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New law, funds aimed at senior wellness



A bill supporting New Mexico’s seniors, veterans and adults with disabilities has been signed into law by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham.

House Bill 225, the Kiki Saavedra Senior Dignity Fund, aids businesses and individuals who provide services to seniors and persons with disabilities.

The bill was named for long-time state Rep. Henry "Kiki" Saavedra, D-Albuquerque, who died in 2019.

The legislation was sponsored by Representatives Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, Susan Herrera, D-Embudo, Linda Trujillo, D-Santa Fe, Jim Trujillo D-Santa Fe and Karen Bash D-Albuquerque.

It appropriates $5.4 million from the general fund to the Aging and Long-Term Services Department (ALTSD) to address high priority services, including transportation, behavioral health and case management.

“We can never do enough to honor our elders, but we can always do better,” Armstrong said. “This fund reflects New Mexico values by investing in seniors, families and independent living.”

“This bill will improve access to vehicles for disabled persons and generally improve the quality of life of New Mexico’s seniors in rural and underserved areas,” Bash said. “I’m proud to have been a sponsor and work with my fellow legislators and the governor in getting this important bill passed and signed.”

Long-term care and a holistic approach to the physical and emotional well-being of a diverse population of seniors and people with disabilities is the aim of the legislation.

Proposed programs include: creating sustainable living facilities that promote more satisfying lives, work and relationships; providing caregivers respite from full-time caregiving responsibilities; building out adult day care and implementing best practice models; promoting intergenerational volunteers; and creating multigenerational centers within current senior centers.

The law takes effect May 20.