Families in NM Struggle To Find Quality Memory Care

Posted by PKSD New Mexico Law Firm on June 3, 2024 in Nursing Home Neglect

elderly man with dementia staring out windowDeciding to place a loved one in long-term care is often a gut-wrenching and difficult decision. What many families in this situation have discovered is that finding a facility with high-quality memory care that is also affordable is quite difficult.

Managing the care for a life partner or spouse in the later stages of Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia is challenging. For some families, it is not possible to continue providing the level of care a loved one needs at home. Unfortunately, what many families in New Mexico are finding out is that there is limited availability in the state for this level of care.

Why Is It Hard To Find Memory Care in New Mexico?

Multiple factors are making it difficult for families to find memory care for their spouses, life partners or family members.

According to a recent news article, some of the most common causes in New Mexico include:

  • Cost: The expense of placing a loved one in a long-term care or assisted living facility that has memory care has gone up a lot. Many families in the area have lower incomes and simply cannot afford it.
  • Lack of availability: Finding a facility that provides memory care is another issue. There is a higher population of aging residents but fewer long-term care facilities available.
  • Issues with quality of care: Another critical problem at facilities that do have availabilities is the quality of care. This is a major concern for any resident needing long-term care, but especially for those with forms of dementia. Residents with various memory concerns are more prone to wander off, which could make them more vulnerable to suffering severe or fatal injuries.
  • Increased numbers of facilities closing: Another issue that is impacting elderly individuals looking for assisted living facilities is that many of them are closing their doors.

Does Medicare Cover the Cost of Long-Term Care for the Elderly?

Medicare covers some costs, such as skilled nursing services. However, it does not provide any compensation associated with care for daily basic needs. This means many families needing this level of care would need to dig into their own savings. Memory care is also typically a “self-pay” situation unless the individual has some other resource, such as long-term care insurance.

David Davis, the Executive Director of the Memory Care Alliance in Santa Fe, says about current costs, “You’re looking at $7,500-ish in Santa Fe for memory care.” To be clear, that is a monthly cost.

Carol Carpenter says that affordability is a subjective term when you are talking about long-term care in Santa Fe or elsewhere. She ended up placing her mother, who has dementia, in the Legacy at Santa Fe. She previously paid about $4,900 a month for a one-bedroom. At the Legacy, the costs are approximately $700 to 800 more. This is by no means cheap, but it is certainly lower than many other facilities she looked at.

What Closures Mean for Families Looking for Memory Care

Unfortunately, when facilities close, especially in rural communities, it means families will have to place their loved ones in facilities that are further away. That means fewer visits for most families. In addition to making it harder to visit loved ones, it also makes it more difficult for families to know whether their loved ones are receiving the quality of care they deserve.

Assisted living facilities have become an alternative for many families, but these facilities have their own issues. To start with, they are not as regulated as other long-term care facilities. These facilities do still have some regulations, such as maintaining specific staffing levels as required by New Mexico Administrative Code. However, there is less federal oversight ensuring regulations are met.

What Is the Complaint Process in New Mexico?

Families can submit complaints to the Department of Health. This action is supposed to trigger an inspection, followed by a report to substantiate the complaint and detail any deficiencies discovered during the inspection.

After a report is made, the facility has ten days to submit a plan to correct the issue. Sometime after receiving this plan of correction, the state is supposed to make an unannounced visit to check in on the facility and see if it has become compliant.

This process is long, often taking months to complete. In many cases, by the time a state inspection occurs, the resident may already have passed away.

More Legislation and Oversight is Needed

Like many nursing home facilities across the country, change is needed. Some feel more legislation, stronger regulations and more substantial penalties could help reduce the amount of negligence and abuse.

Need Legal Help for Nursing Home Negligence in New Mexico? Call PKSD Today

At PKSD, we advocate for victims of nursing home abuse or negligence every day, something we have been doing successfully for decades. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients.

Our firm has a highly trained and knowledgeable legal team, as well as access to critical resources needed in a legal claim, such as medical experts. An initial consultation with one of our experienced nursing home abuse attorneys in Santa Fe is confidential and completely FREE. If you choose our firm to represent you, there are also no upfront costs to pay.

Request your FREE case review today. Call 505-677-7777

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