The time may come for many of us when we begin to have some difficulty living alone. This is the time we must face up to the fact we may no longer have the freedom and mobility we so cherished. This is when we start to think about moving out of our homes and moving into an assisted-living facility. There's just one problem -- there always is-- MONEY. These places charge tens-of-thousands of dollars upfront and thousands more monthly.
That's where Mexico comes in. Estimates are that there are already nearly one and a half million Americans and Canadians living in Mexico. This is driving a demand for assisted-living facilities. There was a USA TODAY article last year (8/16/2007) about assisted-living facilities in Mexico. The article reported that for about one-third the cost of a US facility, people were renting private apartments in assisted-living centers in the Lake Chapala area (see WHERE TO LIVE) -- 24-hour care, laundry and maid service and all meals included for $1,300 per month. Other, shared centers start as low as $550 per month. Many are equipped with satellite TV, so residents don't miss their US news or entertainment shows. Puerto Vallarta and San Miguel de Allende are two other cities where assisted-living complexes are being built. Most are for rent, but some are sold as condos. People are buying the condos as investments--renting them out for now--with the idea of moving in when their needs change. One of the advantages of Lake Chapala is it's closeness to Guadalajara (about 20 miles) with it's excellent hospitals. San Miguel and Puerto Vallarta lack this feature. Mexico City is about a 3-1/2 hour drive from SMA, for instance.
Caveat: Nursing homes are not regulated in Mexico. Avoid small facilities, which are often no more than remodeled private homes. Stick to the larger complexes when you begin your search. Also, any place you rent or buy in Mexico better be heated, or you'll be miserable in the winter. And in Puerto Vallarta, air conditioning is a must. The summers are hot and humid. A good reference is the Mexican Association of Retirement Communities: www.amar.org.mx.
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The USA Today article reviews favorably three facilities in Mexico: Casa de Ancianos in Lake Chapala; Apoyo a los Miguelenses Ancianos in San Miguel de Allende; and Sensara Vallarta (www.sensaravallarta.com ) in Puerto Vallarta (still under construction as of this writing).
Garden of Casa de Ancianos in Lake Chapala
Entrance to Apoyo de Miguelenses in SMA
Sensara Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta
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