The population of older Americans has steadily grown in recent decades, and experts predict that growth will continue unabated in the decades to come. As of the 2010 Census, 13.9 percent of the population of Santa Fe, New Mexico was age 65 or older and 10.2 percent of the households had someone living alone aged 65 or older.
As the Baby Boomer generation moves into retirement, the spotlight has been on social, medical, and legal issues that impact the elderly. Whether you are part of the growing population of seniors, or you are the caregiver to someone who is, you will find that Santa Fe, New Mexico has a wide variety of resources to help with the issues you face. Identifying and locating those resources, however, can be a challenge. To give you a bit of a head start, the elder law attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC have put together some Santa Fe elder law resources for you .
Local Government and Law Enforcement
As a resident of Santa Fe, New Mexico it is always a good idea to have some of the more frequently used local government resources handy. Many of those can be found on the City of Santa Fe’s official website. The website offers telephone numbers and contact information for most city departments as well as helpful information about the city itself. Whether you need to know when your trash will be collected or are you looking for affordable housing you can probably find useful information on the city’s website. It is equally important to be able to quickly and easily navigate to emergency contact information such as the Santa Fe Police Department which serves residents who live within the city limits. If you live outside the city limits you will need to contact the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department.
Nursing Homes, Assisted Living, and Home Health Care
As time goes by, you may reach at a point at which you realize that additional help is needed to care for yourself or for someone you love. Whether that means daily home health care, assisted living, or the type of care you can only receive from a nursing home, Santa Fe offers numerous options from which to choose. A number of reliable resources are also available to help you find the care you need, including:
- New Mexico Care Planning Council –provides a list of nursing home facilities in the Santa Fe area as well as offers a variety of other resources to help you will issues related to long-term care and aging.
- Eldercare Locator – a website administered by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that allows you to search for facilities in your area.
- Nursing Home Compare – this is found on the Medicare.gov site and is the official Medicare sit for the U.S. government. On the site you can search and compare skilled nursing facilities anywhere in the country.
- com -- offers a searchable data base of nursing home and other long-term care facilities in Santa Fe and surrounding area.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest concerns when you, or a loved one, need LTC is the cost of that care. The cost of LTC in the United States has increased right along with the older population, and is expected to continue to increase in the years to come. For 2018, the average yearly cost of LTC in New Mexico was around $85,000 and experts telling us the rising costs associated with LTC won’t be slowing down anytime soon. It may also be in your best interest to incorporate Medicaid planning into you estate plan to ensure that you meet the Medicaid eligibility requirements as a senior. Because neither your private health insurance policy nor Medicare will help with the cost of LTC, you may find yourself turning to Medicaid for help. The Medicaid planning attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC can help protect your assets while simultaneously ensuring that you will qualify for Medicaid if you need it down the road.
Grandma and grandpa sitting in their rocking chairs watching the world go by is an antiquated picture in the 21st century. Today, seniors consider retirement a second chance to socialize, travel, and enjoy life. Experts tell us, in fact, that getting out and spending time with friends and neighbors is vital to both the physical and mental health of seniors. If you are looking for places to mingle or meet new friends, a good place to start your search is the Senior Services page on the City of Santa Fe website. If you are a veteran, Santa Fe offers several VFW Posts as well as American Legion posts that may interest you.
State and Federal Assistance
Many state and federal resources and assistance programs are geared specifically at seniors. An excellent example is the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department. Many seniors also qualify for assistance from the Social Security disability or Social Security retirement program. For information, including application instructions, visit the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) website. If you are a veteran, or the surviving spouse or dependent of a veteran, you may also be entitled to a number of benefits through the Veteran’s Administration. Along with well-known benefits such as pension and disability benefits, you might qualify for additional benefits you may not be familiar with, such as Veteran’s Aid and Attendance benefits. Once you reach retirement age, you will likely be automatically enrolled in the Medicare program. Although basic Medicare is free to all seniors, Medicare actually has four parts and the other three parts may come with a premium. If you have questions about a covered service or need to find a provider, the official Medicare website can help. In addition, if you need long-term care at some point the New Mexico Centennial Care is their Medicaid for seniors program may be able to help. To apply for Centennial Care benefits, navigate to the YesNM website.
Although you (or your loved one) may be entitled to a wide variety of benefits, getting an application completed and approved can be a monumental task. Navigating the governmental red tape can be challenging under the best of circumstances. If you are attempting to apply on behalf of a family member or other loved one, it may be even more difficult if you do not yet have guardianship over the applicant. Worse still is the reality that a significant percentage of initial applications for benefits are denied, often for no other reason than the application itself was missing information and/or documentation. The elder law attorneys at Morris Hall PLLC are available to help you through the process from understanding what benefits are available to you to making sure you are in a position to get approved for all the assistance available.
Our experienced attorneys are here to assist you in areas typically of concern to seniors and those who care for them, such as: incapacity planning, asset protection, probate and tax avoidance, and retirement planning. If you have additional elder law questions or concerns outside of our scope of practice, we would be happy to direct you to resources that can further assist you. Contact Morris Hall PLLC by calling 888-222-1328 to schedule an appointment.