The senior population of New Mexico is relatively small ? only a little more than a quarter of a million people call the state home. But that does not mean there is not a senior problem in New Mexico. That population has exploded by 32% since 2000, one of the largest increases in the county. In addition, nearly 12% of the state?s seniors are living in poverty, also one of the largest rates in the nation.
In 2004 the state created the Aging and Long-Term Services Department to respond to the approaching crisis, “to provide a clear and focused approach to meet the complex social, medical and behavioral needs of a burgeoning older population.”
It is doing so by offering vast array of programs and services for seniors. Those programs include:
-- Adult Protective Services: A system to educate seniors and report and investigate claims of senior abuse, neglect or exploitation.
-- Aging Network: Such services as adult day care, congregate and home delivered meals, transportation and homemaker/chore services.
-- Caregiver Services: Support, training and respite care for those taking care of seniors.
-- Community Information & Education: A speaker can come to a community center to educate seniors on Medicare-related topics.
-- Healthy Aging Campaign: Information available to seniors on how to live a longer, healthier life.
-- Legal Services: Legal advice and counseling for seniors.
-- Long-Term Care Ombudsman: By making regular visits to long-term care facilities, the ombudsman looks out for the rights of residents.
-- Nutrition Services: New Mexico is second in the nation in senior hunger. These programs are designed to educate seniors so that dubious distinction is eliminated.
-- Prescription Drug Assistance: Helping eligible seniors pay for prescription drugs.
-- Senior Medicare Patrol: Rooting out health care fraud and educating seniors on how to spot a scam.
New Mexico is a state with many rural areas. As such, the response time to an emergency could be negatively affected. Having a medical alert system could speed up response time, and as we all know, in the event of a medical emergency every second counts.
This is especially true of falls. Muscle cell breakdown begins 30-60 minutes after a fall. Statistics show that getting timely help after a fall increases survival rates by 80% and increases the likelihood of returning to a normal life. So getting help right away is vital.
If you fell and could not get up and call for help, well, he results could be tragic. But with a medical alert system, you just press a button and help is on the way. Medical alert companies operate in all 50 states, including New Mexico. To compare the service from more than a dozen top companies, click on this link.
We all know about Amber Alert, the system that sends out messages if a child is missing. Well, New Mexico has a similar system for seniors.
Called Silver Alert, it sends out urgent messages statewide if anyone over 50 who has “irreversible deterioration of intellectual faculties” goes missing. This unique program could help save the life of a senior who has wandered off.
New Mexico has just two Area Agency on Aging offices – one serves only the people of Bernalillo County, which contains Albuquerque. The other serves everyone else. Call the number below to see which programs and services are offered in your area.