiency or make a home safer for its occupants. Home energy audits are performed to determine which services are appropriate for each participant.

Social Security Offices

Social Security offices in New Mexico help seniors and disabled people access the benefits they're entitled to. Older adults can contact their local office for information about receiving retirement benefits, disability allowance and Supplemental Security Income.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Social SecuritySocial Security is a source of income available to retirees and people who can no longer work because of a disability. The money for Social Security comes from a payroll tax levied on employers, employees and self-employed individuals. When you retire, you'll receive monthly payments based on how much you earned when you were working.

Tax Assistance

Seniors can apply for tax assistance from several New Mexico resources. Elderly residents and those with disabilities could be eligible for tax exemptions on medical expenses, reductions on property tax and other tax assistance programs.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico Senior Property Tax Rebate505-372-8314In New Mexico, seniors qualify for a rebate that reduces the amount of property tax owed each year. Tax collection is handled by a network of county assessor offices, so the amount of the rebate depends on a senior's county of residence.

Veteran's Services

New Mexico retirees who have served in the U.S. military can find support from local veteran services. These offices and organizations help vets access the benefits they're eligible for and provide advice and information on a variety of issues.

Program NamePhone NumberDescription
New Mexico VA Benefits and Health CareNew Mexico VA Benefits and Health Care offers health administration and benefits delivery to qualified veterans throughout the state. The Regional Benefits Office and the main VA Health Care System office are located in Albuquerque, and the office has outpatient clinics across New Mexico. Seniors who served in the armed forces can contact these locations to get help applying for their veteran health care and financial aid benefits.

Assisted Living Laws and Regulations in New Mexico

Assisted living facilities in New Mexico are licensed by the Department of Health through its Health Facility Licensing & Certification division. Facilities must meet strict licensing standards for design, staffing and individual care plans.

Assisted Living Admission RequirementsLong-term care facilities that are licensed to provide assisted living may not admit residents who require 24-hour nursing care. Seniors who use a ventilator, need continuous IV medications or pose a threat to others may be prohibited from admission. These restrictions may be waived for individuals who elect to receive hospice care through a qualified agency.
Assisted Living Scope of CareAssisted living facilities are licensed to care for two or more adults who need assistance with at least one activity of daily living. Facilities must provide three daily meals, laundry and housekeeping services as well as recreational and social activities that are consistent with residents’ needs and abilities.
Assisted Living Medicaid PolicyNew Mexico’s Centennial Care program provides Medicaid long-term care benefits, including many services provided in assisted living facilities. Individuals must meet eligibility requirements, and the facility must be authorized by Medicaid.
Assisted Living Facility RequirementsAssisted living facilities must follow strict guidelines for resident accommodations, bathing areas and recreational spaces. Private rooms must provide at least 100 square feet of living space. Semiprivate rooms must have at least 80 square feet of living space per person and can be shared by a maximum of two people. Facilities must provide at least one safety-equipped bathroom for every eight residents. The building must also include at least 40 square feet of communal living areas per resident, including dining rooms, activity centers and space for socializing.
Medication Management RegulationsAssisted living facilities may assist residents with medications if written consent is provided to the administrator. All medications must be administered in accordance with state and federal laws by staff members who've completed an approved medication management course. Some medications may only be administered by a registered nurse or licensed nurse practitioner. Facilities must maintain appropriate medication assistance records and have a staff or consultant pharmacist review these records quarterly.
Staffing RequirementsNew Mexico has minimum staffing ratios based on the size of the assisted living facility. At least one direct care staff member must be on duty and awake at all times for every 15 residents. Additional staff is required for facilities with more than 16 residents, although some requirements may be reduced at night. Facilities must provide staffing records for the last 30 days at the agency’s request.
Staff Training RequirementsCertified nursing assistants in New Mexico must complete a 75-hour state-approved training course. Facilities must provide at least 16 hours of training before new employees may provide unsupervised care. The state requires at least 12 hours of continued training annually.
Background Checks for Assisted LivingNew Mexico requires criminal background checks for all direct-care workers and staff members with access to resident information. Facilities must conduct a comprehensive criminal background check on all new hires within 20 days of employment. A search of the Employee Abuse Registry is required prior to hiring.
Requirements for Reporting AbuseAllegations of abuse, neglect or exploitation occurring in an assisted living facility should be reported to the Division of Health Improvement. Consumers are encouraged to call the Health Facility Complaints Hotline at (800) 752-8649. Health providers and other required reporters should use the state’s online reporting system. You can submit a paper report if needed.

Frequently Asked Questions

Assisted Living Facilities in New Mexico

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