Senior Resources

By Autumn Gray

States that have attracted older retirees, such as New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, and South Carolina, have larger proportions of older residents, according to the Population Reference Bureau. However, among them, New Mexico is “aging” at an even faster rate because as older residents arrive, younger people are leaving the state for jobs elsewhere.

In fact, New Mexico’s total population increased by only 2.8 percent from 2010 to 2020, but the population of people age 65 and older increased by 43.7 percent in that time period, according to 2020 Census data released by the Census Bureau and analyzed by Geospatial Population Studies at the University of New Mexico.

In the next six years, New Mexico’s over-65 demographic is projected to hit 26.5 percent, ranking the state third in the U.S. for the oldest population, according to the Iowa Data Center. The U.S. Census estimates the 65 and older group stands at about 19 percent today in New Mexico, with about half living alone.

Since these statistics relate to the majority of Prime Time’s readership, we wanted to assemble a list of local resources that we hope will be beneficial should you need support in one or more areas while living in the Albuquerque metro area. (Be aware this list is not all-inclusive but a broad sampling.)

General

City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs (SA)

SA offers residents age 50 and older services and programs that promote both independent living and healthy aging. The Information & Assistance hotline, (505) 764-6400, connects residents to these services and programs and to additional community resources. SA operates senior centers, multi-generational centers, sports and fitness centers, meal sites, and a central kitchen.  SA’s programs include home services, care coordination, home delivered meals, and senior transportation. For more information, visit https://www.cabq.gov/seniors.

NM Aging & Long-Term Services Department

This state department is a leader in developing programs and building partnerships that support lifelong independence and healthy aging. Services include help with aging in place; support caregivers; tips on avoiding scams; adult protective services, information on elder care and elder rights; as well as help with dementia care. Visit https://aging.nm.gov/ for more, or if you know you need help but don’t know where to start, call 1-800-432-2080.

Bernalillo County Office of Senior and Social Services (OSSS)

The role of OSSS in senior services includes program development for four county-owned Senior Centers operated by the City of Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs. Services include exercise programs, book clubs, music and art programs, sewing, crafts, ceramics, and a variety of other activities. Those 60 and older are eligible to receive free breakfast and lunch, and those 50-59 get reduced pricing. Centers open 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Lunch reservations are required by noon the day prior. Transportation for neighborhood residents within a five-mile radius is available. Center locations and phone numbers are listed at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/community-health-outreach/senior-meals/. Senior Affairs Advisory Council. For more, call (505) 314-0425.

Health and Fitness

Optum New Mexico Community Center

The Optum New Mexico Community Center, 4010 Montgomery Blvd. NE. in Albuquerque, offers a state-of-the-art gym; a variety of exercise and wellness classes, including yoga and strength and balance classes; arts and crafts; as well as presentations on a variety of health topics, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, and exercise stress management. The center, designed as a welcoming space for seniors to improve their physical, mental, and emotional health, is open to anyone who meets the age requirement. Guests of are not required to be Optum NM patients or even to have health insurance. The center is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For a schedule, visit optum.com/nmcommunitycenters. Also, call 505-254-6500.

 

COMING SOON: Blue Door Neighborhood Center

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico’s first Blue Door Neighborhood Center is anticipated to open any day now at Las Estancias shopping center, 3925 Las Estancias Way.  Located in Albuquerque’s South Valley, the 2,100-square-foot center will collaborate with community organizations and health care providers to offer a variety of resources and programming to impact community health. There will also be no-cost wellness classes, connections to social services and customer engagement.

Low-income Services

Silver Horizons

Silver Horizons supports Albuquerque area residents age 50 and older who are struggling to pay for basic needs, such as groceries and utility bills. Its 100 percent self-serve Senior Food Markets provide about two-weeks’ worth of free groceries, including fresh produce, meat, dairy, toiletries, and pet food, for each household. These items are distributed primarily through drive-up/pickup markets, deliveries to senior living facilities, in-person shopping, and deliveries to homebound seniors. To learn dates and locations of Silver Horizons’ Senior Markets, or to donate or volunteer, visit https://www.silverhorizons.org or call 505-884-3881.

Virtual Programs

Bernalillo County Office of Senior and Social Services (OSSS)

The OSSS also offers virtual programs to adults age 60 and over, with emphasis on those who are homebound, isolated, or advised to social distance. The program, called Well Connected, provides phone and online group conversations, classes, support groups, lectures and much more. Participants can talk, play a game, learn a language, share a gratitude, get support, and stay connect and engaged. Services are free. Call Well Connected at 1-877-797-7299. Visit the OSSS at https://www.bernco.gov/community-services/community-health-outreach/office-of-social-services/.

Behavioral Health

UNM Senior Behavioral Health Programs

Individuals 55 and older can receive short-term (up to three weeks) care from UNM’s Senior Behavioral Health program, which offers recovery-centered inpatient mental health treatment.  The 12-bed unit has a central day room, space for therapeutic group activities, and a large outdoor patio and garden. It was designed for older adults who are experiencing mental health issues and behavior changes that interfere with their ability to function or compromise their quality of life. Call 505-994-7887 to learn more, or to see a list of admission requirements, visit https://unmhealth.org/services/behavioral-health/senior.html.

Legal

Senior Citizens Law Office

SCLO provides critically needed advocacy and legal representation to residents 60 years of age and older in Bernalillo, Sandoval, Torrance, and Valencia counties. Pursuant to Older Americans Act guidelines, SCLO gives special priority to seniors who are economically needy, socially isolated, medically frail and institutionalized. SCLO’s case priority issues include income/public benefits; health and long-term care; housing and utilities; protective services; abuse and neglect; financial exploitation; and consumer protection. Call (505) 265-2300 or visit http://sclonm.org/.

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