The rate of Alzheimer’s disease among seniors is on the rise nationwide, and it’s responsible for nearly 600 deaths every year in New Mexico, according to the latest report from the Alzheimer’s Association. As of 2020, there are approximately 43,000 New Mexico residents aged 65 and older who’ve been diagnosed with the disease. The upward trend is expected to continue in the near future, unfortunately, and the state is projected to reach a total of 53,000 diagnosed individuals in 2025.

Seniors with Alzheimer’s or other form of dementia need a certain degree of additional care and supervision, and that need will increase over time. In many cases, these seniors will enter a residential long-term care community, such as assisted living or memory care facility, when they’re no longer able to live independently.

Memory care can either be offered on its own in a community designed especially for those with dementia or Alzheimer’s, or, more often, it’s provided as a service in a separate wing of an assisted living facility. Memory care programs are designed specifically for those with memory impairment, and the facilities often coordinate social activities and schedules specifically for the needs of those living with Alzheimer’s or dementia.

This guide covers key cost comparisons for memory care in New Mexico, nearby states and the country overall. Seniors and family members can also compare alternative levels of care and read about statewide financial assistance options that may be available.

The Cost of Memory Care in New Mexico

Memory care is often provided as an extra layer of services on top of assisted living, and this comes at an additional cost. Residents in Alzheimer’s care units and facilities pay 20% to 30% higher rates. As such, this guide has calculated the cost of memory care based on a 25% increase to assisted living costs.

Memory Care Costs in Nearby States

With an average monthly cost of $5,125, New Mexico is the most expensive state in the region for Alzheimer’s care, although the difference is insignificant. National costs are $61 lower, and Coloradans save only $6 per month compared to New Mexico. Texas and Arizona share an average monthly cost of $4,688 for Alzheimer’s care, which is a considerable amount when viewed annually, and Utah is the most affordable state in the region for this level of care, with an average that’s $875 below that of New Mexico.

$5125

New Mexico

$5064

The United States

$5119

Colorado

$4688

Texas

$4688

Arizona

$4250

Utah

Cost of Other Types of Care in New Mexico

While the cost of memory care in the state is similar to that of the nation, the pricing on adult day care is far above the norm. Specifically, the costs associated with adult day care in New Mexico are 80% higher — $2,933 per month in the state compared to $1,625 for the U.S. overall. Full-time residential care in an assisted living facility adds approximately $1,100 to the monthly bill, in comparison to adult day care, and Alzheimer’s care adds another $1,000 to the cost. Nursing home care is still the most expensive, as is typical for the United States, but it’s much easier to gain coverage for this level of care.

$5125

Memory Care

$4290

In-Home Care

$4290

Home Health Care

$2933

Adult Day Care

$4100

Assisted Living Facility

$7330

Nursing Home Care

The Cost of Memory Care in New Mexico’s Top Cities

Comparing Costs Across New Mexico

The largest of New Mexico’s cities — Albuquerque — is the most affordable in terms of memory care. It’s the only surveyed city with a cost for Alzheimer’s care below the state average, and by only $62 per month. Other cities are roughly 10% to 14% more expensive than Albuquerque. These include Farmington, which has the highest price tag of $5,750 per month, and Las Cruces and Santa Fe at averages of $5,688 and $5,556 per month, respectively. For additional comparison, over the western state border in Tuscon, AZ, the price of memory care is closer to $6,000, which is more than all the cities surveyed in New Mexico.

$5063

Albuquerque

$5750

Farmington

$5688

Las Cruces

$5556

Santa Fe

$5869

Tucson, AZ

Financial Assistance for Memory Care in New Mexico

Centennial Care (New Mexico Medicaid)

Eligible seniors and people with disabilities receive coverage for a variety of services via Centennial Care Managed Care Organizations (MCOs), which have replaced previously offered Medicaid waivers. The goal remains the same: Promote the independence of New Mexico residents and decrease the likelihood of institutionalization. Seniors with Alzheimer’s may qualify for coverage in an assisted living setting if they’re a resident of a facility that accepts Medicaid funding.

Who Is Eligible?
An individual applicant for assisted living and other benefits must have income no higher than 133% of the federal poverty level, which means an income limit of $1,414 per month as of 2020. They must also be assessed with a functional need for additional coverage. Applicants with Alzheimer’s disease are assessed as in need of such services based on the amount of assistance required to perform activities of daily living.

How to Apply
Residents who have not signed up for Medicaid can do so via the YesNM portal or by contacting the New Mexico Human Services Department.

