Extra Fees Drive Assisted Living Profits

New Mexico In Depth occasionally publishes stories produced by other news organizations that we feel would benefit New Mexicans. This is part one of “Dying Broke” – a look by Kaiser Family Foundation Health News and the New York Times at the economic devastation families often face caring for their elderly members. Given New Mexico’s aging population, it is particularly timely. Assisted living centers have become an appealing retirement option for hundreds of thousands of boomers who can no longer live independently, promising a cheerful alternative to the institutional feel of a nursing home. But their cost is so crushingly high that most Americans can’t afford them.

What to Know About Assisted Living

New Mexico In Depth occasionally publishes stories produced by other news organizations that we feel would benefit New Mexicans. This is part one of “Dying Broke” – a look by Kaiser Family Foundation Health News and the New York Times at the economic devastation families often face caring for their elderly members. Given New Mexico’s aging population, it is particularly timely. Are you confused about what an assisted living facility is, and how it differs from a nursing home? And what you can expect to pay?

Facing Financial Ruin as Costs Soar for Elder Care

New Mexico In Depth occasionally publishes stories produced by other news organizations that we feel would benefit New Mexicans. This is part one of “Dying Broke” – a look by Kaiser Family Foundation Health News and the New York Times at the economic devastation families often face caring for their elderly members. Given New Mexico’s aging population, it is particularly timely. Margaret Newcomb, 69, a retired French teacher, is desperately trying to protect her retirement savings by caring for her 82-year-old husband, who has severe dementia, at home in Seattle. She used to fear his disease-induced paranoia, but now he’s so frail and confused that he wanders away with no idea of how to find his way home.

Adult Children Discuss the Trials of Caring for Their Aging Parents

New Mexico In Depth occasionally publishes stories produced by other news organizations that we feel would benefit New Mexicans. This is part one of “Dying Broke” – a look by Kaiser Family Foundation Health News and the New York Times at the economic devastation families often face caring for their elderly members. Given New Mexico’s aging population, it is particularly timely. “It is emotionally and physically draining.”

Natasha Lazartes with her mother, Carmen Torres, and husband, Jonathan Youngman, at her home in Brooklyn, New York. (Michelle V. Agins/The New York Times)

Natasha Lazartes

39, Brooklyn, New York Therapist

I am 39 years old.

What Long-Term Care Looks Like Around the World

New Mexico In Depth occasionally publishes stories produced by other news organizations that we feel would benefit New Mexicans. This is part one of “Dying Broke” – a look by Kaiser Family Foundation Health News and the New York Times at the economic devastation families often face caring for their elderly members. Given New Mexico’s aging population, it is particularly timely. Around the world, wealthy countries are struggling to afford long-term care for rapidly aging populations. Most spend more than the United States through government funding or insurance that individuals are legally required to obtain.

Talking ethics with New Mexico Ethics Commission director, Jeremy Farris

State ethics officials grapple with a paradox in their daily work, said Jeremy Farris, executive director of the New Mexico State Ethics Commission. On the one hand, the heart of their work is designed to ensure the public knows that elected officials and government workers are held accountable in how they use the powers and resources entrusted to them.  Why? Because those powers and resources belong to the people, not individuals holding public positions. This is one of two “big ideas” that motivate the commission, Farris said. The commission does that work by enforcing state ethics laws through investigations and in some cases, suing people.

The secret sauce of the alcohol industry’s statehouse success

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A new report brings into focus the insidious nature of alcohol industry lobbying at the New Mexico statehouse. “Still Under the Influence: A Look at the Alcohol Industry and Its Influence on New Mexico Elected Officials,” by Common Cause New Mexico, underlines the entrenched power of the industry. Sadly, 20 years after the good government group issued a similar report about alcohol, New Mexico leads the country with the highest alcohol-related death rate.

NM Indian Affairs secretary wants to create bureau for missing and murdered Indigenous people

James Mountain, Cabinet Secretary Designate of the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department, speaks during American Indian Day at the State Capitol on Feb. 3, 2023. Image by Bella Davis. The Indian Affairs Department wants about $350,000 to continue to address a crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous people in New Mexico, Secretary-Designate James Mountain told the Legislative Finance Committee on Tuesday. The money, if approved by state lawmakers, would pay for four full-time employees and build the beginnings of a bureau, Mountain told the legislators on the committee, which plays a critical role in writing the state budget.

NM State Sen. Benny Shendo takes job in Colorado

Sen. Benny Shendo, D-Jemez, has accepted  a job with the University of Colorado and according to a Colorado newspaper will relinquish his legislative seat in the spring of 2024. One of the most powerful Indigenous lawmakers in the New Mexico Legislature, Shendo has served as a state lawmaker in Santa Fe since winning election in 2012 and chairs the important Senate Tax, Business & Transportation Committee. The Daily Camera newspaper in Boulder, Colo., quoted Shendo as saying:
“I cannot wait to get started in this new role at CU Boulder to strengthen our relationships with the tribes of Colorado and those historically connected to Colorado and to build a strong, supportive Native American community on campus for our students, faculty and staff,” Shendo said in a news release. He will join the campus full time on March 1, after relinquishing his state legislature seat. In a short interview with New Mexico In Depth this afternoon, Shendo said he was not prepared to say he would not run for re-election in the New Mexico Legislature.

New Mexico expands restorative justice pilot project

A state pilot program to implement a new discipline approach called restorative justice will expand from 12 to 24 schools in the coming year, according to program coordinator Emma Green. 

Green appeared on the local public affairs show New Mexico In Focus last week, explaining restorative justice as a philosophical shift away from zero tolerance, exclusionary, traditional punitive model and a shift when possible toward accountability-based consequences. It brings together the person harmed and the person who did the harm to determine how to make it right, she said. 

“I have done over 300 talking circles,” Green said, “And I have never seen more accountability in any human than when somebody understands that they harmed someone else, that maybe they didn’t understand the ripple effect of their action.” 

New Mexico In Depth published a story earlier this month about restorative justice to explore new approaches to school discipline after finding that Indigenous students in New Mexico disproportionately experience harsher punitive discipline than other student groups. Executive Director Trip Jennings joined Green and NMiF Executive Producer Jeff Proctor to discuss that work and how restorative justice is gaining a foothold in New Mexico schools: