Page Reviewed / Updated - September 15, 2020
The rich multicultural heritage and comfortable year-round climate make Albuquerque a desert paradise for retirees. Its abundant arts showcase, colorful events and sumptuous New Mexican cuisine offer plenty of fascinating experiences for senior Burqueños and Burqueñas. Every sunrise and sunset over the Sandia Mountains creates a magnificent sight, whether on an ordinary day or with hot air balloons on view during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta. Daytime scenic drives on Route 66 and evening visits to iconic neon-lit establishments take seniors back to the good old days. The city is also home to several top-rated golf courses and the best health care facilities in the Land of Enchantment.
Despite being New Mexico’s largest city, Albuquerque is considered an affordable place to live. In addition, its average assisted living cost at $4,050 per month is close to the U.S. average and lower than most areas in New Mexico. This makes retiring in the Duke City a financially sound decision for seniors who want easy access to big-city amenities. Retirees should also consider New Mexico’s partial taxation on all forms of retirement income and take advantage of tax deductions based on age and household income.
Read about our top 10 assisted living communities in Albuquerque below to see which environment is ideal for your or a loved one. Additionally, find out more about the cost of assisted living in Albuquerque and what financial assistance programs are available.
1620 Indian School Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87102
Consisting of independent, assisted living and memory care neighborhoods, Atria Vista del Rio is our top choice for seniors who want a big community with a warm, friendly, homelike setting. This pet-friendly retirement facility has four spacious courtyards, including one with a Spanish-style fountain and another with a serene koi pond for fish-feeding. Inviting common spaces include a game room, movie theater, fireside library, fitness center and chapel. The facility is conveniently situated across from the UNM Continuing Education building, close to UNM Hospital and easily accessible via the Interstate 25 and 40 interchange.
7101 Eubank Boulevard
Albuquerque, NM 87122
We recommend Elmcroft of Quintessence for seniors who prefer a single-story assisted living facility that offers a true feeling of home. This ranch-style Eclipse Senior Living community is pet-friendly and accommodates up to 75 residents in studio, one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartments. It has a large central courtyard and multiple indoor gathering areas, including a fireside living room, TV lounges and a library. Its Vitality Club calendar of activities provides wellness exercises, arts and crafts, ice cream socials, games and outings. There are weekly bible studies, Catholic services, Christian fellowships and Holy Communions to support the residents’ spiritual well-being.
10500 Academy Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111
The Montebello on Academy is an independent and assisted living community that has in-house skilled nursing and rehabilitation services. We recommend this Five Star Senior Living community for seniors who need health care support while maintaining independence in a comfortable, elegant, homelike environment. Its secured patio area and a top-floor sunroom offer stunning views of the Sandia Mountains. Other upscale amenities include a fitness room, cinema-style theater, bistro, piano lounge, full-service salon and a multiuse recreation room with a billiards table and library section. Residents can participate in various activities such as exercise classes, game nights, happy hours, social outings and volunteer opportunities.
300 Valencia Drive SE
Albuquerque, NM 87108
Ideally situated off Route 66 in the South San Pedro neighborhood, Brookdale Valencia keeps residents close to local commercial amenities. We included this independent and assisted living facility in our top picks for its convenient location next to Central Mercado Shopping Center and near Musical Theatre Southwest. Its secured campus has four courtyards that provide safe, relaxing outdoor spaces. Other amenities include an indoor therapy pool, activity room, fitness room, library and hair and nail salon. Residents are offered exciting activities such as B-Fit exercises, gardening, animal therapy, live entertainment and intergenerational programs.
9151 High Assets Way NW
Albuquerque, NM 87120
Accommodating only 16 residents, Life Spire Assisted Living - Albuquerque makes our top recommendation for seniors who prefer a smaller home setting. This locally owned facility is conveniently close to Albuquerque ER & Hospital. It has an accessible single-floor layout, and its secured front yard features a central water sculpture and a canopied porch swing. The spacious living room has a piano area, while the dining room has a warm, family-style ambiance. In addition to three nutritious meals and two healthy snacks daily, desserts are offered at lunch and dinner. Residents may opt for milk or 100% fruit juice for every meal.
4910 Tramway Ridge
Albuquerque, NM 87111
Brookdale Tramway Ridge has a scenic location in the S.Y. Jackson neighborhood of Northeast Heights. This senior community is our top choice for seniors who want a peaceful, homelike setting near the foothills of the Sandia Mountains. Its separate assisted living and memory care neighborhood buildings share a large fenced park-like central garden that provides spectacular mountain views. The assisted living neighborhood has its own game area, fitness room, piano lounge, library and ice cream parlor. Residents regularly enjoy arts and crafts activities, B-Fit exercises, pet therapy, happy hours and group outings.
10301 Golf Course Road NW
Albuquerque, NM 87144
The village-style setting and impressive amenities of Palmilla Senior Living make it our top pick for retirees who want to be in a friendly, vibrant community. This Spectrum retirement complex is conveniently next to Golf Course Marketplace and a couple of blocks from Lovelace Westside Hospital. Its large main courtyard features a gazebo and al fresco dining areas for outdoor family parties. Indoor leisure amenities include a state-of-the-art fitness center, game and billiards room and movie theater. Residents can enjoy cooking classes in the demonstration kitchen and happy hours in the Sky Lounge.
8051 Palomas Avenue NE
Albuquerque, NM 87109
MorningStar of Albuquerque is in our top 10 list for its modern pet-friendly environment and warm family atmosphere. This two-level assisted living and memory care facility is conveniently situated next to The Shops at Paseo Crossing and across from La Cueva Town Center. It has large front porches, multiple pergola-covered patios and a barbecue area for outdoor dining. Its well-appointed common spaces include a cozy fireside living room and a restaurant-style dining room with a grand piano. Other inviting amenities include a fitness room, bistro, salon, massage room and multipurpose theater and chapel.