Free and Low-Cost Memory Care Resources in New Mexico

New Mexicans with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia can find support and information, as well as access to direct services, from a variety of governmental agencies and nonprofits throughout the state.

ResourceContactServices
Aging and Disability Resource Center1-800-432-2080The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department manages the statewide ADRC. The Center helps seniors, people with disabilities and their caregivers gain access to Medicare, Medicaid and prescription drug assistance. Staff can answer questions about long-term care at the local level and provide referrals for necessary services. The ADRC is responsible for registering individuals for the Medicaid waiver outlined in this guide.
ADRC Directory of Local Services and Facilities1-800-432-2080The Aging and Disability Resource Center also offers an online, searchable directory of local agencies, programs and communities that serve seniors and people with disabilities who are in need of memory care.
Alzheimer’s Association – New Mexico Chapter1-800-272-3900This nonprofit chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association is based in Albuquerque and serves all New Mexicans affected by the disease. The AA is a good source of information, training and professional referrals for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Care consultations and needs assessments can be provided by knowledgeable staff.
UNM Memory and Aging Center505-272-3160The University of New Mexico’s Clinical Neuroscience Center has facilities and staff dedicated to helping people affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. The team includes board-certified neurologists who provide assessments and neurological examinations. They can also provide a diagnosis and recommend appropriate therapies.
Social Security OfficesSee website for locations and contact detailsNew Mexican seniors and people with disabilities who qualify for Social Security Supplemental Security Income benefits automatically become eligible for additional state Medicaid services. Interested individuals can visit their local SSA office to apply.
Legal Resources for the Elderly Program1-800-876-6657New Mexico residents aged 55 and older can call the free LREP hotline for legal advice and services. This may be useful for seniors who believe they’ve been wrongfully denied access to Medicaid long-term care, Social Security Disability and other programs. Legal services are also available to assist with guardianship disputes.

Memory Care Laws and Regulations in New Mexico

The Health Facility Licensing and Certification Bureau of New Mexico Department of Health is responsible for regulating assisted living and memory care in the state. The specifics are contained in Title 7, Chapter 8, Part 2 of New Mexico Administrative Code.

Resident AdmissionIndividuals must be assessed by trained staff and a determination made that memory care is the least restrictive mode of care. The individual must be formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia by a physician. Facility staff must then develop a service plan tailored to the individual, including detailed breakdowns of services and expected costs, and this plan must be updated twice per year by a licensed nurse.
Scope of Memory CareAssisted living facilities that offer memory care must inform residents of the services, activities, care and other relevant features available to those with cognitive issues. These facilities must not accept a resident that can’t be cared for safely for behavioral or medical reasons.
Staffing RegulationsFacilities with fewer than 16 residents are required to have one caregiver on duty, while facilities with more than 12 residents are required to have four caregivers. Regulations also include a requirement that dementia care facilities employ a “sufficient number” of appropriately trained staff.
Medication Management and AdministrationFacility residents can maintain and administer their own medication if cleared to do so by their physician. Most memory care residents need some assistance, and many rely on staff to administer their medication. In New Mexico, all staff members who assist with or administer medication must be trained and licensed to do so.
Medicaid AcceptanceCentennial Care — the state Medicaid managed care program — covers the cost of care for residents in assisted living and memory care facilities. Residents may also be eligible for room and board coverage.
Abuse and Neglect ComplaintsMandatory reporting requirements for facility staff are outlined in Section 7.30.13.20. Staff must report all serious and unusual incidents that do or could cause harm to residents, including accidents, abuse and natural disasters. Residents and members of the public can call the Health Facility Complaints Hotline at 1-800-752-8649 or download a complaint form to be mailed or faxed.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does memory care cost in New Mexico?

As of 2020, residents in New Mexico’s memory care facilities and units pay an average of $5,125 per month, which is just $61 more than average for the United States.

Does New Mexico Medicaid pay for memory care?

Yes, the state’s Centennial Care program covers memory care services provided in an assisted living facility for eligible Medicaid recipients. New Mexicans may also qualify for full or partial coverage of their room and board fees.

What is the difference between memory care and assisted living?

Assisted living residents are typically more active and independent, as opposed to those in memory care who have more complex cognitive and physical deficits. The facility design, number and type of staff employed, activities offered and other elements of care can be tailored to either group, or both.

What types of therapies are offered in memory care facilities?

Some of the most common offered for people with Alzheimer’s include art, music and pet therapies, as well as the more standard physical and occupational therapies.

What security features are present in memory care facilities?

The main security concern at such a facility is preventing residents from wandering off and becoming lost, which can be solved with specialized design techniques, surveillance and perimeter lockdowns.