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Help for seniors from New Mexico Agency on Aging.

If you are an older New Mexico resident and need assistance with medications, food, medical bills, or other basic needs, your Agency on Aging center may be able to help. The non-profit organization offers a wide variety of services for senior citizens and the elderly. Most of the advice and information is free, and thousands of individuals receive support every year.

Access to information is always very important. The New Mexico Benefits Counseling Program is arranged by agency on aging, and volunteers and specialists provide free, important advice on how disabled and senior New Mexicans might receive help paying for food, medical care, or electricity. You can get information over the phone or at local senior centers.

New Mexico’s State Health Insurance Assistance Program (SHIP) can answer all health insurance questions, including Medicaid and Medicare and advise on fraud or scam situations. Staff provide consumers with accurate, unbiased and current information on your options.

Similar to above and related, the ADRC’s Senior Medicare Patrol, or SMP, will help beneficiaries and senior citizens detect, avoid, and prevent health care fraud and overbilling. SMP focuses on billing issues from Medicare, so it helps protect the consumer as well as the integrity of the federal government Medicare program. The main benefits and activities of the SMP program also serve to enhance the financial, physical, emotional and mental well-being of elderly, older adults, and seniors.

Learn about Medical Discount Plans. This is not the same as insurance. These plans can be a way for consumers of all income levels to save money on their medical bills and health care costs. Be careful when using these, as some medical discount plans provide legitimate discounts and others take your money but provide few benefits. Your local agency on aging office in New Mexico or the SHIP program can help direct consumers on this.




The New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department offers the SCSEP / Senior Community Service Employment Program. People over 55 can receive a job, and enrolled trainees are paid minimum wage for twenty hours per week. Jobs will be in governmental or not-for-profit organizations. You will be paid a salary, and may even receive some limited benefits from SCSEP. You will also importantly gain the skills needed for longer term job opportunities, and some of this is done through an assessment or intake process. The program also helps pay for the costs of work supplies and items such as annual physical, the cost of eyeglasses, uniforms, and shoes.

Another job program is the 50+ Older Worker Connection. This can help ensures that mature workers are prepared for and secure meaningful employment. The state of New Mexico works with employers across the state to create awareness of the value of mature workers.

Some Older Worker Resource Centers are also part of this program, and they can be equipped with computers, internet access, library, and other tools. Staff and volunteers provide personal assistance to job seekers, including information on various employers' processes for job application, discussing work history and goals, employment counseling, and tips on interviewing techniques.

The New Mexico Family Caregiver Support Program is for family caregivers of senior citizens and older adults. Priority for this program is placed on serving older persons and the elderly with greatest economic and social needs, with priority for low income families.

Prescription Drug Assistance is offered primarily from the New Mexico MEDBANK Program. This state resource can assist under-insured, low income and uninsured individuals and help them obtain the prescription medications and drugs they need at costs they can afford. While qualifications need to be met, the program can provide a voucher of up to a few hundred dollars to allow eligible MEDBANK enrollees to help them obtain free prescription medications.

Bill Payer Program is coordinated by Area of Aging centers. Trained volunteers and staff provide daily money management services to help low-income disabled or older people who are having difficulty keeping track of financial matters, budgeting, and paying routine bills. Receive advice, help processing payments, and other support.

Free legal advice for seniors is provided from the Lawyer Referral for the Elderly Program of the New Mexico State Bar Association. This non-profit organization provides negotiated-fee, reduced prices or free legal assistance to New Mexicans ages 55 and older and low income senior citizens. (800) 876-6657





Some New Mexico Counties also have Senior Citizens Law Office, which provides free legal advice and representation to the elderly and seniors age 60. Get advice and aid on issues such as consumer rights, healthcare, public and government benefits, advance directives, and other issues such as wills, estate planning, and transfer on death.

CoLTS-C Community-Based Services and Medicaid Waiver for Home helps individuals who are disabled, aged, or blind. Examples of services provided through the waiver include assisted living, caregiver services in the home, emergency response, financial aid, adult day health, and respite care. Other community transition services are occupational therapy, private duty nursing, physical therapy, and speech/language therapy services.

A focus on the Agency on Aging and senior centers is on nutrition. So many locations coordinate Meals on Wheels type programs, or serve daily, free, hot lunches in local charities, senior centers, or churches to the elderly and their spouses.

Additional senior assistance programs in New Mexico include Nutrition counseling, Respite care (both in-home and adult day care), Homemaker services, Transportation and rides for seniors, home delivered meals, Prescription Drug Assistance, Home and community based services through Medicaid, and Grandparents Raising Grandchildren.

Call the New Mexico Aging and Long-Term Services Department. The main office is at 550 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505. Dial 866-451-2901 or 800-432-2080.




By Jon McNamara

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