Home News Local News Aging Commission talks about long-term care insurance, long-distance travel

Aging Commission talks about long-term care insurance, long-distance travel

The Southeast New Mexico Transportation Network has served 1,476 veterans and traveled about 150,000 miles so far this year, says President Magil Duran, seated. Duran and volunteer driver Chuck Russell spoke at the Thursday meeting of the Commission on Aging. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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Long-term care insurance and establishing long-distance transportation for seniors were discussed at the Thursday meeting of the City of Roswell Commission on Aging.

The decision to purchase long-term care insurance, which can cost thousands of dollars each month for premiums and is used to cover nursing home care, should be made carefully, said Renee Swickard, a member of the commission and a retired insurance agency owner.

She said people need to weigh whether the costs over the years is a wise use of their money based on their perception of how probable it is that they might someday need full-time nursing home care, which now costs about $4,500 a month in the local area and an average of $8,100 a month nationwide.

She said the insurance can make sense for people who believe that such care will be needed and have assets they want to protect for themselves or their heirs. The other option for payment, Medicaid, requires people to sell off or dispose of most of their assets five years before they enter a nursing home. She also said the insurance can be a good decision if people want to keep all their savings, assets and retirement income but want to spend it on something besides nursing home care for themselves or a spouse.

The commission also is continuing talks about how to meet a demand among senior citizens in Roswell to have long-distance transportation to other cities. So far, commission members have not found an organization interested in the prospect. But they invited two people from the Southeast New Mexico Veterans Transportation Network to talk about their transportation service.

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President Magil Duran and volunteer driver Chuck Russell said their organization, which has existed since 2013, provides veterans with free transportation to medical appointments to such cities as Artesia, Carlsbad, Clovis, Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Las Cruces, El Paso, Odessa, Lubbock and Amarillo.

The group, which is funded by donations and gifts and receives state appropriations for vehicles, has eight vans driven by about 23 volunteers, who often work 10- to 12-hour days. One paid staff member handles administrative tasks and coordinating trips. Duran said the group has served 1,476 veterans and traveled 150,000 miles so far this year.

“The idea that you have is a good one,” Russell told the commission. “It seems be to very difficult because you are opening it up to all seniors in the Roswell area.”

At this time, the only mass long-distance transportation in Roswell not related to travel for medical appointments is through Greyhound. That provides direct service to El Paso and Amarillo only.

The next meeting of the Aging Commission is scheduled for 3 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 17, at Senior Circle, 2801 N. Main St., Suite D.

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