6600 Los Volcanes NW
Albuquerque, NM 87121
We included Westwind House in our top 10 list for its convenient location and accessible single-story design that offers a familiar and comfortable homey feel. Located in the Los Volcanes neighborhood, this 48-bed independent and assisted living community is right next to Los Volcanes Senior Center and less than 5 miles west of Downtown Albuquerque. Its large central courtyard has flower gardens, walking paths and a covered patio area with a barbecue grill. Residents gather for social and recreational activities in the fireside living room and family-style dining area.
1331 Cuesta Abajo Court
Albuquerque, NM 87113
The New Beginnings Senior Living accommodates up to 15 residents and proudly offers a farm-to-table dining experience. We recommend this single-level assisted living facility for health-conscious seniors who prefer an intimate, homelike environment. Its therapeutic garden features a gazebo and decorative waterfall, while the inviting living room is furnished with comfy recliners and a 70-inch flat-screen TV. The activity room has a library section, upright piano, board games and arts and crafts materials. Nutritious homemade meals are prepared using local, organic ingredients. The facility’s community partners include home health providers, physical therapists and other medical professionals to support the residents’ health-related needs.
In Albuquerque, senior care is more expensive than it is in other major cities in New Mexico. The Genworth 2018 Cost of Care Survey shows that the average monthly cost of adult day care matches the state average in Albuquerque, but other types of care are more expensive here.
Assisted living in Albuquerque costs about $5,100 a month, which is much higher than the median cost for the entire state. Nearby, Santa Fe averages the same per month, while more remote areas like Farmington in the north and Las Cruces in the south are much cheaper, coming in at only $3,600 and $3,919, respectively.
The cost of assisted living in the rest of the state is $3,634, underscoring Albuquerque's standing as one of the most expensive areas in New Mexico.
The cost of home care in Albuquerque averages $4,191 a month. Homemaker services average $22 an hour, and home health aides average $22.48 an hour.
Compared to other major New Mexico cities, Albuquerque is more expensive for home care, while Las Cruces and Farmington average $600 less per month. When compared to the average for the rest of the state at $3,304, Albuquerque's average is nearly $900 higher.
Adult day care costs an average of $2,217 a month, which matches the state average for this category. In the north, the Farmington area averages $3,293 for these imperative day-to-day services, while the southern Las Cruces area has a median monthly cost of $1,625 for the same job. Adult day care is not available in Santa Fe. Excluding Albuquerque, the rest of the state averages $1,213 for adult day care, showing that the city is pricier than other cities in the state for adult day care services.
The cost of nursing home care in Albuquerque is more expensive when compared with the rest of New Mexico. At $7,609 a month for a semi-private room, it’s much pricier than the state average of $7,285, and those of the other major cities in the state, which range from about $6,500 to $7,500 a month.
In Albuquerque, the Medicaid program is known as Centennial Care. This program provides nursing home care and some personal care assistance. Previously, the state offered two Medicaid Waiver programs, the CoLTS C Waiver and the Mi Via Waiver, but similar programs are now available through Centennial Care's Community Benefit option.
Community Benefit provides long-term care services so that seniors can age in place instead of moving to a nursing home. The Self-Directed Community Benefit (SDCB) option lets eligible seniors choose their care provider, which can be a family member.
Eligibility hinges on functional limitations and income and asset restrictions. The net monthly income maximum is $2,250, which equates to 300 percent of the Federal Benefit Rate (FBR). Married applicants can make up to $4,500 per month, with the individual limit applying to each. The asset limit is $2,000 for a single senior and $3,000 for married couples. Asset exemptions include a family home valued under $858,000, automobile, personal belongings, and household furniture.
Applicants need to qualify for Medicaid, after which they can apply for Centennial Care online or in-person. To do so, create a login on the state’s health care web portal, Yes New Mexico, or call the customer service hotline at the state’s Medicaid Call Center at (888) 997-2583. Local HSD offices are another option.
New Mexico Older Americans Act
New Mexico Older Americans Act Services offers a variety of in-home services and supports to help elderly NM residents remain living at home, such as meals, help with household chores, and adult day care. To be eligible, candidates must be at least 60 years old and be residents of New Mexico. There are no limits on participants’ income or assets. Applications can be filed at an Area Agency on Aging. Click here for more information.
New Mexico RX Program
The New Mexico MEDBANK RX Program provides ongoing and emergency financial assistance for New Mexico residents of any age without insurance or adequate insurance coverage. Participants must be low-to-middle-income and have a long-term medical condition requiring medication. An Area on Aging office can help with application guidance. For more information, click here.
PACE Programs offer an alternate Medicare program covering seniors’ medical needs and some personal care needs. Long-term services are covered by a comprehensive team that coordinates care for seniors who are 55 or older, living in a PACE service area, eligible for nursing home care, and can safely live in the community. There is a cap on financing for the program so that participants can take full advantage of the care they need. For additional information, visit PACE.
El Centro is a public housing project geared toward seniors. It is a 54-unit complex off Isleta Blvd in the Southwest Valley. It provides affordable apartments for the elderly.
Seybold Village is a 21-unit public housing complex that offers affordable housing for the disabled, including seniors in Albuquerque.
LIHEAP aids eligible seniors with their heating and cooling costs. This federal initiative allocates funds to individual states, like New Mexico, which then disburses the funds to cities like Albuquerque.
The Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) Program helps low-income seniors with their rent in Albuquerque. Under Section 8, seniors pay 30 percent of their income towards rent. The Albuquerque Housing Authority pays the difference between that and the actual cost of rent, subject to program gaps.
For additional information and planning, please read our comprehensive guide to paying for senior care in New Mexico.