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Memory Care in New Mexico

New Mexico is home to more than 380,000 seniors, and adults aged 60 and older are expected to represent 30% of the population by 2030. This growing population of older adults means that the number of Alzheimer’s cases is expected to rise more than 20%, from 43,000 in 2020 to 53,000 in 2025, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Dementia is an increasing concern for the public and cognitive health professionals at facilities such as the Memory & Aging Center at the University of New Mexico Health System, which sponsors research and offers opportunities to participate in clinical trials. The state also has a number of assisted living facilities that offer memory care. The median cost for these services is $5,623 per month, which is comparable to the national average.

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 compares the cost of memory care and other long-term supports in New Mexico and across the Southwest. It also provides an overview of the state’s financial assistance programs and various community-based organizations that help families who have been affected by Alzheimer’s and dementia.

The Cost of Memory Care in New Mexico

When trying to decide how to pay for memory care, 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 memory care in New Mexico and its 3 cities.

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

While inflation has impacted the state as a whole, memory care costs can vary between cities. At $4,835, rates in Rio Rancho fall below the state median of $5,214, while average costs in Albuquerque are higher at $5,488. Rates in Santa Fe are also lower than the New Mexico average at $4,739.

New Mexico




Santa Fe


Rio Rancho


Tucson, AZ


Inflation's Impact on the Cost of Memory Care in New Mexico

In recent years, inflation has caused the cost of memory care in New Mexico to rise at an unprecedented rate. From 2022 to 2023, costs have risen by more than 5% ($4,943 to $5,214). However, it's less than the 10.4% increase seen on a national level, which shows that inflation can impact states differently. While rates in Texas have only risen about 4.3%, costs in Colorado have gone up by over 11%. Arizona and Oklahoma have also seen very high memory care cost increases of roughly 15% and 18%, respectively.

Location2022 Cost (Historical)2023 Cost (Current)2024 Cost (Estimated)
New Mexico$4,943$5,214$5,553
U.S. Average$4,863$5,369$5,792
Arizona$4,698$5,401 $6,209
Colorado$5,326$5,958 $6,382

The Costs of Other Types of Senior Living

As memory care offers a high level of specialized care and attention, it's more expensive than other types of senior care at $5,214. Assisted living typically costs $4,185 per month, and the average price of independent living in New Mexico is $2,961. In addition to the level of care and services provided, factors such as amenities, room types and programming can have an impact on the cost of senior living.

Assisted Living


Memory Care


Independent Living


Does Medicaid Cover Memory Care in New Mexico?

Note: For the purposes of this guide, when we say “Memory Care” we are referring to memory care provided in a “social setting,” such as an Assisted Living Facility. This is the most common way to receive Memory Care and is the best fit for all but the frailest seniors. Sometimes the actual service of memory care can be provided in a Nursing Home (“medical setting”), so the financial assistance options will be very different. To learn more about the financial assistance options available for memory care provided in a nursing home, read our guide to Nursing Home Care in New Mexico.

Individuals who require institutional care are entitled to a variety of long-term supports through the state’s Centennial Care Medicaid program. Applicants must meet medical and financial eligibility requirements to receive these services. With this expanded Medicaid program, benefits are administered by managed care organizations (MCOs) operated by private insurance companies, such as Blue Cross Blue Shield. This system allows beneficiaries to access medical care, behavioral health services and long-term services and supports through a single entity.

Seniors who’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s may qualify for Medicaid if they require a nursing home level of care. This typically means they must require help with at least two activities of daily living or at least one instrumental activity of daily living. Typically, applicants must be aged 65 or older or have a permanent disability due to Alzheimer’s or another health condition.

What Memory Care Services Are Covered by Medicaid in New Mexico?

New Mexico’s Medicaid State Plan covers a variety of Personal Care Option services that are provided in home- and community-based settings. The goal of these services is to prevent institutionalization and allow older adults to receive care in the least restrictive setting. Centennial Care pays for a variety of services provided in memory care facilities. However, beneficiaries are still responsible for the cost of room and board. Here are some of the services that the program covers:


  • Help with daily activities
  • In-home care
  • Private-duty nursing
  • Adult day health care
  • Skilled therapy
  • Housekeeping and laundry
  • Meals and nutritional services
  • Emergency alert systems
  • Medical equipment and supplies
  • Accessibility modifications


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 or the Human Services Department at (800) 283-4465.

Other Long-Term Care Programs

Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly

Adults aged 55 and older who require a nursing home level of support may be eligible for the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly. PACE is an innovative alternative to Medicare and Medicaid that allows beneficiaries to receive medical care, long-term care and other supports through a single organization.

The program focuses on helping prevent institutionalization and serving seniors who want to remain in the community. However, it also covers care in licensed health care facilities, including hospitals, assisted living facilities, memory care units and nursing homes. Monthly premiums depend on whether you qualify for Medicare and Medicaid or have a private-pay agreement. However, in most cases, there are no out-of-pocket expenses.

PACE long-term care benefits are provided by the InnovAge PACE center in Albuquerque. Services are currently limited to communities in Bernalillo, Sandoval and Valencia counties. Call InnovAge PACE at (505) 916-1932 to see if you’re eligible.

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

Medicaid home- and community- services, including benefits for assisted living, are available to seniors who require a nursing home level of care and have limited income and assets. Centennial Care long-term care benefits have higher income limits than regular Medicaid. Applicants can earn up to 300% of the federal benefit rate, which is $2,742 per month ($32,904 per year) for 2023. Assets are limited to $2,000 per applicant or $4,000 if both you and your spouse are applying for benefits. If only one spouse requires long-term care, the non-applicant can have up to $148,620 in assets. A primary home, a vehicle and certain personal belongings are excluded. Your spouse may be entitled to a monthly needs allowance that can help to reduce your income.

NameIncome limits*Asset limits
Single Applicant$32,904$2,000
Two-Person Household
(Only One Person Applying)
$32,904**$2,000 for applicant $148,620 for non-applicant
Two-Person Household
(Both People Applying)

* 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

To qualify for memory care or assisted living through Centennial Care, you must:


  • Be a New Mexico resident
  • Provide proof of citizenship or legal residency
  • Require a nursing home level of care
  • Be aged 65 or older or disabled


How To Apply for Medicaid in New Mexico

There are several ways to apply for Medicaid depending on your needs and preferences. The easiest way is by visiting the official application portal at YesNM. If you have questions about your application or if you would like to apply over the phone, call the Consolidated Customer Service Center at (800) 283-4465.

Paper applications are available to download on the website, or the agency can mail you a copy. Your completed application package can be mailed or faxed to the following address or submitted to your local Income Support Division field office if you’d rather apply in person.

Central ASPEN Scanning Area (CASA)
P.O. Box 830
Bernalillo, NM 87004
Fax: (855) 804-8960

Information You Will Need

The state’s Medicaid application asks for a variety of personal and financial information. Make sure you have the following items available.


  • Home address
  • Proof of in-state residency
  • A government-issued ID
  • Social Security number
  • Proof of citizenship or immigration status
  • Disability information
  • Health insurance details
  • Sources of income
  • Bank balances and assets
  • Information about monthly expenses

How to Get Help Applying for Medicaid

For questions about your application or benefits, contact the Department of Human Services using the information listed below. Managed care organizations such as Blue Cross Blue Shield, Presbyterian Health Plan and Western Sky can also answer questions about coverage and available services.

Does Medicare Cover Memory Care in New Mexico?

The short answer is that no, Medicare does not cover the cost of memory care in New Mexico. As was mentioned above, this doesn’t apply to Memory Care received in a Nursing Home. Since it is the most common to receive memory care in a “social setting” (such as an assisted living facility), Medicare won’t be a viable financial assistance option for most seniors who need Memory Care. However, Medicare will 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 Memory Care in a nursing home, and for Medicare-related resources, see our guide to Nursing Homes in New Mexico.

Other Financial Assistance Options for Memory Care 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 Memory Care 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 Memory Care.
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 Memory Care. 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 Memory Care. 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 Memory Care 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.

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 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

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